Tag Archives: futbol

21 Thunder goes to war

Episode 6 of 21 Thunder opened on Monday night with action that set the tone for the next 44 minutes. If I were to describe the episode with one word: angst, and lots of it!

“War” focused on Junior Lolo (Emmanuel Kabongo), Nolan (RJ Fetherstonhaugh) and Lara (Eileen Li). And right off the top these three actors turned out fantastic performances. I was grieving with Junior, I was fearing for Lara and I was just as furious with Declan (Colm Feore) as Nolan was. 21 Thunder just keeps on getting better and better!

Last week, we saw Fatima (Gabrielle Graham) return from her visit with Gregoire, her face covered in bruises. This week we opened with Junior, intent on seeing Gregoire and was immediately attacked by Isaac Boka (Ryan Allen) who we now know was impersonating Gregoire. Junior learned from his brother’s imposter that his brother is dead, supposedly he succumbed to pneumonia—however, a quick look on IMDb shows Gregoire (Kareem Tristan Alleyne) appears for one episode. IF Gregoire is dead, then his identity and his belongings are nothing now, but for Isaac Boka they could be a life saver—but why then if he is in so much danger was his apartment unlocked when Junior arrived? I have to wonder then, who attacked Fatima and Sly (Thamela Mpumlwana) when Junior was playing in Boston? Why start a fire threatening Fatima?  Something still does not add up here.

Lara, charged by Declan to ensure the Thunder makes it to the European tournament, paid Desjardins (Trevor Hayes) his first installment to fix the upcoming road game against Boston. But Desjardin failed to show.  We saw Lara’s fear; Eileen Li’s portrayal made it palpable for viewers. The moment she contemplated pulling the fire alarm, you could sense the knot of dread coiling in her gut. Meanwhile, the effects of Lara’s  game fixing were felt far wider than she herself was aware. John Mangano Jr. (Bruce Ramsay) was seen squeezing Declan for a cut of the profits. As punishment for not ensuring the game’s outcome, Lara had to see to Desjardin’s punishment and she paid a visit to Desjardins accompanied by two of K’s (Kyle Mac) thugs.

Upon the team’s return to Montreal following their victory in Boston, Kevin greeted the team bus, under instruction to take Nolan to his father. This capitulation by Nolan, it seemed, was the last straw for Emma (Clark Backo) and she declared she was done with him. Nolan met with Declan, who then invoked his parental  influence over Nolan, and ordered him to toss the upcoming match against London. Nolan wanted no part of his father, but Declan played his trump card: he still has the video on K’s phone proving Nolan was present when Kevin took down the dealer in a deal gone bad.

Side stories updated this week: Davey Gunn (Ryan Pierce) found himself in serious financial straits due to his salary cut. Because of his injury, Davey was unable to fulfill his contractual obligations. Alex (Andres Joseph) was called up to Utah’s first team which means Nolan has lost an instrument of positive influence from his childhood. Albert (Conrad Pla) upon returning home, found out his wife Renata (Paula Rivera) had left him. Coach Christy Cook (Stephanie Bennett) began to carve a place for herself with the team, earning praise from a stoic Coach Rocas. Finally, Grace Cook, with help from her new friend Davey Gunn, changed her mind and did not enter the rehab facility. Instead, she agreed to fully commit herself to home therapy. I am really loving the interaction between Davey and Grace. Here Davey can be himself and Grace is treated with integrity rather than as an inconvenience.

Things to watch for next week:

  1. Will Nolan be Declan’s inside man on the field, tossing the game against London and his big chance in front of international scouts?
  2. Will we learn who started the fire at Fatima’s apartment?
  3. We are still waiting to see if anyone goes to police about the murder Kevin and Nolan are involved in.
  4. Will Coach Davey Gunn’s serious financial difficulties mean he will be the coach Lara targets to help fix the London match?

As an aside, much has been said about 21 Thunder‘s message of diversity and this episode takes racism head-on. During the match this week we saw Tran (Jonathan Kim) fouled and a Boston player telling the “Gook” to stay down. Following the match, this same player from Boston started a fight in the hallway, tossing more racial slurs at Tran. This was the first time the show overtly tackled racism and it was done seamlessly within the plotlines.

I do have to mention just one minor complaint. Why on earth would Lara be seen around Desjardins’ in her team warm ups? For a bright girl, that is not so bright.

“War” was an outstanding buildup for what I am sure will be explosive action in the final two episodes.

Related: Read our interview with RJ Fetherstonhaugh!

