Posts Tagged ‘TV’

“Dark” thoughts, Season One, Episode Ten: “Alpha and Omega”

December 15, 2017

The true innovation and genius of Dark — the thing that separates it from even the most entertaining time-travel stories, from Back to the Future to The Terminator to The Time Machine itself — is that it’s not just an exciting riddle about creating and escaping time warps for you to try and solve, nor a chilling look at a dark future we wish to avoid (until that final scene, anyway). As I put it in an earlier review, “Dark’s true interest isn’t in the characters’ inability to escape the spacetime loop, but in using that premise to explore their inability to escape their own nature.”

The adult Jonas makes this point explicitly to his younger self. In the middle of a speech about how he has to leave the teenage Jonas locked up in Noah’s chamber, because his experiences inside will be necessary to make him the man he becomes, he drops what almost feels like a non sequitur: “Why did you kiss Martha?” Then he elaborates: “We’re not free in what we do, because we’re not free in what we want. We can’t overcome what’s deep within us.” At this, the younger Jonas begins sobbing, begging his older self to stop talking over and over again. “I want everything to go back to normal,” he says.

But there is no normal. Just as the wormhole locks the people of Winden in an inescapable loop of misery, so too do their own unchangeable natures and desires. It’s the boldest wedding of time travel to a provocative psychological theme I’ve ever encountered. For that reason alone I’ll follow Dark into the future.

I reviewed the season finale of Dark for Decider. It ends with my least favorite scene in the series so far, and it’s a bit deflating to see it reach the end zone only to trip over its own untied shoelaces, but whatever. Still a show to be reckoned with.

“Dark” thoughts, Season One, Episode Nine: “Everything Is Now”

December 15, 2017

It occurs to me now that among its many other antecedents, Dark feels like a version of Lost folded in on itself, in which the action on the magical, spacetime-traveling Island and the secret-revealing, surprise-laden, character-driven backstory flashbacks all occur simultaneously. “Everything Is Now” indeed.

I wrote about the baroque complexity of Dark’s penultimate episode for Decider.

“Dark” thoughts, Season One, Episode Eight: “As You Sow, So Shall You Reap”

December 15, 2017

Like so much great genre art, Dark uses its fantastical elements not just because they’re compelling in their own right, but because their spectacular nature is closer to the inarticulable gravity of the emotions we experience every day.  Helge, Ulrich, Mikkel, Hannah, Jana, Jonas, the mysterious stranger, and (in a striking reveal) Claudia Tiedemann all seem to have driven to mental illness by the wormhole’s impact on their lives, but as another great work of genre fiction about family and murder once put it, we all go a little mad sometimes. And what else do the worst disasters and failures of your life feel like if not a tear in the fabric of space and time themselves?

I reviewed episode 8 of Dark, which really fucking went there, for Decider.

Awards

December 13, 2017

Between Bon Jovi, the worst rock and roll band of all time, getting into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Twin Peaks, the best television show of all time, not getting nominated at the Golden Globes, this is a bad fuckin’ week for awards.

The 10 Best TV Episodes of 2017: ‘Girls’

December 11, 2017

When 2017 lies dead and buried in the ground, “Separate the art from the artist” will be chiseled on its tombstone. But what will we find in the grave?

If it’s the idea that creators are shielded from scrutiny by the strength of their creations, then goodbye and good riddance. For too long, sexual predators in entertainment and media triple-axled their way across the thin ice of “open secrets,” their safety ensured by power. (Why, one of these men even became president!) The crack, the splash and the final desperate glug-glug-glugs were long overdue.

If we’re lucky, though, this year of revelation and reckoning will force a deeper reexamination of our desire to see artists and their art as identical, because that dull blade of interpretation cuts both ways. Like a bizarro Louis C.K., whose professional accolades protected his personal reputation, Lena Dunham is a multi-hyphenate auteur whose detractors see her history of poor attempts to address urgent issues offscreen and take it that her art is similarly inept. The best way to argue against this clumsy conflation is by example – and “American Bitch” is as good an example as it gets. The third episode of Girls‘ sixth and final season, what’s arguably the series’ finest (half-)hour attacks the creator/creation dichotomy with funny, frightening ferocity. This parable about abusive artists doubles as case for its own artist’s singular skill as an observer of moral failure … including her own.

