Well here we go now, a show that we have both enjoyed in very different ways. One of us gained what we would term a normal level of enjoyment (although also some other strong feelings about the general MCU canon - ‘it’s bullshit’ mutters Becks), whilst the other has gone completely feral and thought of little else since watching the show the first time. So lots to get through, we’ll try to keep it in our pants. By which I mean brief.
New World Order
Becks: The first time I watched this episode I was sort of disappointed. This time, I was more... upset.
Cass: *snorts* So yet to crack a positive emotion.
Becks: Obviously I cheered up when I saw Emmy-nominated actor Don Cheadle. Who’s spirits wouldn’t be lifted by such a short, yet fine, performance?
*Both of us look to camera meaningfully*
Becks: I think the thing is, and where I think we differ, is I find it difficult to understand why Sam gave up the shield. I agree with Bucky that he should have kept it. I do understand the reasons he didn’t keep it, and obviously a lot of that is to do with being a black man in America which is something that I’m not, so I can empathise but I also can’t fully grasp that struggle. But in my head Steve Rogers told him to do something and also Bucky did, and I think you should just do what they tell you!
Cass: *girly voice* Yes, Sergeant Barnes
Becks: And also him not taking it has led to John Walker. I think he should apologise for that. Because clearly Sam is a good man, and that’s all that Captain America needs to be.
Cass: Okay. So I have a different take, because although I am also neither black nor American I think I follow how Sam’s experience of being both those things would lead him to believe that taking the mantle isn’t the right thing for him to do. And let’s face it, I’m also far less inclined to do what Steve Rogers says blindly. I could get behind your Bucky argument more, if Bucky wasn’t such a hot mess at this stage who can barely tell himself what to do, let alone anyone else.
Also, Sam hasn’t had any opportunity to ease himself into the idea. It’s like being given a job that you didn’t apply for, by someone who has fucked off without leaving any guidance on how to do it. And likely he’s going to be expected to lead a team, and the world is going to scrutinise him whilst he does it, which means every inevitable mistake will be blown out of proportion, and then he’ll have to deal with that. I would hate that. So I get his doubt and even his refusal.
We then agree on something, which is that the skydiving sequence looks very nice.
Becks: It gave me Star Wars vibes. It reminds me of when Din takes out his new ship in Boba Fett, so that was nice for me.
Cass: I also like it, because Sam is so badass and it looks very cool.
Becks: Also, I think you’d shit yourself if you were flying along and a man’s face popped up at the window.
Cass: I definitely would, because it’s a fear of mine to see a face appear at any window. Also it’s a good argument as to why you shouldn’t use firearms on a plane.
Becks: Imagine if you got rescued by Sam? I reckon you’d cry. *pause whilst she imagines it, cackles* YOU WOULD!
Cass: I’d hold on tight and be sure he knew how grateful I was when we landed. Whether I’m crying at the time is immaterial.
Becks: TORRES! I like him, he’s a cutey, and I reckon he’ll be the new Falcon.
Cass: He gives me strong puppy vibes. Very enthusiastic. I like him!
Becks: I didn’t like him going off on his own and getting beaten up though.
Cass: Did you like when he sent Sam a little sad selfie of his bashed up face? All these young additions will get the Avengers what’s app group up and running I reckon.
Becks: Bucky just in there like ‘stop messaging me’.
Cass: Bucky definitely sending bad memes that everyone else saw years ago. Speaking of Bucky... anything to add?
Becks: Well I think I’ve written I’d wank him off at some point during my notes so...
Cass: So you’re saying this review is now rated NC17, yeah? Good to know. Proceed.
Becks: I think the problem is that I consider Steve and Bucky to be besties, and the way that the MCU finished that storyline means that I haven’t had any closure, and it makes me very sad and I think it’s why I don’t enjoy the show as much as you and I don’t know where I’m going with this but I just think WHAT IF YOU LEFT ME AND GOT ANOTHER BEST FRIEND? WHAT WOULD I DO?!
Cass: Right. Lots to unpack.
Becks: THAT’S WHAT SAM WOULD TRY AND DO AND I DON’T WANT TO TALK ABOUT IT!
Cass: Ahh, now we’re getting somewhere! Lie back down. Tell me about your mother.
Anyway. Anything you want to say about Bucky in terms of his narrative arc in this show and particularly this episode?
Becks: It’s strange to hear him talk so much. Short hair looks nice. And also it’s sad. He’s torturing himself, and I think he’s very angry at everyone, but mainly at himself for things beyond his control. And he’s a man out of time now isn’t he? Which must be very difficult.
Cass: Yes, I think it’s very sad to see quite how isolated he is. And although he has made a friendship with Yuri, it’s sad because it’s also under false pretences so part of him must feel like it’s not real.
Becks: And he’s ignoring Sam, who’s clearly trying to reach out BECAUSE HE’S SUCH A GOOD PERSON *seethes*
Cass: Jesus. Who hurt you? I’d love to know. Anyway, it’s nice that he’s got some lines in this, because I don’t think it was clear in his previous outings quite how incredibly sassy the man is.
Becks: I love his sass! It really does things for me.
Cass: I like his little fake smiles. And also that therapist deserves to be sassed, I reckon. I’ve never been to therapy, but I’m not sure she’s totally up to code. Anyway. The we go to Louisiana, which may I say looks so pretty.
Becks: I like Sarah. She’s a strong female character so that’s nice. The only issue with this show for me is that there are female characters, but none of them talk to each other. I can’t tell if she’s older or younger than Sam?