21 Thunder airs Mondays at 9 p.m. on CBC.


21 Thunder: Could this be Heaven, or Hell?

We all have our own way of defining hell, and sometimes we cannot help making decisions that put us there, which is evident throughout this week’s episode of 21 Thunder, “Heaven or Hell.”

Three main storylines played out during this episode: Lara’s (Eileen Li) involvement in the online betting ring, Junior Lolo’s (Emmanuel Kobongo) call up to the show and Nolan’s (RJ Fetherstonhaugh) existential crisis over his deadly involvement with Kevin’s gang.

First with the sports betting ring. Declan (Colm Feore)  got word about Lara and Zhen’s (Anthony Shim) game fixing success and ordered Special K (Kyle Mac) to insert himself on their little gig. However, Lara, now out of debt with her one-time involvement wanted out. Kevin and Zhen were not having any of that because let’s face it, you can’t have too much of a good thing. In some anxious moments, we watched as Lara prepared to bolt, tried to secure a refund from medical school on compassionate grounds, but apparently, once in the world of illegal betting, you are all in—and yes my heart was pounding during this sequence! Between Declan’s (Colm Feore) insistence to stay in his employ and Kevin stealing her cash, she is now trapped in the hell of her own creation. Declan, it seems, is going to use this little venture to help his son the only way he knows how: Lara is to ensure the U21’s qualify for a tournament with the Europeans, thus giving his son the exposure to make it big in footie.

There was also a good deal of turmoil surrounding Junior Lolo. The cold open saw him with his younger brother Sly (Thamela Mpumlwana) as they were evicted from their apartment, having used all of their cash to learn the whereabouts of their older brother Gregoire (Kareem Tristan Alleyne). And if being homeless wasn’t enough, it seemed Coach Rocas (Conrad Pla) had some big plans of his own. Rocas convinced  Coach Shields (Randy Thomas) of the premiere team to call up Junior instead of Nolan, Rocas hoped to ride on Junior’s naive coattails should scouts from the European League take note of his skills. Scoring the game-winning goal in New York, they did indeed take notice of Junior and presented an offer. But Coach Mike had already warned Junior of Rocas’ plot to sell Lolo to a big European club. Resolved to remain in Montreal, Junior ignored Rocas’ pleas and instead called Coach out for the dishonourable man that he is. Meanwhile, Junior’s new love interest Fatima (Gabrielle Graham) went on her own search for big brother Gregoire, and unfortunately for her, found him. He is evidently not the lovable, kind soul the boys remember from their youth. Poor Junior, here he is in the blush of early love, faced with the knowledge that his brother he so desperately wishes to find, has beaten his girlfriend.

Finally, we returned to Nolan, whose guilt was starting to get the best of him after spotting his victim’s mother canvassing for information regarding the death of her son. Distraught, Nolan turned to of all people, his father for advice: “Just bury it.” Expected for a family dinner at Emma’s (Clark Backo) to celebrate her completion of the MCATs, Nolan instead sought out his comfort zone and hung out with his team mates. Here he learned Alex (Andres Joseph) had tried to kiss Emma while tripping on some molly. Despite his anger, or because of it, the episode closed with Nolan apologizing to Emma for missing dinner, followed by a very confused yet impassioned proposal of marriage—Nolan, you did that wrong. Don’t you know you need 1,000 yellow daisies when you propose?

In other minor developments, we learned Grace Cook is in need of 24-hour rehabilitative care. Begrudgingly, she agreed to go to that “shit hole rehab” when her care proved too much for Christy (Stephanie Bennett) and Peter to manage. Additionally, Christy is faced with fending off rude comments directed at her through her contractual social media presence. As her budding friendship with Marie (Kimberly Laferriere) continued to tread lightly,  Marie asked Christy to be a bridesmaid at her wedding to first-string footballer Damien (Lucas Chartier-Dessert). We also saw Assistant Coach Davey Gunn ( Ryan Pierce) injured in the match against New York.

This week we were left wondering:

  1. What the hell is up with Gregoire?
  2. How will Lara fix the next game? Or will she?
  3. Will some good Samaritan come forward with information that will lead police to Nolan and Kevin?
  4. How will Coach Gunn’s injuries affect his contractual obligations to the club and the tax debt he is carrying?
  5. Will Emma say yes?

This was another superb installment by the cast and crew of 21 Thunder. I suppose all there is to do now is keep watching and wait to hear if CBC will renew it for Season 2!

21 Thunder airs Mondays at 9 p.m. on CBC.


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!)