I wrote an essay about Girls’ “American Bitch” for Rolling Stone. This is just the first in a series of deep dives by the usual murderers’ row of RS writers. Stay tuned!

“Dark” thoughts, Season One, Episode Seven: “Crossroads”

December 8, 2017

As convoluted as Dark‘s plot can be, forcing you to keep track of a sprawling cast of interrelated characters across multiple timelines, it’s done an impressive job of making that task easier as the show goes along. This is where the show’s emphasis on the emotional struggles of Winden’s townsfolk pays practical dividends as well as dramatic ones. Like Game of Thrones or Twin Peaks, two shows that also boast large casts and complex storylines involving secret identities and family connections, Dark digs painfully deep into the darkest recesses and most burning desires of its characters, which in turn makes figuring out who’s who and what’s what much more intuitive.

I reviewed the seventh episode of Dark for Decider; new reviews will resume Monday. Use that time to catch up over the weekend, please, since this show is one of the best Netflix has ever done. (More on that anon!)

“Mr. Robot” thoughts, Season Three, Episode Nine: “eps3.8_stage3.torrent”

December 7, 2017

The reason I singled out the kisses at the start of this review, though, is because they represent something larger. At an impromptu meeting between E Corp CEO Phillip Price, his once and future underling Tyrell Wellick, and Tyrell’s ersatz hacker ally Mr. Robot (who’s just Elliot, as far as Price knows), Price tells Elliot “World catastrophes like this? They aren’t caused by lone wolves like you. They occur because men like me allow them.” Certainly the past year of real life has borne this out. Much as we’d like to pin the rise and fall of campaigns, parties, and countries on rogue actors, who therefore can be isolated and eliminated if we’re smart and good enough, the real fault is systemic, and that system is run by men who make themselves increasingly untouchable with each Supreme Court decision and tax cut.

And yet! Here’s why Phillip Price, Master of the Universe, decided to hire Allsafe, the firm that Elliot and Angela worked for, to handle E Corp’s cyber-security, thus setting all of this in motion:

Stages 1, 2, and 3 happened because Phillip Price fell for Angela Moss at first sight. They happened because Angela and Elliot and Darlene were heartbroken over the deaths of their parents. They happened because Whiterose, as the cracks in her voice betray, is tired of men like Price, who “only understand force, and a lot of it. That is the only currency with these men!” They continue to happen because Grant loves his boss, and because Dom is a lonely person who turned to Darlene for comfort, and on and on and on. Systemic causes trump individual ones, yes. But the personal and the political are inextricable, because external power and internal passion are inescapable. If you want to survive, you must endure them both.

I reviewed the penultimate episode of Mr. Robot Season Three for Decider.

“Dark” thoughts, Season One, Episode Six: “Sic Mundus Creatus Est”

December 7, 2017

“You don’t really know your parents, do you? What they were like as kids, or teenagers. You’re a family, but you don’t really know anything about each other.” Martha Nielsen says this to her brother Magnus as they lay in bed together, contemplating the disaster area their lives have become following the disappearance of their brother Mikkel. The most moving sequence in “Sic Mundus Creatus Est,” Dark‘s excellent sixth episode, demonstrates the truth in her words to devastating effect.

I reviewed episode six of Dark for Decider.

“Dark” thoughts, Season One, Episode Five: “Truths”

December 7, 2017

This latest installment of the time-traveling trials of the men, women, and children of Winden is bookended by lengthy splitscreen montages. It’s the most effective, and stylistically bold, use of the technique I’ve seen since Fargo Season Two. And rather than showing us multiple points of view as characters move toward confrontation or through a suspense sequence, the splitscreens are used to compare, contrast, and highlight the emotional reactions of the characters to the romantic and familial trauma they’re experience. It’s like calling in Brian De Palma to cut an Ingmar Bergman film.

I reviewed the fifth episode of Dark for Decider, and this passage about its formal aspects is really just the tip of the iceberg. This is a very challenging and very rewarding show, and I’m proud of the writing I’m doing on it.

