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Killjoys: New plans, old foes and one hells of a heist

To say last week’s episode of Killjoys was a revelation would be an understatement. “The Wolf You Feed” kicked open the Aneela and Dutch back story, uncovering that Aneela willed a younger, innocent version of herself from the green that became Dutch. Viewers also discovered Dutch and Johnny’s origin story began on her wedding night and included Lucy. And if that wasn’t enough, Delle Seyah is pregnant. Somehow.

With just three more episodes left—hey Syfy and Space, where’s your renewal announcement?—we crashed headlong into “Heist, Heist, Baby,” written by Julie Puckrin and directed by April Mullen. Here’s what Space announced for a synopsis:

As the Killjoys plan a dangerous theft on an armoured convoy, Aneela finds herself on a desperate search for something far more valuable that was stolen from her: Delle Seyah.

And we’ve got several juicy tidbits to add after watching a screener.

Battle plans are being made
Dutch left D’avin in charge of the army against the Hullen armada and plans are well underway. Now, if D’avin and Johnny can just figure out a way to plot an attack model that doesn’t result in their complete destruction … and stop bitching at each other. (“This is my shit face!” Johnny says at one point. Or is it “shitface”?) Johnny figures out a way to stop the Hullen (he thinks, anyway); hence the heist in the episode title.

Old foes return
D’avin and Johnny need help to pull off the heist and call on old friends/foes to help out. Pukrin wrote a very funny scene involving strategically-placed food items that allows Hannah John-Kamen a bit of comedy. Speaking of comedy, pay attention to the name of a certain blaster D’avin is carrying. Its name is a shout-out to writer Nikolijne Troubetzkoy. And only on cable television can references to ass to mouth, the missionary position, front door and back door, and STDs be liberally sprinkled about for comic effect. And look for veteran actor John Tench in a tough-as-nails—and memorable—role.

Dutch’s cube makes a return appearance
We saw Aneela’s prison in flashbacks last week; Dutch’s safe house cube is a major plot point this week as Johnny, Dutch and Zeph do some poking and prodding. And can we take a second to appreciate Dutch’s damned slick outfit in the above photo? OK, thank you.

Aneela is on the warpath
As hinted in the image at the top of this preview, Aneela is just a little miffed that Gander made off with her gal pal. Brynn (Kalinka Petrie) is willing to help Aneela find Delle Seyah, but why? And will Gander confess to Delle Seyah’s whereabouts? We won’t say anything else about this storyline but things go from curious to downright horrifying.

Killjoys airs Fridays at 8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT on Space.

Images courtesy of Bell Media.

 

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Amazing Race Canada: History and hysterics in Newfoundland and Labrador

We’re over halfway through The Amazing Race Canada and at this juncture, any team could win. I know that seems obvious but there is usually a duo able to distance themselves from the rest of the group by this point. You could argue that siblings Adam and Andrea are that team, but the Fast Pass the week before really helped with that.

As for the weakest team? That goes to Andrea and Ebonie, who were saved from going home a second time after last week’s non-elimination Leg. This is the first time I can remember one team saved twice, and it really took some of the drama out of the Race for me. Lousy teams are supposed to be cut, not given the opportunity to stick around. Ebonie and Andrea were in tough on Tuesday, battling their way through a set of challenges in a unique and beautiful part of the country I’ve had the pleasure of visiting: Newfoundland and Labrador. I was hoping Labrador would figure into this week’s episode. Sadly, it was not meant to be.

Yes, the Race was here earlier this season but, clearly, the producers saw the area as being ripe for more tests of wits and physicality. And, would the confusion that wreaked havoc at the Double U-Turn board impact relationships between any teams? At first blush, Ebonie had nothing to say to Korey and Ivana when they explained the U-Turn move. That put a fire under Ivana’s butt to fight even harder. Meanwhile, Adam and Andrea apologized for not doing what they were supposed to, and things seemed to be OK between the squads; Ebonie and Andrea vowed to worry about themselves and not on alliances. A smart move.

