STAR TREK: DISCOVERY, 1.4 – “The Butcher’s Knife Cares Not for the Lamb’s Cry” (Netflix Review)

Streaming on UK Netflix from: Monday 8th October 2017

Series created by: Bryan Fuller and Alex Kurtzman

Written by: Jesse Alexander and Aron Eli Coleite

Directed by: Olatunde Osunsanmi


 

UNIQUELY INTERESTING

“Let’s send our Klingon friends a message they won’t forget.”

Settling into its new post-‘second pilot’ direction, episode 1.4 of Star Trek: Discovery gave me the distinct impression that it was panicked about how grand, impressive and memorable it was, and frequently felt the need to throw everything at the audience in a shallow attempt to impress. While it’s by no means a complete shipwreck, “The Butcher’s Knife…” is both the busiest and my least favourite of the new series thus far.

… Keep Scuttling!

THE HANDMAID’S TALE, 1.4 – “Nolite Te Bastardes Carborundorum” (TV Review)

Channel 4 – 9pm – Sunday 18th June 2017

Written by: Leila Gerstein

Series created by: Bruce Miller – Based on the novel by: Margaret Atwood

Directed by: Mike Barker


 

THE SOUND OF GLASS

“How did you survive her?”

Isolated to her room for 13 days after bursting Selena Joy’s (Yvonne Strahovski) pregnancy bubble by getting her “monthly woe” in “Late” (reviewed HERE) last week, a cabin fevered Offred (Elisabeth Moss) takes to laying in her cupboard, wherein she discovers the Latin phrase which this fourth episode is named after, scratched into the wall. Believing it to be written by her predecessor in the Waterford house, Offred is determined to find a translation to the antiquated message and decipher the meaning.

… Keep Scuttling!

TABOO, 1.4 (TV Review)

BBC One – Saturday 28th January 2017 – 9.15pm

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

Written by: Steven Knight and Emily Ballou

Directed by: Kristoffer Nyholm


 

THE JOINT IN THE SEE-SAW

“Delaney is turning London into his own private bear pit!”

Just when I didn’t think Taboo could bring any more grit and gore to primetime Saturday night television, the BBC’s decency-touting new mini-series descended to shocking new lows (or highs, depending on your tolerance for the controversial) in its fourth week: there’s rapey jail cell harassment from figures of authority, throat slittings, prostitutes give blow jobs, doctor’s lick cow shit, brothers use voodoo to have intercourse with their half-sisters from afar… and in an eye-poppingly visceral visual, intestines spill from a eviscerated stomach after a long-winded slug-fest turns bloody.

… Keep Scuttling!

THE LIVING AND THE DEAD, 1.4 (TV Review)

BBC One – 19th July 2016 – 9pm

Written by: Robert Murphy

Series created by: Ashley Pharoah

Directed by: Sam Donovan


 

SECRET FLOWER OF THE FOREST

“The past is dead, and the dead are dead.”

Never a less convincing word is spoken by Victorian psychologist and spiritual-dabbler Nathan Appleby (Colin Morgan), who is attempting to reassure his pregnant wife, Charlotte (Charlotte Spencer) after witnessing the roaming spirit of a murdered villager at the close of this fourth episode in BBC One’s progressive supernatural period drama.

Despite being written and directed by different crew, tonight’s latest instalment is better than any previous episode at effortlessly continuing the series narrative without making the connection to previous parts feel laboured and forcefully inserted for continuity purposes. This felt like the conclusion of a two-parter.

Having been banished for his violent attempt to cleanse Shepzoy of its “witch” last week week, former farmhand Jack Langtree (Joel Gilman) is this week accused of attacking traumatised school teacher Martha Enderley (Nina Forever‘s Fiona O’Shaughnessy) while living rough in Elmwood Forest. But can Martha’s wide-eyed ramblings be believed, or is she more connected to the disappearance of her friend Alice Wharton (Gina Bramhill) than she is letting on?

“Your mind is denying us access to your memories…”

Donning a Rick Grimes-esque Stetson and attempting to put his personal malaise to one side, all-round go-to-guy Nathan adds lawman, detective and autopsy-deliverer to his growing repertoire of skills, returning to the mist-shrouded scene of the crime in an attempt to save Alice and apprehend Jack.

Behind the lens, Sam Donovan incorporates a wealth of dizzying aerial tracking shots of the gorgeous natural woodland, paralleling the scale and warmth of red autumnal foliage with the stark and claustrophobic greys of the cold Shepzoy dwellings. Pronounced angles and focus pulls also help immerse the viewer and increase the ominous and ethereal atmosphere which has been so strong throughout The Living and the Dead.

Once more Nathan’s haunting bereavement is kept to the outskirts – teased deliciously in a Ouija board prologue but then essentially back-benched once again. I sense this frustrating drawn out approach will be a common occurrence until his dead son is brought front and centre in an episode all his own at the tail-end of the six-part series.

Modernity again rears its head into the traditional Somerset community, with Llama’s proclaimed as the “future of farming” and an eventual innate confession capping-off what would have been a rather predictable and average murder mystery with a passionate explosion of pent-up alienation which the twenty-first century can relate to with more open-minded understanding than ever before.

“All my life I’ve felt different…”

Had the episode finished there, it would have been a passably adept hour of eerie entertainment, three CR@B’s out of five. However, the final shot pans to a truly jaw-dropping rug-pull reveal which corroborated an earlier question lingering in the back of my mind concerning a potential anachronism. Frankly, it blew my mind. Suspicions and curiosity well and truly running rampant, I am thankful for the innovative Beeb’s iPlayer boxset approach which means I don’t have to wait seven excruciating days to have my theories laid to rest. “That way madness lies…”

CR@B’s Claw Score: 4 stars