STAR TREK: DISCOVERY, 1.3 – “Context is for Kings” (Netflix Review)

Streaming on UK Netflix from: Monday 2nd October 2017

Story by: Bryan Fuller, Gretchen J. Berg and Aaron Harberts

Teleplay by: Gretchen J. Berg, Aaron Harberts and Craig Sweeny

Directed by: Akiva Goldsman


 

ENTER: ME

“Sometimes down is up, up is down. Sometimes when you’re lost, you’re found.”

For the second time in its first three instalments, Star Trek: Discovery has a ‘pilot’ episode, as 1.3 shoots forward six months from the USS Shenzhou’s clash with the Klingons and Captain Georgiou’s death, following Michael Burnham’s (Sonequa Martin-Green) heavily-contested and unorthodox efforts to save the ship, her captain and crew. Now, the woman who will not reply to “Mickey” is a silent, resigned, person-adverse prisoner being transferred to do mining work to help the Federation’s war effort.

… Keep Scuttling!

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THE HANDMAID’S TALE, 1.3 – “Late” (TV Review)

Channel 4 – 9pm – Sunday 11th June 2017

Teleplay by: Bruce Miller – Based on the novel by: Margaret Atwood

Directed by: Reed Morano


 

DELICATE TERRITORY

“Shall I just go in the kitchen and cut my dick off?”

Offred’s (Elisabeth Moss) flashbacks offer us a terrifying glimpse into the incremental fall of (wo)man in this third episode of MGM/Hulu’s ten-part series, with overnight laws in the name of “national security” diminishing the rights – and status – of woman to the point where they cannot own property, money or a job – and it’s now commonplace for them to be verbally assaulted by store clerks without fear of admonishment.

… Keep Scuttling!

TABOO, 1.3 (TV Review)

BBC One – Saturday 21st January 2017 – 9:15pm

Created by: Tom Hardy, Edward “Chips” Hardy, Steven Knight

Written by: Steven Knight

Directed by: Kristoffer Nyholm


A PINCER MOVEMENT

After a fortnight of moaning that episodes 1.1 and 1.2 of the BBC’s Ridley Scott-produced historical miniseries were more concerned with entrenching us in grimy atmosphere than propelling the story forward, with Saturday’s third instalment opening with cunning comeback kid James Delaney (Tom Hardy) weak and wobbly after being stitched up from the knife wound he sustained at the hands of a bonneted assassin, I feared we would be in for another hour of slow burn consternation as our enigmatic protagonist recovered from the thrust of a blade.

… Keep Scuttling!

ZAPPED, 1.3 – “Mr Wuffles” (TV Review)

THE LIVING AND THE DEAD, 1.3 (TV Review)

BBC 1 – 12th July 2016 – 9pm

Written by: Simon Tyrrell

Series created by: Ashley Pharaoh

Directed by: Alice Troughton


 

DUCKING THE HARE

“You will reap what has been sown.”

Harvest time is upon Shepzoy and tension is in the fields, perfectly encapsulated in the sombre folk song which riffs and repeats during key scenes in this eerie third episode of the BBC’s Tuesday night period drama. New Farm Manager Charlotte Appleby (Charlotte Spencer) is apprehensive about her first reaping being a success, while her psychologist husband Nathan (Colin Morgan) is suffering from insomnia following the death of tragic Charlie last week.

There is once more an episodic feel to proceedings with Charlie’s grieving mother (Pooky Quesnel) departing her home to make way for a new supernatural case file. This arrives in the twitchy form of nervous and highly-strung Peter Hare (Peter Emms), who is disturbed by voices and visions of a woman persuading him to sacrifice his mother, Maud (Elizabeth Berrington), to guarantee the wheat will not perish.

References to the reverend’s daughter and a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it cameo from the deceased John (Steve Oram) from the opening episode do begin to paint proceedings into a larger panoramic portrait, so too a climatic tease to the return of Nathan’s haunted past next week, but this also works successfully as a gripping one hour supernatural adventure.

“We must evolve and embrace the new.”

Incoming episode scribe Simon Tyrrell successfully incorporates creator Ashley Pharaoh’s ever-present theme of tradition vs. progress, with the old-school farmworkers fearful of a cursed crop and looking for a witchly scapegoat to string up when an infestation of “black devils” swarms the sheaths. Can the new mistress “break the spell” with some scientific pest control, or will nature further dampen their spirits?

With more hallucinations and yet another night time wander, The Living and the Dead does veer perilously close to overusing its stock terror tropes, but the expanding story, weekly mysteries, eerie air and character’s convictions more than make up for the shadow of familiarity. Episode 1.3 is a strong and spooky, measured and moody addition to a prime portfolio.

CR@B’s Claw Score: 4 stars