Sam and Paul were first off the plane in Deer Lake, Nfld., and on the road to Corner Brook to find a—sponsor alert!—Bank of Montreal branch. Once there, producers played with the teams’ emotions by having family members and friends (and pets) deliver the next clue via video. The location? Gros Morne National Park. Kenneth and Ryan were the first to depart, followed by Sam and Paul. Sam, who had been waiting to hear whether or not he’d gotten into medical school, found out from his parents that he did, leading to a truly emotional moment for him and Paul.

The Detours hearkened back to moments in Canadian history, choosing between paddling a dory down the coastline to find a clue hidden in a lobster trap and then return to the beach, or reconstruct the tale of a Norse family tree after listening to tales told be recreators. No offense, but the recreators were horrible. Most teams chose to paddle (I would have too.) and chaos ensued … for some. Paul, who has boating experience, took charge and he and Sam were off. Kenneth and Ryan … not so much. (“Put it in the thingie … use the thingie.”) Andrea and Adam were the first to complete the family tree and departed in second place. (Call me immature, but I laughed out loud at Korey’s pee break and how Ivana handled it.)

Andrea and Ebonie, meanwhile, had to contend with a Speed Bump after their last-place finish last week. Their test, to score 25 points hitting an archery target, was difficult for Ebonie at first but Andrea was a natural. It didn’t take long for them to accumulate the points and depart the archery area.

The Face-Off made its first appearance of this season, pitting teams against one another head-to-head. In Newfoundland that meant five-pin bowling—a Canadian invention—with the winning team departing and the losers waiting to challenge the next pair to arrive. The Face-Off is brilliant, dramatic and a potential soul-crusher. It’s also very much a game of patience, as teams wait for others to arrive. It was Sam and Paul vs. Adam and Andrea in Game 1: Sam and Paul won and moved on. Game 2 was Adam and Andrea vs. Team Give’r: Andrea and Adam won. Game 3 put Team Give’r vs. Karen and Bert: Team Give’r triumphed after Bert guttered his final three balls. Game 4 saw Bert and Karen take on Korey and Ivana: Bert and Karen won. In Game 5, Korey and Ivana faced off against Ebonie and Andrea: Korey and Ivana won, leaving Ebonie and Andrea to stew and wait out a timer before they could advance.

At this Leg’s Road Block, one team member had to do perhaps the most difficult thing of all: perform pre-written jokes on-stage in front of an audience at Swirsky’s. (I would have taken the penalty.) Sam totally killed it in his first try and the dating couple departed in first place. Memorization proved to be difficult for the remaining teams, though Kenneth pulled it off and leapfrogged over Adam and Andrea into second place; the brother and sister placed third.

Sam and Paul were the first to arrive at the Pit Stop at the Bay of Islands lookout and landed a trip to Rio de Janeiro in addition to their top spot for the Leg. It went down to the wire for Korey and Ivana and Ebonie and Andrea, but the luck ran out for the business partners and they were eliminated from the Race.

What did you think? Which challenges would you have picked? Did you wish Labrador had been visited too? Let me know in the comments below.

Here’s how the teams finished this Leg of the Race:

  1. Sam and Paul (trip to Rio)
  2. Team Give’r
  3. Adam and Andrea
  4. Karen and Bert
  5. Ivana and Korey
  6. Ebonie and Andrea (eliminated)

The Amazing Race Canada airs Tuesdays at 8 p.m. ET/PT on CTV.

Images courtesy of Bell Media.

 

 

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19-2: J.M. reaches the end of his rope

One scene from last week’s episode of 19-2 stuck with me for days. It was a shot of J.M. standing alone in 19’s hallway. Already cast out from the team for the assaults on his wife, he’d sat in his car rather than chase down the shooters at the picnic. He’d been totally cut out from the rest of the squad and stood there, in the growing murk, by himself. So much can be said without any words and 19-2 does that consistently every week.

The same was certainly true of Monday’s new episode “Fishbowl,” which followed up on Ben’s decision to take drugs and guns from the men he was surveilling. Nick wondered what had happened to the straight-laced rookie he used to know, and I did too. Was there any way to pull Ben back from the brink? How dangerous could he make things for himself and others? That, and what would happen to J.M., haunted me going into Monday’s instalment.

