Tag Archives: APTN

Review: Blackstone ends with uncertainty

And just like that, Blackstone‘s Season 4 finale was upon us. Unfortunately, we didn’t get a lot of closure.

Instead, “There Will Be Blood,” written by Damon Vignale and Ron E. Scott, had more of a mid-year finale feel rather than season-ender. An eight-episode run will do that, especially when compared to 13 or 22 instalment seasons. A part of me wishes Scott had tied everything up nicely and there was resolution on all sides, but of course life isn’t like that, so why should a TV show like Blackstone?

If there was some sort of happy ending, Gail would be it. She’s been on quite the journey, diving back into alcohol and pills and managing to lose custody of Wendy in the process. After seeing Dr. Crowshoe, she’d begun to turn things around, mending fences with Greg, Leona and the community by helping organize the Elder Feast and she was front and centre during the blockade against Shale. Sadly, it doesn’t look like Wendy will be returned to the ladies anytime soon: by episode’s end Darrien had scooped her up and escaped down the highway in a stolen car.

Speaking of Shale and the oil drilling, that was cleared up by episode’s end. Sort of. After stopping Shale from drilling on Blackstone land, the company had made an agreement with Daryl and Andy to test on their private land, meaning the Frasers could be in for a windfall of cash the band will never see, unless the old treaty is called into question. It’s not all good news for the Frasers, however. Alan suffered severe burns thanks to a Molotov cocktail thrown at the blockade and his status was unknown. I imagine Season 5–if one is ordered–will see this as a wake-up call to Alan to perhaps return to Blackstone and become a valued part of the community, perhaps even chief.

He certainly can’t do a worse job than poor Victor. Not able to live up to expectations with regard to keeping Blackstone’s financial affairs in order and waffling on the Shale deal, he’s ripe for being unseated.

Jumbo, meanwhile, had earned his way back into Daryl’s good graces. After returning the $55,000 he owed to his former boss, he was hired back on. I’m glad that storyline has been resolved, but I’m not sure where the money came from. Did Jumbo win it back while gambling, or did he kill Jack? That wasn’t clear, unless I missed something last week.

Like I said, I’m a little bummed so many loose ends were left untied by the end of Tuesday’s finale. The girls who ran the prostitution ring  in Edmonton were never caught, Victor’s budding romance never advanced past lingering looks and we never found out if the prison inmate who told Andy he was his son really was. I’m guessing at least one of those will be addressed–along with the other stories left unfinished–in Season 5.

What did you think of Season 4 of Blackstone? What questions do you still have after Tuesday’s episode?

Notes and quotes

  • Where can I get one of those sweet Blackstone jackets like the one Andy wears?
  • “You’re the only person in my fucked up existence who knew me. I mean really knew me.”–Andy at Deb’s grave
  • Every scene in Blackstone means something, including that shot of the oil drilling trucks blowing past a Blackstone member pushing a shopping cart full of empty cans for recycling

Review: Fracking and fractured relationships on Blackstone

And just like that, Blackstone‘s Debbie Fraser is no more. In the final seconds of last week’s episode, Debbie drove into the path of a tractor trailer while on the phone with Alan, leaving a cliffhanger regarding her health.

“Discovery” by Damon Vignale opened with Andy sitting silently in prison, clearly numb at the news and unable to do anything before heading to Deb’s memorial, where Alan was getting hammered in a vain attempt to block out the pain. He has a lot to feel pained about: he’d shown nothing but contempt and hatred for Deb and he was the reason she was behind the wheel in the first place. Alan coming unglued on the Shale executives was an exercise in uncomfortableness.

With just one more episode to go in this fourth season, storylines were quickly wrapping up. Gail began her journey of healing with help from Dr. Crowshoe, who explained that Gail needed to grieve the death of those she loves as well as own up to the mistakes she’s made. She did just that, first saying sorry to Greg and then confessing to Leona that her relapse was her own fault and not something that Leona should be beating herself up for.

Things were looking very, very dire for Jumbo. He’d managed to elude Jack’s thugs for a bit, but they finally caught up with him and said he had just hours to pay back the cash he owed. After a lot of grousing, Daryl came through and paid Jack the money Jumbo owed. I’ve really enjoyed Daryl’s storyline this season. Aside from his growing relationship with Gina, he’s kept the club running smoothly and has very much been a father figure to Alan while Andy’s been in the clink. Speaking of the clink, did anyone else find the timing just a little too good in that the Shale folks came sniffing around Daryl and Andy’s land at the exact same time Andy’s bail needed to be posted? I’m sure it was all part of advancing the story, but it was just a little too smooth for me.

Next week’s Blackstone season finale episode is called “There Will be Blood,” and I can’t help but feel dread. After all, Darrien just escaped from prison and is hitching his way back to Blackstone. What will he do when he gets there? I’m not sure, but I’m betting he’s not planning on letting the past slide when it comes to Gail.

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