Tag Archives: APTN

Review: Did Blackstone just kill off a character?

“Mom? Mom?” Alan’s drug-induced, hazy question to an open cell phone line was the shocking ending to what had otherwise been a very Jumbo-centric episode of Blackstone.

“Wolves vs. Sheep” concluded with the ultimate cliffhanger: Debbie, drunk and frustrated that Alan hadn’t come by to pick her up and drive her to see Andy, headed out behind the wheel. Alan’s call to her over an hour later arrived as she was ready to pull onto the highway and she missed the visual and aural tip that a tractor trailer was coming her way. The truck’s grille, splattered with blood, means Debbie is either dead or practically there. No way she’s unscathed.

That will leave the two Fraser men guilt-ridden; Alan for tossing his troubled mother to the side like a bag of trash and Andy for being unable to protect Debbie from harm.

As for Jumbo, his health is in question too. Over $50,000 in debt to Jack, the jig was up for Daryl’s right-hand man after both Gina and Alan confessed Jumbo was skimming funds from the club to pay for his increasing gambling addiction. His truck seized by Jack’s thugs, Jumbo has just five days to pay off the rest of what he owes. That’s going to be a major problem now that he’s unemployed. Unfortunately, Jumbo seems to have cost Daryl the only meaningful relationship I’ve seen him enjoy on Blackstone. That’s too bad, because at the beginning of Tuesday’s instalment it looked like Daryl was one two-minute hand-hold away from telling Gina he loved her. Now that’s up in the air thanks to Jumbo’s indiscretion.

How desperate is Jumbo to raise the funds to pay off Jack? Is he willing to take drastic measures, like steal from a bank, or will he flee the city and hope Jack and his men don’t find him?

Meanwhile, life for Victor has gotten a lot more complicated. The immediate money troubles the band is suffering from–the government is considering holding back on funds because of files burned up–could be alleviated by the oil company that wants to start fracking on the reserve. Victor’s flaw is that he wants everyone to be educated on the long-term effects fracking will have on Blackstone while the young men want the jobs and money ASAP. Victor has the support of folks like Wilma and Leona, but that appears to be it, especially after he was shot at and had “Frack You” spray-painted on the side of his truck.

Speaking of Leona, she and Gail at least talked about the latter’s alcoholism. Good on Leona for standing up to Gail’s excuses with her comment that she’s a recovering alcoholic too. I understand what Gail is going through, but enough is enough. If she truly wanted help she’d seek it out rather than make excuses, which is the classic denial phase of the issue.

With just two more episodes to go before the end of this season, there are a lot of loose ends that need to be tied up, the most pressing of which is: is Debbie dead?

Blackstone airs Tuesdays at 10 p.m. ET on APTN.


Review: Blackstone’s brutal truths

“I don’t need anyone!” Gail’s petulant scream to Greg and Leona during “Truth or Dare” marked the troubled woman at her lowest. Despite promising Leona (and why does Leona continue to believe her??) she could watch Wendy, Gail relapsed into a drug and booze-induced haze. Exactly at the wrong time: when Harold came by to check on Wendy. Finding the girl playing alone while food burned on the stove and Gail passed out, he took Wendy into custody in front of a wildly slurring Gail, highly peeved Greg and horribly betrayed Leona.

If Leona does get Wendy back–and that is a big if–I wouldn’t suggest she leave her alone with Gail anymore. The responsibility is just too much for Gail to handle. Michelle Thrush was once again great in her portrayal, but she was upstaged by co-star Carmen Moore in Damon Vignale’s script.

When Moore’s Leona wasn’t running around trying to get Wendy back she was delving deep into the situation concerning Trisha, Marnie and getting them safely returned to Blackstone. The key to her success ran straight through Alex and she showed grit, determination (and balls) by giving him an ultimatum: contact the girls or get the hell out of Blackstone. Once Platt and Stu had the two safely in custody, Leona pleaded with Marnie for the location of the warehouse. Platt and Stu descended, and while the place was empty, at least the investigation is moving forward.

Almost on the back burner was another fine performance by Eric Schweig. Andy was more successful during his second meeting with Dr. Crowshoe. Her questions about what he views as love–he equates it with providing a home for his family–caused him to drop his tough-guy façade ever so briefly and revealed a man confused and hurt. That revelation was indeed brief: in his next scene he was beating the crap out of Darrien in the prison yard, a move orchestrated by the latter so that he’d be put into the infirmary where he no doubt plans to escape from.

Blackstone airs Tuesdays at 10 p.m. ET/PT on APTN.


Review: Blackstone’s angels and demons

Blackstone is unflinching in its portrayal of the struggles facing a group of Aboriginal people outside of Edmonton. Need proof? Look no further than Tuesday’s “Sext Me,” which continued its examination of a people ignored by the population around them.