The “previously on,” footage featured a ton of J.M. footage, meaning his storyline would figure prominently in the episode written by Nikolijne Troubetzkoy and directed by Sturla Gunnarsson. It did just that, catching up with the troubled cop as he, drunk, screamed at an unknown woman to leave his apartment. Reeling around the room, he drank deeply from a bottle and enraged, swept items off a dresser and, even more scary, brandished his gun. J.M. may have told Audrey two weeks ago that the job is just that, but it’s more than a job to J.M. despite his statements. Being a cop is all he is, and taking that away from him is taking a chunk of him.

And with that, J.M. did exactly what I was hoping he wouldn’t, pulling the trigger in an attempt to end his own life. He missed a bit—was that by accident or did part of him rebel at wanting to die—and the bullet went up through his jaw and exited his cheek rather than plowing straight up into his brain. He survived but told the Sarge his gun went off while he was cleaning it while drunk. Of course, that didn’t wash with Sgt. Suarez and J.M. confessed he needed help—was getting help—and wanted back on the job ASAP. The Sarge’s update on J.M. rocked the squad, and kudos to Troubetzkoy’s script for the impassioned speech by Suarez and for the touching, emotional scene between J.M. and Audrey. J.M. telling Audrey that shooting himself would make him a better cop was a stunning admission and cut right through her. These two are from the same cloth, not like the others.

Meanwhile, the city’s police force was on high alert. On instruction from Gendron, 19 was to get “up in everyone’s face” and show strength against the organized crime wars. Nick and Ben traded a look—how much has Ben helped with that escalation?—and new station member Roxanne (Aiza Ntibarikure) was introduced. Tyler and Dulac both had eyes for her and the latter made his move. It’s not pretty to watch but does provide some much-needed levity considering the scenes with J.M.

Dulac and Tyler’s seemingly easy collection of a father for parole violations turned serious when they dropped his children off at their mother’s and she was clearly not happy to see them. Tyler’s concern for their safety was justified when they were called back minutes later after an assault call to find the younger daughter beaten.

Ben and Nick found a short moment of relative boredom shattered by screams and broke into an apartment to find a young man being raped. That brought the pair to a crisis centre where they reported to social worker Farah Miller (Sagine Sémajuste), the mother of the boy Audrey ran down and Ben took the blame for. To say she was still smarting from her son’s death and the fact the police dismissed him as a drug user—a wasted life—was an understatement. Amazingly, she stayed professional, even after Ben apologized for his and the force’s actions. She stated the man who assaulted the prostitute would be set free and she was right, showing yet another instance where the police has let its citizens down. In a rare glimmer of hope, Ben and Nick’s persistence frequenting the rapist’s business paid off, as an order to search his clothing shop uncovered money and a bag full of pills.

(Quick aside: I love the fact 19-2 has worked the endless construction plaguing Montreal into its storylines. Rather than film around the roadwork, they use it. Of course, there is so much work going on they might have had to film in Laval to escape it.)

By the end of the episode, Nick was trying to prove to Farah the police could do good, Audrey and J.M. were bonding over booze and YouTube videos, and Bear and Roxanne were headed out for a drink together. A rare trio of happy moments in a series fraught with drama and danger.

19-2 airs Mondays at 10 p.m. ET on CTV.

 

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21 Thunder: Freefalling

Freefalling: (verb) moving downward under the force of gravity only; fall rapidly.

This begs the question: who will survive the fall?

Last week on 21 Thunder, we were left wondering the purpose behind Nolan’s (RJ Fetherstonhaugh) prison visit to his father Declan (Colm Feore). We didn’t have to wait long to find out, but more on that in a moment.

This week, the team ventured into the world of public relations, having donated time to the “Concordia Open Door Festival,” a.k.a. the Concordia Fall Festival? Team members were required to engage with their young fans, signing autographs and assistant coaches Christy Cook (Stephanie Bennett) and Davey Gunn (Ryan Pierce) dove into the action, each leading a team of youngsters in an exhibition soccer match. Going deep, sparks flew both on and off the pitch with these two on screen.