“Dark” thoughts, Season One, Episode Four: “Double Lives”

December 5, 2017

There’s power of a different sort in nearly everything the Dopplers’ daughter Franziska does in this episode. Like a teutonic Laura Palmer, she leads a double life — star student and ribbon-wielding rhythmic gymnast by day, big-money drug dealer by night. The latter truth is uncovered by Mikkel’s goonish older brother Magnus, who’s simultaneously angered, repulsed, and attracted to the mismatch between Franziska’s emotional exterior and interior. Of course, he finds her just as magnetic in her gymnastics uniform, while his anger at her sparks a sudden torrent of truth-telling about the state of her family. The next thing you know, the two frienemies are fucking while fully dressed in the school locker room. Again, this is powerful stuff for a supernatural Netflix show to play with: probing the point at which intense feelings of any kind grow so white-hot that they exceed the capacity of the designated area of the brain to process and wind up fueling sexual energy instead, and depicting sex as a way damaged people can address the things that are damaging them without doing so directly.

I wrote about Dark’s very strong fourth episode for Decider. The complex dynamics in the Doppler family — including their extremely awesome and funny deaf daughter Elisabeth — demonstrate how the show puts in the work where other supernatural shows just coast.

“Dark” thoughts, Season One, Episode Three: “Past and Present”

December 5, 2017

“Past and Present,” the aptly named third episode of Dark, continues its predecessors’ pattern of being hella reminiscent of a past genre work. In this case it’s Richard Kelly’s melancholic cult-classic science fiction film Donnie Darko, which the episode echoes in ways that feel more like homage than out-and-out swipes.

Yes, Mikkel has indeed been transported back in time through some kind of “crossing” (to borrow the term from Jonas’s late father’s map) in the caverns outside of town. After his unpleasant run-in with his parents and grandmother — the former are assholes, the latter is too distraught by her missing son Mads to do anything but grab the kid and beg him for information — he wanders to his school, only decades in the past. As he wanders around in a skeleton costume that looks like the one Donnie wore in the film except a few sizes smaller, the totally-’80s style of the town’s teens are paraded in front of the camera while a Tears for Fears song plays on the soundtrack (“Shout” here, “Head Over Heels” in the movie).

Would it be nice if shows stopped doing this kind of thing? Even good shows? Yes. The Punisher, for example, was strong enough on its own for its in-your-face (ahem) borrowing from the climax of 28 Days Later… in its penultimate episode to feel completely unnecessary, though perhaps not ethically or creatively ruinous. And Dark has enough going on to render this hat tip superfluous. Admittedly, though, the line between homage and theft is a blurry one, particularly in horror, a genre more in conversation with itself than any other. I could rattle off scene-by-scene comparisons in, say, Get Out or The Descent with the movies their filmmakers clearly know and love. But those two films are animated by a spirit that is unmistakably their own. Dark isn’t at that level, but it’s operating with enough sophistication to provide context for nods to its antecedents, instead of simply constructing itself out of nothing but such nods.

I reviewed the third episode of Dark for Decider.

“Dark” thoughts, Season One, Episode One: “Lies”

December 5, 2017

Two episodes in and Dark is reminding me of a different touchstone in recent zeitgeisty supernaturally-tinged murder mysteries: True Detective Season One. Co-creator/director Baran bo Odar’s style is not far removed at all from TD‘s original helmer Cary Joji Fukunaga: wide, stately shots of the imposing yet beautiful natural landscape, deep greens, lots of tree imagery, the occasional crazy conspiracy wall. Throw in references to time as circular — “yesterday, today, and tomorrow are not consecutive; they are connected in a neverending circle,” as the pilot’s cold open put it — and you half expect local cop Ulrich Nielsen to call Rust Cohle in for a consult. None of this is blow-you-away amazing, or all that original (duh), but Dark creates a vibe for itself and deploys it effectively, and doesn’t require you to think back fondly on stuff you loved as a kid to do so, unlike certain other shows we could mention.

I reviewed episode two of Dark for Decider.

“Godless” thoughts, Season One, Episode Seven: “Homecoming”

December 5, 2017

The massacre at Blackdom that follows is tougher to justify, or enjoy. For one thing, it’s unnecessary. Frank Griffin’s bona fides as an indiscriminate killer of men, women, and children in any place that crosses him were established in the town of Creede way back before the opening credits rolled on the series premiere, and his likely intention to do it all over again in La Belle was the dramatic underpinning of the entire season that followed. Having him and his gang slaughter the town right next door mere minutes before the final face-off feels like gilding the lily, in blood.