The body of a young Aboriginal girl is discovered in a desolate city park. She’s naked, but there’s nothing titillating about it. She’s a piece of meat left for someone else to find, a pitiful reminder there was no one to protect her from the dangers of drugs and prostitution. Her body exposed to the elements, not even the cops who arrived for the first call have bothered to cover her up. That was finally done by Det. Platt (John Cassini), who not only used his coat to at last give the girl part of her dignity but took responsibility for finding out who she was. This despite higher-ups telling him the city force didn’t have time for “the Indian cases.”

With Stu at his side, Platt ventured to Blackstone and discovered the girl’s identity. Ashley wasn’t part of the Blackstone band, but she was a friend of Marnie and Trisha, two girls who’d headed to Edmonton to make some money through prostitution. Alex’s dealing to the group seems to be the only tenuous tie they have to Blackstone, a thin thread that threatens to snap and lose them to early graves.

Drugs were also binding Andy: his grasp on health–and reality–is slipping. Full of anti-psychotics to try and stem his nightmares, Andy reached out to Daryl and begged for help. That came in the form of Dr. Crowshoe, but Andy suddenly clammed up and refused to talk about his deteriorating mental health. Baby steps, I guess. But having the ghosts of stripper Angel and demon Tom hovering over opposite shoulders while Andy stared wide-eyed into the distance signalled a man quickly getting to the end of his emotional rope. (Darrien telling Andy he’s plotting to break out sure doesn’t help.)

Gail, meanwhile, wasn’t in the awful, dark place she was last week. Yes, she lied to Leona about not having drugs in the house (why Leona hasn’t turned the place upside down searching for pills is beyond me), but she was at least sitting up on the couch rather than sleeping on it during the day. Natalie is still haunting her mother; again, baby steps, right?

Blackstone did offer two scenes of happiness. Wendy, Gina and Sarah had a downright giddy time strumming a guitar, playing soccer and laughing while sitting around a campfire. It was good to see Wendy giggling and acting like a little girl, something we haven’t really seen since early last season. The other bit of brightness came courtesy of Daryl. He’s clearly enamoured with Gina–he made her breakfast for the second time in two weeks–and was hurt when she had to run off with nary a sip of his coffee. Is Andy’s brother getting soft? Don’t bet on it.

Blackstone airs Tuesdays at 10 p.m. ET on APTN.


Review: Blackstone goes “Deeper and Deeper”

Tuesday’s new episode of Blackstone was called “Deeper and Deeper,” and from the outset it was obvious the title referred to Gail, Andy and Jumbo.

Gail’s descent into the rabbit hole of sleep to hide from the fact she stabbed Darrien advanced into dangerous territory. Her dreams were haunted by Natalie and soon her waking moments were filled by her too. Natalie asking Gail where Wendy had gone, taunting her to take more pills, imploring her to take a drink of alcohol (which Gail did) finally led to her offering Gail a knife and stating “there are faster ways to kill yourself.” Gail’s attempts to hide her lapses in time–and forgetting she had dropped Wendy off at Sarah’s house–were revealed to Leona, Marilyn, Wilma and Greg in a horrible public scene.

Actress Michelle Thrush won a Gemini for her role as Gail. It was well-deserved and she may just win a Canadian Screen Award this year. Her Gail is so tortured, so real, so pitiful … I wanted to look away but couldn’t, particularly when she was careening around the yard, trying to keep her numerous stories straight The only glimmer of hope by the end of the episode was that Leona realized how far Gail has fallen and will get her the help she so desperately needs.

Andy has been hitting the medication as well thanks to the stab wound he received last week. Of course, his father was there to mock and guffaw as Andy begged for more pain meds from the jail doctor. Angel, the stripper Andy shot to death, dropped by for a brief visit too, causing the former Blackstone chief to pee himself with fear. (Show creator Ron E. Scott advanced the overall prison story arc by having Andy converse with a young Native man who had been found guilty of manslaughter despite having an alibi. Andy promised to have his own lawyer look into the case, but he may be too drug-addled to make good on it.)

And finally there was Jumbo. Daryl’s right-hand man at the club has developed quite the addiction to online poker and was so desperate to play he took money from the night’s take to help supplant his gambling. He’s sinking deeper and deeper into debt (he’s going to lose the club’s money, of that I am sure) and Daryl is not going to be happy when he finds out.

Blackstone airs Tuesdays at 10 p.m. ET on APTN.


Link: Move over Lena Dunham, Mohawk Girls is where it’s at

From Ashley Csanady:

If you’re already sick of all the chatter about the fourth season of Lena Dunham’s Girls, which won’t even air on HBO until January 2015, the Canadian television gods are offering an antidote.

The cure is Mohawk Girls, and it looks like Sex and the City had a baby with a Joseph Boyden novel produced by Shonda Rhimes.

The characters are all strong, Cosmo-clutching women looking for the answers to life and love, all within the tight-knit setting of reservation life. Continue reading.