Cass: I guess it’s a mess anyway because of the blip. I think it’s lovely to see that Sam has some family though. As a character he was always sort of isolated before, so it’s nice to get a real sense of family and community around him. The time in Delacroix always feels very soft and warm.
Becks: Yeah, you can see how he is such a good person, because he’s clearly had a good family and values and support growing up.
Cass: The bit at the bank makes me rage though. Although I do enjoy how Sarah just absolutely cannot when Sam does the wings.
Becks: Cos to her he’s not The Falcon is he? He’s just her brother, and I think it’s very well done.
At this point, we realised we had spent an hour on the first episode alone, and decided to move things along.
Cass: Oh Shit hang on we haven’t even mentioned John Walker!
Becks: I have! I hate him. I hate the whole Russell family in the MCU. I think the shock factor of the introduction is very good though. I wasn’t expecting it, and it was awful.
Cass: I felt such absolute rage. And just seeing the disbelief but also the resignation in Sam’s eyes. Like ‘of course this, I was stupid to think this wouldn’t happen’ on his face is so clear even without words.
Becks: And it just got more awful. Awfuler? More awful? It was shit! And having to watch Bucky’s little face? Despicable.
The Star Spangled Man
Cass: Although I enjoy the first episode, I think this one is where the show really comes into it’s own, because I think we can both agree that it’s really good when Sam and Bucky are actually on screen together.
Becks: It’s my favourite episode. I like Bucky hijacking Sam who is just trying to do his job. I like the Androids, Aliens and Wizards bit. I like how disgusted Bucky is by that, and how Sam is so confused by how he knows Gandalf.
Cass: They do have an absolute nerd argument don’t they? God love them. Bucky ‘I read it when it first came out’ Barnes.
Becks: I like how grumpy he is with Redwing. I like it when he jumps out of the plane. I like the staring. I like how Sam is winding Bucky up like ‘that little girl beat your ass’ and then Bucky growls at him. It does things to me.
Cass: You know what does things to me? When Sam rescues him and they go rolling through that flower meadow. The first time I watched this episode, you had already seen it and you text me to say was I Team Sam or Team Bucky and they were rolling through the flowers at the time and so I thought it would be a funny joke to say ‘maybe I’m Team Sam/Bucky’ but by the end of the episode I was like ‘oh shit’ and no-one was laughing anymore.
Becks: I think I knew it wasn’t going to be a joke.
Cass: Yeah. Locked in OTP. I try to keep a lid on it...
Becks: You didn’t try that hard! Anyway. I like the walking down the path and how they get made to get in the car like Elle Woods. And then I like how disgusted he is at Battlestar.
Cass: STOP THE CAR! Yeah he’s right and he should say it. Also, fair play to give Walker a chance but everything out of his mouth is more disgusting than the last, so I’m glad they just agree he’s a dick and antagonise him for the rest of the show.
Becks: It also cements my hatred for Walker. He’s talking to them like he thinks he is Steve, rather than his replacement. And I hate that.
Cass: Yeah he just has no compassion or self awareness it feels like. He seems to have a very high opinion of himself, so far unfounded from what I can tell. The other thing we get in this episode is more of an introduction to the Flag Smashers. I think this is where we find out they’re all Super Soldiers. Which, scientists of the MCU, stop trying to recreate that serum! It never goes well!
Becks: You can really understand where they are coming from.
Cass: Maybe not the way that they are going about it, but the reason behind it is relatable.
Becks: And I think whereas we know we’re definitely against John Walker, with Karli it feels different. Because it’s like, you’re not wrong. Which is an interesting way to do things.
Cass: Yeah I think off the back of that that it’s a good way of setting Sam up as a character with a lot of compassion. Like he says, he doesn’t disagree with Karli’s fight, just the way she’s fighting it. He sees how young she is, and refuses to call her a criminal.
Becks: And I think throughout the series, although she believes in her cause you can see her moments of doubt where things have gone too far. I think that’s a nice relatable thing to have.
Cass: And then of course, speaking of Super Soliders, we have the Isiah Bradley storyline. Which for me and for Sam I think, really just hammers home some of his doubts about taking the Shield and why he might not be the right person for it.
Becks: Yeah he was fucked over wasn’t he, in a really horrible way, and he’s understandably very angry. And I think it effects Sam very negatively at first, and puts even more doubts in his mind.
Cass: And then the cops turn up, and are racist. So another excellent days work for them. Sam’s levels of patience through his anger and frustration are incredible and it makes me sad that they are necessary.
Becks: Oh I forgot about the staring bit! Where they sit very close to each other and stare into each others eyes. We’ve never done that.
Cass: Do you want to? I don’t know if we should? If my reaction to this is anything to go by, it might unleash something in me...
Becks: It’s just really good. The whole episode has so much good stuff in it, it makes me want to say it’s the best thing ever made. I won’t, but it makes me want to.
Cass: I think it’s amazing how many characters are in this show that you do like. Not necessarily that they are good people. But they’re interesting and you enjoy watching them. Which brings us to Zemo.
Becks: I’d like to start with the hypothetical conversation. Which is just brilliant.
Cass: It is brilliant! I love how the instant Bucky mentions hypotheticals, Sam is like ‘what did you do?’ I like how Bucky keeps trying to look innocent and it makes him look more guilty.
Becks: And then the prison break. Because I love a prison break, and it is undoubtedly a very good one. He’s another person who’s motivation you can understand. Also, he does his villainy so well. It’s a lot of fun.