Worse still, it undercuts the stakes of the showdown in La Belle, in an ethically dubious fashion. For seven episodes we’ve wondered if this town of outcasts from an oppressed class of people would be able to stave off an atrocity. What narrative or thematic purpose does answering that question solve if we’ve just seen another town of outcasts from an oppressed class of people succumb to that very atrocity in the same episode? The people of Blackdom may not be our main characters, but it’s not like that’s their fault. Only the nature of the story and script renders their lives more disposable than those of their counterparts in La Belle. Our interest in the showdown at the Hotel La Belle is predicated on whether or not the worst will happen—but as Alice’s horrified glimpse of scores of corpses in Blackdom earlier that day makes clear, the worst already has happened. What difference does it make if if it happened an hour’s ride away?

I reviewed the pointless-seeming finale of Godless for the A.V. Club. It was interesting to find most of the commenters (who are basically unavoidable when you use AVC’s back end to file your reviews) agreeing with me as the season progressed.

“Dark” thoughts, Season One, Episode One: “Secrets”

December 1, 2017

The opening credits for DarkNetflix’s first German-language original series, are simple but striking. Eschewing the “here is a significant object and/or an image of one of the cast members’ faces, slowly moving through a black field, with some cool coloring” technique beloved by so many shows for the past few years, the title sequence reflects moments seemingly plucked from throughout the series back on one another, symmetrically — the mirror effect from “When Doves Cry,” basically. Like a kaleidoscopic rorschach test, it renders the familiar suddenly weird and angular as if it’s being sucked into or ejected from an invisible portal in the middle of the frame, simply by repeating what you see and smushing it back in on itself.

If that ain’t the Netflix model, I don’t know what is.

Created by Jantje Friese and Baran bo Odar and directed in its entirety by bo Odar, Dark sure feels familiar. “Secrets,” its series premiere, is set in a small town surrounded by a forest that borders a nuclear power plant, where teenagers and their adult parents are forced to come to grips with the unexplained disappearance of a young boy. And based on a brief glimpse we’re given of the plight of a previously vanished teenager, it seems he might be subjected to strange psychological and physical experiments designed by a mysterious lone captor. In other words, if you watched Stranger Things and The OA, this is Recommended for You: The Series.

Yet Dark does not feel nearly as derivative as it could, or perhaps even should. For starters, it’s dealing with much more emotionally fraught material than Stranger Things, the show to which it will no doubt most frequently be compared. (Including by me, apparently.)

I’m covering Dark for Decider, starting with my review of the series premiere. Could be a pip, could be a pip.

“Godless” thoughts, Season One, Episode Five: “Shot the Head Off a Snake”

December 1, 2017

Another series of flashbacks reveal how Roy came to be the ward of Frank Griffin in the first place, but this too is mishandled. The episode’s cold open shows Frank and a young-adult Roy getting caught red-handed with stolen horses, nearly getting hanged before their associate Gatz Brown comes to the rescue. Frank tells Roy to finish off the angry ranch owner whom Gatz had merely wounded; this is his first kill, and Frank rewards him with a gun, indicating that both his skill with the weapon and his willingness to use it are relatively recent developments. There’s something vampiric about this induction into Frank’s bloody brotherhood.

The next flashback segment jumps us way back in time to Roy’s childhood, showing the day he departed from Sister Lucy Cole’s orphanage when it became clear his brother Jim was never coming back from his job hunt in California. From there, we follow him to a town where he steals a horse that winds up belonging to Frank, who takes a shine to the kid as a fellow orphan. When Roy first meets the rest of the Griffin gang, then a much smaller bunch, Frank describes them as one big happy family. “These are your brothers,” he tells Roy. “And I am to be your pappy. A good one, too. I won’t mistreat you, I won’t beat you, and I won’t ever lie to you, ever.” As best we can tell by how they’re shown interacting during the horse-theft episode several years later, Frank kept these promises.

But that’s the problem: We already know how things go. The first-kill incident is the logical conclusion of Roy’s origin story, but the show places it first, removing any sense of mystery or anticipation about how this innocent but resilient little kid became a crack-shot lieutenant of one of the West’s most notorious outlaws. You might be curious about what came before, but you’re not worried or intrigued or frightened or moved or anything more substantial. Once again, a ton of time is dedicated to building up to a foregone conclusion.

I reviewed episode five of Godless for the A.V. Club. It’s fascinating to see all the ways this show manages to be not-great but also not bad at the same time.