In other news, it seems Mr. Bamba (Clauter Alexandre) did indeed defraud Junior Lolo (Emmanuel Kabongo) of all his money. And I think it is reasonable to assume that Mr. Bamba may still believe Junior is an easy mark. The introduction to Fatima Gossa (Gabrielle Graham) seemed innocent enough, kicking the soccer ball at Junior; it led to small chat, junk food and a bit of dancing later. But by the episode’s end, we saw her willingly(?) getting into a car with none other than Mr. Bamba. And so did Junior.

We also learned Stefan (Kevin Claydon) has fallen hard in his affair with team physiotherapist Marie Tremblay (Kimberly Laferriere), who happens to also be the fiancée of first team star Damien Lacroix (Lucas Chartier-Dessert).

Then we watched team intern Lara Yun (Eileen Yi) delve deeper into the world of illegal sports betting, convincing referee Guy Desjardins (Trevor Hayes) to toss a game in order to pay off three outstanding mortgages. And finally, team captain Alex (Andres Joseph) was accepted to Cornell. All in all, a busy episode, even without the Nolan/”Special K” action.

And that brings us to Nolan and Kevin, and of course, Declan. The cold open saw Nolan feigning sickness and ditching both practice and the team meeting. Knowing “Special K” (Kyle Mac) was upset about his missing drugs, Nolan made himself accessible to K and his crew. No doubt as planned, their meeting went south quickly for K as an unknown party pulled up in a big shiny black Escalade whose driver “encouraged” K to go for a ride. Turns out Kevin was summoned to the prison where his boss, John Mangano Jr. (Bruce Ramsay), was waiting in the conjugal visit trailer. Unbeknownst to K, Mr. Mangano had sold his substantial debt to none other than Declan Gallard. Seems Kevin is now in the employ of both Declan and Nolan, with Declan summarily ordering K to leave “Nolan alone and let him play footie.”

Nolan later made his own way to the prison, albeit voluntarily, for a status report from his mob boss father. Seems there was a significant price for his little transgression with K? And daddy wanted him to pay with weekly visits. I smell a lying, dirty stinky rat.

Following all of the festival sequences, we closed out the episode in celebration of Emma’s (Clark Backo) acceptance to medical school.  But who decided to crash the celebrations? Kevin. Clearly, he has no intention of following Declan’s orders when it comes to his buddy Nolan, but Nolan proved he still has his gangland moves. Trouble is, how much of that former life is going to spill into his new life as a footballer? We know it already is, as evidenced by tonight’s closing shot!

My Laugh-Out-Loud moment: coach Rocas (Conrad Pla) asked assistant coach Davey Gunn if he is sleeping with  assistant coach Christy Cook—before they did sleep together, and after a very, pregnant pause Davey replied: “I honestly can’t remember.” OH MY WORD, these faces! (Admittedly, the humour was lost when I crawled back and replayed this four-second scene more than 10 times to get the captures I wanted, but the first time I watched it I LOL’ed)

So we are once again left with several questions for next week:

1. Will Declan ask Nolan to get involved with some of his more nefarious goings on? And how is Kevin going to figure into those activities?

2. How is Fatima going to play out in the Junior/Mr. Mamba storyline? Is she a bad girl playing good, or a good girl in a jam?

3. Will Guy go through with it and throw a match for Lara, and will it affect her position as team intern or medical school?

4. How will Christy and Davey’s new status affect the team? Or will it? Or, is it even a status?

I loved this tightly-scripted episode. At first, I was not truly feeling the Thunder Love, however, this episode won me over. The chemistry between the actors is superb! Subtle glances, body language; it all works. Overall the writing is strong, and I for one am curious to see how the stories play out. Bravo #TeamThunder.

21 Thunder airs Mondays at 9 p.m. on CBC. (Missed an episode? You can catch up here!)
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Orphan Black 510: Co-creator Graeme Manson on the ending he always envisioned

Spoiler warning: Do not read this article until you have seen Orphan Black Episode 510, “To Right the Wrongs of Many.”

“I survived you. We survived you, me and my sisters, together.” —Sarah

In the end, Orphan Black‘s Big Bad, dying eugenicist P.T. Westmorland (Stephen McHattie), was dispatched less than halfway through the series finale, his self-important, patriarchal sputterings cut short when Sarah (Tatiana Maslany) smashed an oxygen tank into his skull. Then the show turned its attention to what really mattered: the enduring sisterhood of Sarah, Alison, Cosima and Helena.