Cass: Yeah, he definitely dances on the line of it. Cos you get his reasons and you sort of feel for him, but also he’s a lunatic and can’t really be allowed to run around destroying people, super soldiers or not. It’s not nice watching him try to wind Bucky up - like Bucky is a means to an end for him as much as the other way around.
Becks: But he does create a nice unified focus for the boys. So that’s good.
Cass: I think as well that it’s a good way of Sam being able to show some trust in Bucky. Which I actually think is important for Bucky at this stage. Like, Sam could have totally flipped. But he listens to Bucky’s reasons and then he’s like ‘alright, since you broke him out let’s try it your way.’
Becks: I fucking love Madripoor. I think we’d have a lovely time in Madripoor.
Cass: What would we do?
Becks: PARRRRRRRTAAAAAAAY! I don’t want to go to an art gallery though.
Cass: What about an illegal art gallery?
Becks: I suppose. But only if I can judge it.
Cass: What’s the criteria?
Becks: Does it look like what it’s meant to look like? No? THEN BURN IT!
I didn’t like it when Zemo made Bucky pretend to be The Winter Soldier. Because that would have been awful for him.
Cass: No it was really sad. Although he was better at acting than Sam, who was a disaster.
Becks: Yeah Sam was terrible undercover, I remember us discussing that at the time.
Cass: He downed that snake shot though which I don’t think I could have done.
Becks: Werp! Why are they serving those shots? No one wants that in bars. What were the nice ones with cream that we used to have? Blow jobs! He should have just ordered a blow job.
Cass: Sorry, did you just say Sam Wilson should go into a bar and get a blow job?
Cass: ‘Oh Sam Wilson and The Winter Soldier should go into a bar and get blow jobs.’
Becks: (still wheezing) That’s not what I meant, you’re twisting it!
Cass: What’s that? You said Sam Wilson and Bucky Barnes should just give each other blow jobs?
Becks: I think that’s what you said!
Cass: That is what I said. Why haven’t they?! I suppose because they’re professionals and keeping their mind on the job. Speaking of which, however bad at acting he may be, Sam is a fucking PROFESSIONAL and I don’t believe that he would leave his phone on.
Becks: Yeah I think we both thought that was bad. Like yes they need to move the plot along, but do it better.
Cass: As an aside, we’ve all seen how bad Bucky is at lying so I don’t reckon he’d be any better undercover than Sam if he was playing anyone other than The Winter Solider. So I’d just like to see a show where they have to go undercover, and they’re both fucking terrible.
Becks: Like 21 Jump Street?
Becks: And Zemo is no help, he just wants chaos. Moving on to Sharon, it’s good to see the consequences of their earlier actions. Sharon did get fucked over, and now they’re going to suffer. It’s good to see a woman entering her villain era. Also, as a fan of the hoody I enjoy her fashion choices.
Cass: Yeah I like Sharon more in this. She feels like more of a character, and again she’s been through some shit so it’s understandable how she has arrived here. Actually, is there anyone in this show that the US Government hasn’t screwed over? Something to think about.
Becks: We need to mention the serum, because we need to mention Bucky pressing his gun up against that mans face, and how it made us feel.
Cass: And how did it make us feel?
Becks: *wheezes* Not as financially troubled as when he does it in The 355, but it was borderline. Anyway you all know our feelings on science. Stop doing it! Also, I didn’t like it when he suggested improvements to the serum as if Bucky and Steve aren’t perfect.
Cass: You have so much rage, don’t you? I like that Zemo made a special pit stop to pick up a murder mask and a sports car whilst Sam and Bucky were squabbling in a gun fight again. And I’m sure you vibe with Bucky’s long game car seat pettiness, Becks.
We’d like to end our commentary on this episode with a general statement about how much we hate Walker. It’s nothing really specific, we just hate everything about him, and we think you should too.
The Whole World Is Watching
After a short and necessary break, in which Becks tries to dye her hair green but ends up with more of an Incredible Hulk cosplay situation and Cass goes to the shops, we reconvene. Becks is driving, it’s all very West Wing. If they drove.
Cass: Alright, this one starts with a flashback to beautiful Bucky in beautiful Wakanda.
Becks: And you said mean things...
Cass: What did I say?
Becks: I said that if it were me going through that I would have liked you to be there for me, and so I think Bucky would have wanted Steve there. And you said ‘well he wasn’t was he?’ and I didn’t much care for your tone.
Cass. Well. I mean. He wasn’t was he?
Becks: See! Laughing at me. Laughing at my misery, you’re a horrible person OH MY GOD THERE’S A DOG LOOKING AT ME FROM THE CAR IN FRONT!
Cass: To get us back on safe ground, let’s discuss Ayo.
Becks: She’s pissed and I don’t blame her. I wouldn’t like to have wronged her, White Wolf was playing with fire there. Like, it’s such a man thing to do, plough ahead and not think of others feelings.
Cass: Yeah, I don’t blame her for being pissed either. In many respects, she’s incredibly reasonable for that sort of situation. But she obviously has a good friendship with Bucky and gives him some more time to get what he needs from Zemo despite it all, so that’s nice.
Becks: I think I’d like to go on holiday in Riga. It looks lovely.
Cass: The flat is very nice. I enjoy how Sam can’t cope with any more hypotheticals when Zemo starts being vague about what happened. ‘You straight up shot the man!’ The audacity.
My God Becks, your notes are very thirsty in this episode.
‘I’d like to see Bucky’s leverage.’
‘I’d like Bucky to keep an eye on me’
‘Sneaky Zemo, makes him hot.’
What’s going on?
Becks: I have a lot of feelings, and I was clearly feeling a certain way.
