This episode was chock full of WTF moments. Some were amazing like a lot of magic, the epic kicking of Madison Montgomery’s ass, and the final revelation of the seven wonders. However, some random choices of the episode felt flat and unsatisfying. A lot of storylines were tidied up but at the expense of narrative satisfaction. We’re feeling blue and not in a way Cymbalta is going to fix.
What-TF are the Seven Wonders?
Concilium (Mind Control)
Transmutation (Teleportation) - It’s worth mentioning that in every other incidence of magic and in real world science transmutation means transformation. Historically, transmutation was the ability to turn lead into gold which was the basis of all modern chemistry
Vitalum Vitalis (Resurgence or Life Balance) It’s unclear as to whether this is the power to bring people back from the dead or to balance someone’s life force. So far Fiona Goode (Jessica Lange), Zoe (Taissa Farmiga), and Queenie (Gabourey Sidibe) used this ability to breathe a little life into people. However, everyone has said Misty Day (Lily Rabe) has the power as resurgence not Vitalum Vitalis and apparently she and Maddison Montgomery (Emma Roberts) can do it without saying a spell.
Descensum (Afterlife travel)
What-TF are these Awesome Moments?
The episode begins with a really great silent movie style reveal of The Seven Wonders. Finally, after wanting to know all season, we find out at the beginning of the episode.
Cordelia Foxx (Sarah Paulson) finally has a vision with her latent abilities and it’s a haunting premonition. All the girls are dead in various ways and Cordelia has been shot in the head.
Queenie has a new magic makeover that's pretty awesome. She uses a whole mess of new powers. She also takes on Papa Legba (Lance Reddick) and rightfully points out that Marie Laveau (Angela Bassett) no longer has a contract with him because if she is chopped up into pieces, she can’t fulfill their bargain.
Misty kicks Madison’s ass in a knock down drag out fight we’ve been waiting all season for.
All the witches unite to kill the Axeman (Danny Houston). Although thematically it would have been more satisfying for the person they group kill to be Fiona (because she has been trying to kill them), Marie (because she gave Nan’s soul to Papa Legba), or Delphine LaLaurie (Kathy Bates) (because she sucks).
The end of the Delphine/Marie storyline is pretty satisfying. Delphine gets trapped in a hell where she and her daughter must be brutalized forever. Marie is trapped to stay in Delphine’s hell torturing her for all eternity.
The ending leaves us excited for the reveal of the next Supreme because all the girls are primed for the test. However, given how sloppily they wrote the season they probably will just reveal that Fiona was never really dead.
Why-TF Did They Do That?
Why would Queenie want to find Marie Laveau if she left her for dead? Queenie goes on a trip to Hell using the ability of Descensum and ends up at a chicken place? Why are they revisiting the chicken place when it was racist enough the first time? To add insult to injury it's one guy’s hell to never get chicken. #racist
Why did Delphine LaLaurie survive this long? Her entire existence on this show made no sense. She wasn’t a witch, she was just a famous New Orleans killer. After finally cutting up Marie Laveau she goes back to her own house to give tours dressed like a ratchet First Lady?
Why did the Axeman kill Fiona? Allegedly, according to a vision by Cordelia, the Axeman killed Fiona after he found a plane ticket she was hiding in her purse.
What was the point to Marie Laveau? She had no clear motivation. She was immortal but spent her life, at the expense of many babies’ lives, running a haircutting place in the ghetto?
Why are all the girls’ powers growing, but Cordelia is still useless?
Why would Myrtle Snow (Frances Conroy) pay to have an expert painter do Fiona’s portrait if she hates her?
Why were so many extraneous characters introduced like The Axeman, the witch hunters, and Joan Ramsey (Patti LuPone) if neither they nor the core characters got any character development? We honestly don’t know much more about any of our main characters that are still alive because so many people were on the show. There are only some surface superficial things but no one is any more or less likable than they were when they were first introduced.
Why don’t we know what Cordelia or Myrtle’s powers are? Why haven’t they helped by doing anything magical?