After five seasons of trauma and loss, the clones were given a relatively happy ending. A six-month flash forward showed that Helena was raising her twin boys with Alison and Donnie (Kristian Bruun), Cosima and Delphine (Évelyne Brochu) were traveling the world to cure hundreds of Leda clones (with a list given to them by Rachel), and Sarah was struggling to raise Kira (Skyler Wexler) without Mrs. S (Maria Doyle Kennedy)but finding strength and comfort in the support of her diverse group of sisters.

According to Orphan Black co-creator Graeme Manson, it was the ending he had envisioned when he originally pitched the series to BBC America several years ago. “I think myselfand all of uswanted a happy ending,” he says. “We wanted enough time to take a breath, come back and see what freedom meant to these sestras we’ve come to know so well.”

That the sisters defeated Neolution by banding together and embracing their differences also means a lot to Manson. “You know, a show about clones that at its core is about diversity, there’s something ironic and beautiful in that premise,” he says, “and to pull it off is kind of still a little bit flabbergasting.”

Manson joined us by phone to tell us more about the series finale, the show’s influence on Canadian television and what he plans to do next.

Overall, Orphan Black’s ending was happy and hopeful, with all the core clones surviving. How important was it to you that all the main sisters make it to the end?
Graeme Manson: I think it was very important. Behind the scenes, our four core sisters were off limits. It would come up once in a while, like when we needed to do something dramatic, like to kill someone, but then it would be like, ‘OK, who? Are you serious? Are you gonna kill Alison? Are you going kill to Cosima? We’re going to have to carry that?’ So in our minds those four sisters, including Helena, were safe. But then Rachel’s head was on and off the chopping block right up until early this season, but we made a decision that it was dramatically more interesting, and it would be a deeper and more interesting journey for Tatiana to play this sort of partial redemption of Rachel.
You’ve said that you knew the way you wanted to series to end when you originally pitched it, yet I understand that you made some fairly significant changes—such as moving parts of the action from the Island to Dyad—to the final two episodes. What was the reason for that?

Well, I would argue that they were, in fact, not major story changes really. Like the resetting of what we planned to do, closer to home, I mean the biggest thing [that moving the action from the Island to Dyad] did with the story is allow us to have the supportive characters play a bigger role. But it wouldn’t have made any difference. We would have come back and spent the final two acts at home anyway, we would have cut ahead six months after Sarah’s climax had occurred on the Island. So the change wasn’t actually that massive. What was difficult about the change was that it late in the game, and it was hard on production.

So that six-month jump forward was the ending you’d always envisioned?
I had a shape for the finale that jumped six months later, after the climax of it, after we dispatched the Big Bad, and I think myselfand all of uswanted a happy ending. We wanted enough time to take a breath, come back and see what freedom meant to these sestras we’ve come to know so well. And I think it was pretty early on in the season that we envisioned that Sarah was the stuck one. The brave woman who we’ve followed since she got off a train on the way home to steal her daughter and has gone through so much and has grown up and gained maturity and stepped into her late mother’s own shoes, that she would be the one who would still need to be carried over the line by her sisters. I think that was pretty solid pretty early. Quite honestly, we had large parts of the finale in mind since the end of last season.

I really appreciated that Sarah didn’t get a pat ending, that she still had some of the restlessness and rebelliousness in her that she’s had since the beginning. 
Yeah, she was in danger of being right where she was when we met her. She was in danger of taking Kira away again. She was in danger of running away. But over the course of this thing, Sarah has learned responsibility.

Meanwhile, Cosima, Alison and Helena seem to finish the series with a sense of peace and purpose. Beyond the flash forward you showed us in the finale, have you given any thought to how the clones will spend the rest of their lives?
That’s entirely up to the fans. It really is. You know, I have ideas on where we could pick up another story, but I set them free, too. I don’t sit around wondering what they’re doing today. [Laughs.]

Since you mentioned it, are there more Orphan Black stories to tell in the future? Could we see another series or a film?
Yeah. I think that there’s a chance. I think we all need a break from it, and I think the characters need a break. But we’ve talked about a feature. I’d love to think of that someday.