Cass: I enjoy Zemo’s Snow Queen vibes, getting info with Turkish Delight. I don’t enjoy John Walker turning up once again and getting all up in business that Sam was clearly handling. Because Sam is really, really good at talking reasonably with Karli and trying to help her to see another point of view. And it may well have worked if Walker and his big old inferiority complex hadn’t busted in and ruined it.
Becks: Sam is so good. So rational and caring. I very badly wish that Zemo had managed to break all of the vials. And it just goes to show, doesn’t it, that John Walker is not a good person. He’s just very untrustworthy. An overall bad egg.
Cass: Yeah, he’s exactly the type of person that Zemo thinks shouldn’t have the serum. And he’s proven right.
Becks: Captain America with a gun just doesn’t sit right. The fight in the flat is quite good, isn’t it? Love to see John Walker get his arse handed to him.
Cass: *snorts* ‘Looking strong John!’ really speaks to me. It’s just good to see the Dora Milaje absolutely not standing for any of his bullshit.
Becks: It’s really quite poignant in the end, because obviously he’s a bad loser but also the whole ‘they weren’t even super soldiers’ is just building towards him making really bad decisions. Although when Bucky’s arm comes off it’s a bit sad isn’t it?
Cass: It’s a bit of a ‘know your place, White Wolf’ moment isn’t it? Although it does give Sebastian room to do two things we find quite effecting. 1) Big sad eyes and 2) What we in the know refer to as The Arm Thing.
Becks: *giggles* Yes. The Arm Thing.
Cass: Although I agree to some extent with Karli’s viewpoint, I don’t like her threatening Sam’s family to get him to meet her. Although I do think it’s a big turning point in their relationship when Bucky refuses to let Sam go alone.
Becks: I think it’s quite shocking and unexpected when Lemar gets killed, and then of course leads to John Walker going full villain, which is actually one of the most violent parts of the MCU. The blood on the shield is a really shocking thing to see.
Cass: Yeah I agree. It’s an incredibly explicit, visceral image for Marvel. Because actually, although there are lots of fight scenes you don’t usually see blood like that. And covering a symbol such as the shield is, it really hammers home that John shouldn’t have it.
Becks: This is where they agree that they need to get the shield back. The fight here is quite cathartic for Bucky I think. He’s legitimately able to take out a lot of his anger on Walker. And then he throws the blood-stained shield at Sam, which has a lot of deeper meaning to it from his view point as well.
Cass: There’s something quite sad about Sam trying to wipe the blood off the shield. I think this is the point where Sam starts to think about his reasons for not keeping the shield differently. He’s trying to wipe away the blood, and he starts to recognise that he can never change the past, but maybe he can make things better going forwards.
Incidentally, another thing happens in this scene that we find memorable for more pleasant reasons. We call it our Thank You Female Directors moment, and Becks will insert a gif below for your viewing pleasure.
Cass: So Walker gets court martialled, but sadly we’ve not seen the last of him because this shady ass Valentina woman who I do not like or trust one bit turns up and starts talking in riddles.
Becks: I don’t like her. I feel nothing good is going to come of her. She’s kind of building her own anti-Avengers, and I don’t want owt to do with her.
Cass: Then Bucky goes and captures Zemo. Which I imagine he would have done quicker but he had to stop off and get himself a nice new coat.
Becks: Aw, poor Zemo. It’s sad isn’t it? But it’s sad when he’s in The Raft too. It’s just a horrible place, even in terms of prisons. Maybe they’ll just carry on breaking him out of various prisons around the world for little jaunts? Until Ayo turns up again, furious.
Cass: I love how Bucky is just like ‘me and my sad eyes are going to push my luck with Ayo just a little bit further and fix up a nice new suit for Sam.’ Which I hope he designed in his spare time.
Becks: Do you like this episode more than episode two?
Cass: Yes. Truth is my favourite episode, and that’s because my truth is that I find the whole bit in Louisiana so unbelievably comforting. And unexpectedly so at first. There is just not one thing I don’t love about this bit. It makes me feel so soft.
Becks: *in a slightly brittle tone* I’m glad that it makes you happy. No, I really am glad that you’re happy.
Cass: It’s just got a lot. Bucky and Sam communicating with each other outside of a mission. Bucky wanting to help but being awkward about it, but also flexing at every opportunity. And flirting with everyone in sight. Also I think this is the first time we see a real smile from him all series. I would watch a whole episode of them just doing DIY together. Also, it is my feeling that the boat is a metaphor. It only starts working after they work on it together, and I think that’s beautiful.
Becks: Ugh, imagine him looking at you like he looks at Sarah. I’d die. I’d also die if he looked at me like he did at John and Lemar in the car, and I’d definitely die if he did the tongue thing like he did at Sam in the interrogation room.
Cass: To paraphrase a wise man; those steel blue eyes are killing all the ladies. This next bit with the shield frisbee is truly one of my favourite bits.
Becks: Yeah I think it’s really good, the whole bit with Bucky explaining how he feels, how he still thinks Sam should take the shield but how he understands his point of view more now.
Cass: I love the whole thing. I love that Bucky explains that they were wrong in how they went about things with handing the shield to Sam, and I love that he verbally apologises for it. I think that’s actually quite a rare thing to hear, especially from two men. And then they have a very open and honest discussion about their feelings and perspectives. And it’s just really lovely.
Becks: Also. I think Bucky is wearing Steve’s dog tags and it gives me a lot of feelings.
Cass: Good feelings?