“Godless” thoughts, Season One, Episode Four: “Fathers & Sons”

December 1, 2017

[Circumstances bring] Sheriff Bill within striking distance of Frank for the first time…which the bandit sees coming, presumably thanks to his own scouts and trackers, and responds to by lying in wait. A tense conversation ensues, in which Bill first dissembles about his business, then comes clean when it’s clear the jig is up. Bill talks a tough enough game, but Frank nevertheless senses that something’s wrong with him on a spirit-deep level. Echoing the Native American characters who’ve told the Sheriff he’s lost his shadow, Griffin says “the life has gone out of your face,” and speculates that the true goal of his hunt is to get himself gunned down at Griffin’s hands (er, hand), so he “can die attached to a purpose.” Bill denies this, and Frank seems disinclined to offer him that dark deliverance no matter what.

So Frank and company ride on, sparing Sheriff Bill’s life…because it’s the dramatic thing to do, I guess. Honestly, I can’t think of any other reason a mass murderer who presided over the execution of an even more senior lawman several days prior would let a cop who’d just announced plans to kill him a chance to continue his quest. You could say it’s Frank’s vision of his own death that does it, giving him confidence that no one with a badge will be the one to do him in. Or you could say it has to do with his screwy moral code: tending to smallpox victims and quoting the Bible one moment, massacring entire towns and proclaiming the supremacy of “the god of the locust” the next. But both of these factors are just different ways of saying the same thing. Frank spares Bill, because he’s written that way, because it makes him a cooler villain and gives the story more (horse-)operatic stakes.

There’s nothing wrong with that, per se. Most of the time, even the best genre works come with a side of corn. But nothing we’ve seen on the show so far has added anything of real sustenance to this particular meal. Godless boasts solid, if not spectacular, performances from a suite of likeable TV veterans — Merritt Wever, Scoot McNairy, Michelle Dockery, Jeff Daniels, and Thomas Brodie-Sangster most notably. They speak clever but not particularly quotable dialogue. Their story is overburdened with B-plots, but it’s still heading toward an inevitable, and I’m guessing entertaining, climactic confrontation. This happens against a backdrop of beautiful Western scenery, shot with an eye for light that’s most welcome when contrasted with your typical murky green prestige-TV palette. All of that is what keeps the show from ever sinking below that little B- grade you see above. But it has yet to reveal any signs that it will get substantially higher, either. Frank’s comic-book behavior and all the show’s other tics and flaws would be easier to accept if it had.

I reviewed episode four of Godless, the very definition of a B- show, for the A.V. Club. 

“Godless” thoughts, Season One, Episode Three: “Wisdom of the Horse”

December 1, 2017

From its title (“Wisdom of the Horse”) on down, Godless’s third episode is full of horse shit. I don’t mean that it’s bad! I just mean that in terms of story and screentime, it is simply consumed by shit about horses. Roping horses. Breaking horses. Riding horses. Falling off horses. Getting back on horses. Searching for missing horses. Worrying about abused horses. If you’re a Dothraki screamer or a Rider of Rohan, then boy oh boy have I got the episode for you. The rest of us? I dunno, pardner.

I reviewed episode three of Godless for the A.V. Club. I want to apologize to all the horse-loving members of ASoIaF/GoT fandom in advance. Read it and you’ll see where I’m coming from no matter how much of an equestrian you are, I promise!

“Godless” thoughts, Season One, Episode Two: “The Ladies of La Belle”

December 1, 2017

Truth be told, you could maybe get a good show out of Frank’s hunt for Roy, and Marshall Cooke’s hunt for Frank, and maybe Alice’s decision to take in and fight for Roy when push comes to shove. Or you could get a good show out of Bill, a sheriff who’s slowly going blind, and Maggie, his queer widowed sister, and the complicated family dynamic they have, with either a mass murderer or an unscrupulous mining company providing an antagonistic spark. Or you could get a good show out of a town full of widows coming together to fend off either the killer or the capitalists, and requiring the talents of women they’ve looked down on because of the race or gender of the people they love, i.e. Alice and Maggie respectively.