I was thrilled that Cosima and Delphine got a happy ending, which—as you know—is pretty rare for a lesbian couple on TV. Did you always envision them making it to the end, or were you at all influenced by the backlash the show received when Delphine was almost killed off?
No. The truth is that I think I really understood the ‘Kill Your Gays’ trope, perhaps more than a few people as we were driving toward the dramatic end of [Season 3], and I absolutely refused to have that character die. I was OK with a cliffhanger that we could claw our way back from, but I was 100 per cent against ever killing [Delphine]. I knew we were going to take heat even cliffhanging it, but as long as we could bring her back, I was willing to take the heat.

But bringing her back was very difficult. I mean it was pretty obvious what was going on when you realize that Évelyne Brochu was the lead in another series. I mean, I don’t know what all the hoopla was about. [Laughs.] I mean, come, look, she’s got another series, what do you think happened here? And the fact that she was carrying another series made it extremely difficult, but I was 100 per cent determined to bring her back, even though I knew that we would get her back very, very lightly in the next season. I made the case hard to our people, to the producers to keep the thread alive, and I made the pitch hard to Évelyne and said, ‘This is not the end. We want to bring you back. It’s the right thing for the show. It’s the right thing for these characters. You started the show, you’ve gotta end the show.’ And Évelyne really took it to heart, and we made it work.

What was the final scene that you filmed before wrapping the series?
The final moment was a piece of the birth with Sarah already wrapped. It was Tatiana as Helena and Art [Kevin Hanchard]. That final clone scene and that amazing birth were our final two days.

Was it very emotional for everyone?
It was four o’clock in the morning, and starting at about one o’clock in the morning, the cast started arrivingpeople that had long wrapped, crew who had been wrapped, people from past seasons, producers, network people. The number of people behind the monitors grew and grew until there were about 70 people behind the monitors waiting for that final cut. And it was super emotional. Everybody just stood in silence for a little while, and then people began to speak, there were testimonies. Maria Doyle Kennedy sang a song. And then we ate bagels with cream cheese and had champagne.

Orphan Black is credited with ushering in a Golden Age of Canadian television. What does that mean to you?
First of all, we’re thankful for coming up in the Canadian system and getting a show over the wall and being given the reins by our network and by our producers. And anything that we did to inspire others, whether that be business models or to inspire more confidence in the business or inspire more confidence in creativity, giving creatives full reign, that’s just great. We came up in Canada, you know? I’ve spent my whole career here. If it is true that the show has done that, then I’m very proud of that. You know, I’m certainly happy to see so many writers and actors that have come through the show going on to other stuff, and to keep the bloodline going I think is important to all of us.

What about Orphan Black makes you the proudest?
Oh, wow. I think it has something to do with wrestling this main character, Sarah, through this long journey and spending so much time with a character that formed the backbone of the show. And then working with so many incredibly talented women like Tatiana, like [science consultant] Cosima Herter. To have created a show that really did manage to break some molds as far as putting women at the centre and a show that managed to have a message underneath really fun storytelling and the action, edge-of-your-seat shit.

But that’s not as important as a show that’s main thrust, main messageespecially in this political climateis that there is strength in diversity. That’s a biological truth, and at its core, that’s what this show is about. You know, a show about clones that at its core is about diversity, there’s something ironic and beautiful in that premise, and to pull it off is kind of still a little bit flabbergasting.

What’s next for you?
I can only tease, but suffice to say that I’m continuing to explore some of the themes of Orphan Black in terms of science, citizen science, the limitations of science. I’m continuing to explore these themes with the real Cosima, Cosima Herter, with [series co-producer] Mackenzie Donaldson and with some other members of the Orphan Black family.

And so many people who have come up from Orphan Black are now onto their next things. Some of them are original. Some people have gone higher and further. I continue to be inspired by the themes and ethics and political stance of Orphan Black and continue to be super proud of everybody else and their own next steps, too.

Is there anything else you’d like to say now that the show’s final trip has ended?
Just a huge thank you from me and all of us at Orphan Black to Clone Club and all the supporters of the show.

Images courtesy of Bell Media.

 

 

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