Cass: The whole ‘a couple of guys’ exchange gives me good feelings. As does Sam’s training montage. Lord have mercy, his arms and chest in that shirt, I’m weak.
Becks: *a woman who rewound this episode to look at Bucky’s thighs, without a pause* Pervert.
Cass: Can I just say, Sam’s face when he see’s that amazing vibranium suit and wings Bucky got him is a delight, but also how cute is it that Bucky got him a new Redwing even though he hates it, because he knows Sam loves it? MY HEART.
The end of this episode comes with a little end-credits scene of John Walker in a shed, muttering to himself, twitching away and making himself a shitty little tinfoil shield. Cass compared this to a comic-con outfit, Becks won’t allow that to stand because she thinks cosplayers would do a better job, and let’s be honest, she’s right. Oh how the mighty have fallen.
One World One People
Cass: Well, we’ve arrived. The final episode! And what a ride it has been. Who could have guessed that we would collectively start our notes for this episode by writing fuck off Frenchie when we saw Batroc.
Becks: I wrote ‘Oh Sergeant Barnes.’ It was nice that they acknowledged him by rank like that.
Cass: I have a lot of almost delirious feelings when Sam makes his entrance and says ‘I’m Captain America.’ Yes baby, you sure are!
Becks: Yeah well I said nice things too! You don’t see me banging on about it!
Cass: Well, what did you write?
Becks: Captain America.
Cass: *wheezes* All you wrote for the big entrance that the whole series has built up to was Captain America? Say what you see?
Becks: *hysterically* I was nice! I wrote that and put the smiley face with the hearts round it!
Cass: Why are you so angry about this?
Becks: I DON’T KNOW! I wanted those people to get blown up. I think the GRC are a set of cunts.
I suppose that’s the kind of attitude that Sam’s fighting against, isn’t it?
Cass: No comment. I do think it’s really nice that Bucky gets the chance to rescue those people though, whether you think they deserve it or not. For once, people are thanking him for saving them instead of being afraid of him, and I think he’s genuinely amazed by that. Until Karli tries to ruin it.
Becks: I really like when he catches that rebar. It’s like when Steve catches that spear in Edinburgh, and it’s really good. It’s good when he does that innit? *makes noises Cass doesn’t like to examine too closely*
Cass: I like how furious he is at having to break off giving full blown heart eyes at Sam saving that truck load of people to catch it. Man is fuming. Karli very much has an ‘oh shit’ moment. Also I note that we have both written, ‘he’s like an angel’ about Sam but somehow we have both conveyed a very different vibe with it. Mine certainly comes off a bit more breathless.
Becks: We also get Sharon’s big reveal, but I can’t remember if it is a big reveal or not. It feels like it was obvious, but I can’t remember if that was just with hindsight.
Cass: What I appreciate is how everyone set The Power Broker up to be a man this whole time. That was a good move. Although Batroc deserved to die for idiocy. Why would you find out someone is super powerful and your first thought is to blackmail them? Bizarre.
Becks: We haven’t really mentioned Karli that much.
Cass: You wrote ‘sorry isn’t good enough young lady lol’.
Becks: *sniggers* Yeah I did. *Sobers up* But it was sad that she died. And she said sorry because she’s always been in two minds, not so much about what she’s doing but how it’s all turning out.
Cass: It is sad, because up until that point you sort of thought Sam would be able to get through to her and save her. And when he doesn’t you really feel for him.
Becks: I wonder if Sam has got inklings about Sharon? After she killed Karli.
Cass: Yeah maybe. I think he feels guilty about what happened to her though, so that could cloud his judgement a bit. Interested to see where that storyline goes though. I know you’re looking forward to her as a future villain. Do you think she would link up with Valentina?
Becks: I think Valentina would want power over her, and I don’t think Sharon would like that. She might even take down Valentina. That could be her thing.
Cass: Call me biased, but I think Sam’s speech is brilliant. Ol’ Sergeant Heart Eyes over there appears to as well. He really gives the GRC members a dressing down, but does it calmly and politely. I love as well ‘The only power I have is that I believe we can do better’ is brilliant.
Becks: It is a very good speech and just proves that he’s going to be an amazing Captain America. Like we told him in the first place.
Cass: I think it’s really lovely at the end, how Sam gets Isiah’s part in history publicly recognised. It lets Isiah start to realise that Sam isn’t just talk. And that even though things have always been a certain way, it doesn’t mean that that’s how it has to continue and that’s what Sam is going to fight for.
Becks: Bucky sorting out his list and talking to Yuri wraps things up nicely for the series as well, even if it is very sad to see him have to confront that part of his past again.
Cass: At least we’re not sad for too long, because then it’s back to Louisiana for the Cookout scene, which takes up more room in my mind than a scene of that length rightfully should.
Becks: Very clean and tidy and the happiest ending we’ve had from Marvel... for some people.
Cass: That shot of them looking so beautiful and content in the Louisiana golden hour makes me feel incandescent with happiness. Like, they are glowing, and so am I.
Becks: I do like how they changed the title card to Captain America and The Winter Soldier as well. Although it’s a shame Bucky still gets to be The Winter Soldier.
Cass: Perhaps that White Wolf rebrand is on the way? Final thoughts?
Becks: Yeah it was alright.
Becks: I think I’m not over certain stuff that I feel strongly about, so it was difficult for me. It wasn’t my favourite Marvel show, but it definitely wasn’t my least favourite either. But I am looking forward to Sam as Cap, and the films that are to follow.
Cass: This was, against strong competition and totally unexpectedly, my favourite of the shows so far. Actually even one of my favourite Marvel things altogether. I can’t adequately explain it, it just all works for me and I love them both a whole lot.