Finally, why haven’t the makers of this show figured out how to avoid so many plot holes? Isn’t it someone’s job to keep track of story elements on the show and to Google things like transmutation?
Who-TF is the Next Supreme?
So far, Madison has manifested the most wonders – telekinesis, pyrokinesis, transmutation, vitus vitalis and technically her flawless resurrection could be considered Descensum. So she is the obvious front runner and therefore a red herring.
However, Queenie and Zoe are the only witches whose abilities are not one of the seven wonders. Queenie’s voodoo doll powers and Zoe’s killer vagina might be a sign one of them is the next Supreme. Also, Zoe undid Marie’s spell earlier in the season. So far no witch has been able to do that.
Ultimately, there’s no reason to believe that Fiona is not the next supreme because it looks like the girls may accidentally or purposefully kill each other through the trial and Fiona will shoot her daughter right through the eyes according to Cordelia’s vision.
David Mitchell's novel Cloud Atlas consists of six stories set in various periods between 1850 and a time far into Earth's post-apocalyptic future. Each segment lives on its own the previous first person account picked up and read by a character in its successor creating connective tissue between each moment in time. The various stories remain intact for Tom Tykwer's (Run Lola Run) Lana Wachowski's and Andy Wachowski's (The Matrix) film adaptation which debuted at the Toronto International Film Festival. The massive change comes from the interweaving of the book's parts into one three-hour saga — a move that elevates the material and transforms Cloud Atlas in to a work of epic proportions.
Don't be turned off by the runtime — Cloud Atlas moves at lightning pace as it cuts back and forth between its various threads: an American notary sailing the Pacific; a budding musician tasked with transcribing the hummings of an accomplished 1930's composer; a '70s-era investigatory journalist who uncovers a nefarious plot tied to the local nuclear power plant; a book publisher in 2012 who goes on the run from gangsters only to be incarcerated in a nursing home; Sonmi~451 a clone in Neo Seoul who takes on the oppressive government that enslaves her; and a primitive human from the future who teams with one of the few remaining technologically-advanced Earthlings in order to survive. Dense but so was the unfamiliar world of The Matrix. Cloud Atlas has more moving parts than the Wachowskis' seminal sci-fi flick but with additional ambition to boot. Every second is a sight to behold.
The members of the directing trio are known for their visual prowess but Cloud Atlas is a movie about juxtaposition. The art of editing is normally a seamless one — unless someone is really into the craft the cutting of a film is rarely a post-viewing talking point — but Cloud Atlas turns the editor into one of the cast members an obvious player who ties the film together with brilliant cross-cutting and overlapping dialogue. Timothy Cavendish the elderly publisher could be musing on his need to escape and the film will wander to the events of Sonmi~451 or the tortured music apprentice Robert Frobisher also feeling the impulse to run. The details of each world seep into one another but the real joy comes from watching each carefully selected scene fall into place. You never feel lost in Cloud Atlas even when Tykwer and the Wachowskis have infused three action sequences — a gritty car chase in the '70s a kinetic chase through Neo Seoul and a foot race through the forests of future millennia — into one extended set piece. This is a unified film with distinct parts echoing the themes of human interconnectivity.
The biggest treat is watching Cloud Atlas' ensemble tackle the diverse array of characters sprinkled into the stories. No film in recent memory has afforded a cast this type of opportunity yet another form of juxtaposition that wows. Within a few seconds Tom Hanks will go from near-neanderthal to British gangster to wily 19th century doctor. Halle Berry Hugh Grant Jim Sturgess Jim Broadbent Ben Whishaw Hugo Weaving and Susan Sarandon play the same game taking on roles of different sexes races and the like. (Weaving as an evil nurse returning to his Priscilla Queen of the Desert cross-dressing roots is mind-blowing.) The cast's dedication to inhabiting their roles on every level helps us quickly understand the worlds. We know it's Halle Berry behind the fair skinned wife of the lunatic composer but she's never playing Halle Berry. Even when the actors are playing variations on themselves they're glowing with the film's overall epic feel. Jim Broadbent's wickedly funny modern segment a Tykwer creation that packs a particularly German sense of humor is on a smaller scale than the rest of the film but the actor never dials it down. Every story character and scene in Cloud Atlas commits to a style. That diversity keeps the swirling maelstrom of a movie in check.