At this point, however, I’m not convinced you can get a good show out of all of those things at once. Despite the hour-plus running time of both episodes so far, it still feels like Godless is in a necessarily big hurry to whip from one storyline to the next, which in turn necessitates a shallow reading of each set of characters. The dinner scene in which Merritt Wever’s Maggie tries and fails to singlehandedly prevent her town from getting swindled by a sweet-talking mining company is a highlight of the hour, but I’d happily have followed her for an entire episode to see how she’s maintained a leadership position among her fellow widows despite her unorthodox, masculine style of dress and her relationship with local schoolteacher Callie Dunne, I also could have stood to spend more time in the company of Alice, and to learn the story of her lethal land feud from something other than an expository infodump between young hotshot deputy Whitey Winn and the incarcerated Roy Goode. I could have settled for either a look at life in a frontier town without men surrounded by a hostile world full of them — the kind of story promised by the episode’s title, “The Ladies of La Belle” — or a more straightforward Western thriller centered on the Frank/Roy business. As it stands, I got just enough of each to tantalize, and not enough of any to satisfy.

I reviewed episode two of Godless for the A.V. Club. Looking over this piece, I’m pretty pleased with all the different things I was able to say about the show, good and bad. Please do give it a full read.

“Mr. Robot” thoughts, Season Three, Episode Eight: “eps3.7_dont-delete-me.ko”

December 1, 2017

mr-robot-s3-ep8-04

Mr. Robot may have bobbled the immediate aftermath of Stage 2, the mass murder at the center of its Season 3 storyline. But in its own melancholy way, the follow-up feels like the show has found itself again.

Entitled “eps3.7_dont-delete-me.ko,” this week’s episode avoids the pitfalls of the previous installment. Last week, most of the characters were too blasé about the terrorist attacks they’d either unwittingly helped unleash or failed to prevent, with the exception of Angela, whose regression into childlike magical thinking felt cartoonishly severe. This time around, characters do what people really do, a couple of weeks into the new normal following a catastrophe. They drift apart, or drift together; they settle on self-destruction, or rebound to self-improvement; they watch movies they love, from The Careful Massacre of the Bourgeoisie to Back to the Future. They act like we’ve all been acting for a year now.

I reviewed this week’s episode of Mr. Robot for Decider. Man, look at that fuckin’ shot.

“The Punisher” thoughts, Season One, Episode Thirteen: “Memento Mori”

December 1, 2017

There’s really only one thing I want to talk about where the season finale of The Punisher is concerned:

“You know, long as I was at war, y’know, I never thought about, uh, what would happen next, what I was gonna do when it was over. But I guess that’s it, y’know. I think that might be the hardest part: the silence. The silence when the gunfire ends. How do…how do you live in that? I guess…I guess that’s what you’re trying to figure out, huh? It’s what you guys are doing. You’re working on it. I respect that. I just…Um, if you’re gonna look at yourself, really look in the mirror, you gotta…yeah, you gotta admit who you are. But not just to yourself — you gotta admit it to everybody else. First time, as long as I can remember, I don’t have a war to fight. And I guess if I’m gonna be honest, I just…I’m scared.”

These remarkable words end the onscreen saga of Marvel’s most brutal antihero, a cold-blooded killer of Bad Guys whose logo has become literally emblematic of men, many of whom have been trained and authorized by the state to pursue a career in fully sanctioned bad-guy killing at home or abroad. They cut that whole dark myth off at the knees. More than that, they stand as a rebuke to the whole superhero genre, which as inspiring and uplifting as it can be nevertheless boils down to the idea that extrajudicial violence can put the world to rights. Here’s a superhero who wields that violence more effectively and remorselessly than any other — indeed, his proficiency in that violence is his sole superpower. And the message his show wants to leave us with about him? The note it chooses to end on? He kills because he’s scared not to.

I really can’t say enough about how stunning the final words of “Memento Mori,” The Punisher’s Season One finale, were to me when they slipped out of Frank’s mouth just before that last cut to black. There’s not a single live-action superhero adaptation I can think of that comes anywhere near that level of self-critique, or has anything approaching its courage to question the very wish-fulfillment elements its audience has come to see.

[…]

But that’s the story of The Punisher’s Netflix incarnation: A series that’s much better than it needed to be, could have been, and quite possibly even should have been when you consider the character’s pop culture profile. Its thoughtful approach to potentially fascistic subject matter, its suite of quietly powerful performances, its undercurrent of sexual and romantic tension, and its willingness to hold its protagonist’s feet of clay to the fire make it one of the best superhero adaptations of all time.

I reviewed the season finale of The Punisher for Decider. What a pleasant surprise this show turned out to be.