And that’s all for this one folks. We have agreed that this has taken as long to write as Avengers Assemble, which we agreed we would never let happen again so whoops. Becks doesn’t feel as emotionally drained but thinks that may be because she didn’t write it. Cass does have a headache but the pure happiness she feels at the thought of the ending makes it all worthwhile. That said, she’s going to lay down and listen to some Curtis Harding whilst Becks does the gifs.
😈 do you think she'll notice - love becks
Cass: Is it Eternals next?
Becks: *noises of extreme pain* oh nooooooooooo. *Then hopefully* Wait, is it Spiderman?
It turns out it is Spiderman, and we are able to put off the sheer fucking pain and misery that we found to be The Eternals until another time. Cass has heard it’s better on the rewatch, although she will say that if that’s how you’re recommending a movie then something has gone wrong. Becks won’t change her mind anyway, she’s even more stubborn than Cass and Cass is a Taurus so that’s saying something. Anyway. Until next time, film fans!
Love Becks and Cass xoxo
Cass: I feel less tired now finally. I’ve livened right up and I think it’s speaking to you.
Becks: Thanks I think?
Cass: Yes, it’s good but I’m also worried you’re like a drug. At the risk of sounding like Edward Cullen, you’re like my own personal brand of heroin.
Becks: (absolutely in pain wheezing) Why can you quote Twilight? I didn’t know you could do that!
Cass: (wheezing) Neither did I until it was happening!
This hasnt technically been Shared Brain approved, but @cassandrafey is doing stuff with other people (I know, rude, yall can be my besties instead) so I'm charging ahead. Plus I used the stuff I know she likes. Because, spoiler alert she's a big fan of all of this.
I've just finished my notes on the series. They're very long. And I had to take myself off for a little walk at one point. So...
Anyway. We'll be back on Saturday to tell you all about it.
Neither of us had watched this film since seeing it at the pictures, where we fucking loved it, so what a treat this is to watch and enjoy again! Cass likes the opening on account of there’s a bit of mythology and sort of dance-fight sequence with a sexy villain, and Becks got to feel cultured because of the subtitles and that. We should mention that neither of us are really au-fait with martial arts films (other than one involving Chuck Norris and a lot of cats in The Colosseum), so we don’t know how the fight scenes stack up on balance, but we enjoyed it.
We also think that Shaun’s mum’s lovely dragon mask would have been very useful in the past two years.
This film feels like quite a paint by numbers Marvel film in many respects, in that nothing particularly unexpected happens and it follows the formula of a reluctant hero rising after some questionable parenting. However, it’s a really good one. It serves as a great introduction to characters that you want to see more of, the rings themselves are a pretty cool weapon, and it’s much more fun and light hearted than some of the other movies we’ve had recently (all that trauma!) so it was a welcome breather. Also, there’s a big dragon. And Morris! A blatant to Disney to sell more merch, and one that I’m sure we’ll all fall for.
Let’s start with the hero of this fine piece of cinema. Trevor Slattery! hahaha no we joke, that was just a little joke. We will get to Trevor in our own good time. No, of course we mean to start with Shang-Chi himself aka Shaun. Which, Katy raises a good question, if you could pick any name to go into hiding with, would you prefer one similar to your name or totally different?
Becks: A man called me Becky the other day and I hated it. So I think I would prefer something totally different rather than a wrong version of my own name.
Cass: I just worry I wouldn’t answer quick enough to a completely different name and give the game away. My on the run self will probably have to be call Cathy. My normal self is called that a lot anyway, usually in Starbucks.
Becks, raging: This happens often when I try to call you hands-free in the car and I’m always like, ‘I didn’t say it with a lisp you DICKHEAD!’
Cass, whispers to camera: Road rage.
Nevertheless, we like Shaun whatever his name. Obviously he’s a trained killer, but quite a chill one, he seems fun to hang out with, handsome, and also caring. We love his relationship with Katy. When that man hit her and he went full blown street fighter, Cass’ notes went quite fluttery and read ‘Oh, he defended her honour!’ Becks agrees, however would like it to be noted that whilst we wouldn’t change him, she doesn’t really think Simu should be playing a 25 year old as he’s actually slightly older than us and she doesn’t think we could pass for it. The aging process is a source of great concern to her, and she keeps a tally of how many times she gets asked for her ID in the supermarket in the hopes that this might serve as some sort of witchcraft and stave it off.
We think Shaun is a welcome part of the MCU. He balances Doctor Strange’s air of twatishness, which is probably why Wong is so keen to have him.
Becks, muttering: I hate Doctor Strange. And that’s why I slept through his stupid movie!
But anyway, we think we’re going to be in for a good time with him in future movies. It’s nice to have a kind, competent character involved in things. Cass is looking forward to seeing him interact with Scott. Maybe in the next Antman film it will happen? We really enjoy the fight scene on the bus. Again it was really good fun. It was exciting, it was violent, and Becks got to lust over that man with the razor arm. She does this throughout her notes on the movie, so at least one of us was happy when he kept turning up and bothering folk.
Another person we like is Katy. Becks particularly likes that she doesn’t really have any clear goals, because she finds that relatable. Her actual words were ‘she has a relatable incompetence,’ but we won’t let that stand because Katy isn’t actually incompetent, she’s very good at what she does. She saves all of those lives on the bus with her excellent driving, she is very brave at a number of points and stands up for her friend even when she is extremely far out of her depth, and she is really good at archery. Hopefully she can get some training in with Clint, I reckon she’ll love them trick arrows. We think maybe what is relatable is just that she has no bigger end goal in mind, and maybe lacks a little self belief in being able to deliver one. And that’s fine, because as she proves it all comes good!