Cloud Atlas poses big questions without losing track of its human element the characters at the heart of each story. A slower moment or two may have helped the Wachowskis' and Tykwer's film to hit a powerful emotional chord but the finished product still proves mainstream movies can ask questions while laying over explosive action scenes. This year there won't be a bigger movie in terms of scope in terms of ideas and in terms of heart than Cloud Atlas.
Theatrics slapstick and cheer are cinematic qualities you rarely find outside the realm of animation. Disney perfected it with their pantheon of cartoon classics mixing music humor spectacle and light-hearted drama that swept up children while still capturing the imaginations and hearts of their parents. But these days even reinterpretations of fairy tales get the gritty make-over leaving little room for silliness and unfiltered glee. Emerging through that dark cloud is Mirror Mirror a film that achieves every bit of imagination crafted by its two-dimensional predecessors and then some. Under the eye of master visualist Tarsem Singh (The Fall Immortals) Mirror Mirror's heightened realism imbues it with the power to pull off anything — and the movie never skimps on the anything.
Like its animated counterparts Mirror Mirror stays faithful to its source material but twists it just enough to feel unique. When Snow White (Lily Collins) was a little girl her father the King ventured into a nearby dark forest to do battle with an evil creature and was never seen or heard from again. The kingdom was inherited by The Queen (Julia Roberts) Snow's evil stepmother and the fair-skinned beauty lived locked up in the castle until her 18th birthday. Grown up and tired of her wicked parental substitute White sneaks out of the castle to the village for the first time. There she witnesses the economic horrors The Queen has imposed upon the people of her land all to fuel her expensive beautification. Along the way Snow also meets Prince Alcott (Armie Hammer) who is suffering from his own money troubles — mainly being robbed by a band of stilt-wearing dwarves. When the Queen catches wind of the secret excursion she casts Snow out of the castle to be murdered by her assistant Brighton (Nathan Lane).
Fairy tales take flack for rejecting the idea of women being capable but even with its flighty presentation and dedication to the old school Disney method Mirror Mirror empowers its Snow White in a genuine way thanks to Collins' snappy charming performance. After being set free by Brighton Snow crosses paths with the thieving dwarves and quickly takes a role on their pilfering team (which she helps turn in to a Robin Hooding business). Tarsem wisely mines a spectrum of personalities out of the seven dwarves instead of simply playing them for one note comedy. Sure there's plenty of slapstick and pun humor (purposefully and wonderfully corny) but each member of the septet stands out as a warm compassionate companion to Snow even in the fantasy world.
Mirror Mirror is richly designed and executed in true Tarsem-fashion with breathtaking costumes (everything from ball gowns to the dwarf expando-stilts to ridiculous pirate ship hats with working canons) whimsical sets and a pitch-perfect score by Disney-mainstay Alan Menken. The world is a storybook and even its monsters look like illustrations rather than photo-real creations. But what makes it all click is the actors. Collins holds her own against the legendary Julia Roberts who relishes in the fun she's having playing someone despicable. She delivers every word with playful bite and her rapport with Lane is off-the-wall fun. Armie Hammer riffs on his own Prince Charming physique as Alcott. The only real misgiving of the film is the undercooked relationship between him and Snow. We know they'll get together but the journey's half the fun and Mirror Mirror serves that portion undercooked.
Children will swoon for Mirror Mirror but there's plenty here for adults — dialogue peppered with sharp wisecracks and a visual style ripped from an elegant tapestry. The movie wears its heart on its sleeve and rarely do we get a picture where both the heart and the sleeve feel truly magical.