We really enjoy seeing Katy and Shaun’s friendship. They have great fun together, and that’s nice to see. We also enjoy how she utterly refuses to let him deal with all the crazy people trying to kill him alone, and insists on going with him. Nice to have your best friend with you when you go on a family reunion to meet you dad after he has sent people to kill you. We just like her a lot in general, she’s funny, snarky, and has a fun sense of style. Basically, we don’t have a bad word to say.
This family reunion means that we also get to meet Shaun’s sister, Xialing. Now there’s a capable woman! Not only is she a brilliant self-taught fighter, but she has built a successful underground fight club from scratch. It’s sad of course, because her father was far more absent with her than he was with Shang-Chi, who then of course ran away and left her, so she must have had a very lonely life. But even despite all of this, being let down and having to rely on herself, Xialing comes good, helping Shaun and Katy with barely a second thought and finding some of the family she deserves in Ta Lo. It’s nice to see that despite the traumatic upbringing, she still manages to be a good person. With hella style, because she made that compound super cool at the end. Frankly, she’s the only girl boss we care to discuss at this time.
Just as an aside, we would never like to fight on scaffolding. We don’t think it’s safe, especially not that high up. We are making a pact to avoid going on it at all, and especially not to fight on it. We will fight on the ground, as God intended. In the dirt. With the worms.
We are now reintroduced to Shaun’s father, whose name we cannot recall, possibly because goes by many names. One of which Cass thought he said was Mastercard, which seemed like a bit of blatant product placement even for these movies, but turned out not to be the case so that’s okay. Anyway, we’ve looked it up now and apparently it’s Wenwu, so there. We have a bit of a difference of opinion here. Becks thinks he’s a right dickhead. She is impressed by the horse riding with no hands skills (although seemed notably less impressed when she asked if Cass had ever done that and found out that she had), and obviously all for a bit of violence, but still doesn’t really take to him because he really was such a terribly shit dad. And he was, Cass agrees. But where Cass falls down in this is, he’s also terribly, terribly hot. I mean, he’s a lunatic. But in a way that makes it hotter. So it’s difficult to remain impartial about his bad fathering, and she thanks you all for your understanding at this difficult time.
What Wenwu does do however, is proves the need for a safe-word after death. We can’t tell you ours for obvious reasons, but we’ve now agreed it. So if we do hear any whisperings from beyond the grave that don’t include it, we will know it’s not actually one of us but a demonic entity intent on wrecking destruction on the planet, and will simply ignore it and go about our business. You would all do well to gather your loved ones and do the same. Do it now in fact, before you read on.
Have you got the beyond the veil safe-word? Okay good. We may continue.
Their mother seemed like a nice lady, taken too young. And that’s unfortunately all we have to say on the subject. His aunt also seems like a badass, however she also unfortunately goes by the name of Auntie Nan, which is coincidentally what Becks’ used to call a family friend from her childhood who ran a walking group called the Bog Hoppers. This send Cass so hysterical that we find it hard to discuss Auntie Nan much further.
Becks: Another thing about her, she had a Stannah Stairlift. And I used to sneak up to her room on it and rifle through her things.
Cass: (wheezes) That’s the most you thing to do, but also as if you were sneaking anywhere on a stairlift. You probably made a right bloody racket!
Becks: She also made Dead Fly Pie. And I loved her.
Right. Trevor Slattery. Another person that makes Cass feel mildly hysterical. It’s nice to get a little closure on the Ten Rings as mentioned in Iron Man, and of course it’s a treat to see Trevor again. What a tit. A very silly man really, but if there’s no room for Ben Kingsley to do a little thespian silliness in a Marvel film then what hope do we have left? We also like him playing dead at the end, it’s the only outcome we truly accept of that man being involved in a fight, and we enjoyed it immensely.
‘Stay in the pocket!’
We would like now to mention Ta Lo, because it’s just totally beautiful and it is very hard to see why you would ever leave. Not least because it’s so bloody difficult to get back again. Entering Ta Lo is like someone turning the high def on the film. Also, we get to meet the Great Protector, who turns out to be a lovely big dragon, and we love him. If you don’t love a dragon turning up in a movie, then get out of town frankly. We didn’t much like the soul sucking fella that came out of the gate (a dickhead released by another dickhead, is Becks’ commentary), but since he got defeated we thankfully don’t need to dwell on his darkness any longer.
All too soon we are turfed out of this beautiful place and Shaun and Katy are sent back to tell tall tales of their adventures to their friends in the pub, who of course don’t believe them. Doubting Thomas’! But then Wong turns up. Dear Wong, the only character in the MCU who has really got his priorities sorted in terms of the work-life balance. It’s all fight clubs and karaoke with him, and frankly after dealing with Doctor Strange he deserves it. We’re also grateful to see Bruce as Bruce. We hate Professor Hulk, it’s just all wrong, and so that little hologram gives us a hope that we won’t be stuck with him forever.
We just love this film as a whole. We like the friendships, the characters are interesting, the fight scenes are cracking, and we end the whole thing with a smile rather than in tears so that’s always a bonus. The end of the film promises that Shang-Chi will return, and we’re both looking forward to it.
But enough of these new people! Next time will see us revisiting some old friends, when we review The Falcon and The Winter Soldier. Is it the greatest TV show ever made? Well, maybe not. But has it unfortunately unleashed something in one of us? Maybe so! Brace yourselves, friends, for the full gamut of emotions that will come from The Shared Brain. Brace brace brace.
We're not dead (although one of us wishes she was), we've just had a couple of hiccups.
It was @cassandrafey birthday last weekend and so we spent time together irl and can't be trusted to blog in the same room.
As an extra special gift she got the plague so is locked inside her parents house eating all their bread.
And although her rents have a tv that spins it does not connect to the internet (gasp) and we want to be able to watch Shang-Chi in all its glory so we are waiting until she returns back to civilisation.
So to make up for it here are some lovely moving pictures of our favourite bits of phase 4 so far.
We haven't seen Doctor Strange 2 (the return of the idiot) yet so no spoilers. Only to say we support women's rights and their wrongs.
And this last gif is especially for @becksxoxo and no one can complain about it because she will remind them of their recent cuntish behaviour. A fact they cannot deny.
We’ve got a confession - we have thought long and hard and discussed our options, and we still have no idea how best to tackle our tv show reviews. So come with us now on a magical journey of chaos as we do our best and try not to become overwhelmed by content.
It’s safe to say that we like this show very much. Becks has just said ‘It was a good start to the Marvel tv shows, because it was so different but it wasn’t shit.’ Which sort of sounds like she’s throwing shade at the other ones (Cass side-eyed her phone hard at this point) but I’m sure that’s not what she meant. It is different though, and it’s just well thought out and excellently put together, and we love it.
The show asks that you take a leap of faith and just go with the flow bro, because it starts with a strong commitment to the vintage aesthetic. For much of the first episode, you do feel like you could just be watching a 50s sitcom ala Bedazzled. (We fucking love the Bedazzled vibes by the way, we’d happily do a stint as suburban witches). It is confusing, as you know that there must be something else to it, but in the first episodes you only get a hint of things being wrong so you’re not at all sure how it’s going to unfold. But it’s confusing in a fun way - and it’s nice to have a little light hearted fun from time to time. Before we get smashed in the feels again by all that lovely trauma.
What we can agree on is that we wouldn’t want our boss to come round for dinner. When we say our boss, we mean Cass’ boss (well her bosses boss, sort of an awful man really). At this stage, there is only one person that Becks would like to have round to dinner, and that is dear Jimmy Woo. She’s gone a bit feral in her notes and repeatedly got ahead of herself with demands as to when Jimmy will appear. It would be nice to have him to dinner as well, because he seems a lovely man and could entertain us with some close up magic.
We also agree that breakfast for dinner is good. So there.
Cass: Which decade is your favourite of all them?
Becks: Well I really like the modern one where she talks to the camera, because I relate to that. (Presumably, Becks has a camera-crew following her at all times). But I also like the 60s one, where the magic act goes wrong and it’s a bit slapstick. And I like the 50s one.
Cass: I think there is something quite comforting about the older eps. I do love the 60s one. I love the humour and the men's gossip group posing as the neighbourhood watch. And just everything that comes out of Agnes’ mouth. Definitely not the 70s one though, because the accelerated pregnancy weirds me out.
For pure enjoyment purposes, the second episode is our joint favourite. We love the talent show magic act, we like Vision going a bit funny, and Becks lost her mind and screeched IS THAT JIMMY?! when his voice came through the radio, and it was, so that is also nice. What we don’t like though is that bee-keeper emerging from the sewers. It’s just all very nightmarish, and if we were Wanda we would absolutely rewind that part too. It’s also a very nice touch when she finds the helicopter in her bushes and it’s in full colour against the black and white. The whole way they keep adding little unsettling elements is just really nice.
Onto the 70s, and isn’t Monica’s blue eyeshadow magnificent? Well done to the make up department, 10/10. Cass doesn’t like this episode on account of the pregnancy bit making her think of aliens or parasites growing uncontrollably inside you (which is probably a personal issue that she will have to work through at some point, or maybe not, who knows), so we will refer to Becks’ notes. We do agree that we hate the patronising doctor. Stupid man. We’re glad his holiday was ruined. Becks also thinks it’s really good how they start to show Wanda’s perception of this weird reality is crumbling, and how you start to realise she is the one in charge. Poor Monica is blasted out of town, but at least now we know someone will get to the bottom of what’s going on. Becks also had a third false alarm over potential Jimmy, but never fear, he is coming!
We follow Monica out of Westview and into a flashback that starts to give us some missing pieces of the puzzle. We haven’t seen this side of the blip before really, with people coming back on-mass and the confusion of it all, none of them knowing where they are or what is going on. The chaos comes through here in a way that it didn’t in Endgame, which Becks has just wisely announced makes sense as it’s a whole programme about chaos. It also maybe explains why so many of our avenger friends are having to work through grief in Phase 4. So we can’t really blame Wanda, even as the events of this episode start to unfold.
We suspect Hayward is a wrong ‘un from the off. Unfortunately we can’t prove anything at this stage, and apparently proof is quite important when you’re throwing accusations around, so we’ll just have to remain vigilant and gather evidence to be able to say ‘told you so’ at a later stage. However, for now let us say he gives off Big Dick Energy, and not in the way he might wish. He is the reason that Monica is sent to Westview in the first place though, and therefore the reason her path crosses with the fabled Jimmy Woo. We can all rest easy now that we see his sleight of hand magic practice has paid off, and the episode all feels a bit like Supernatural or the X Files as they try to work out what’s going on at Westview, so that’s nice. (We’re basing this on vibes alone, neither of us have ever watched an episode of the X Files. Please don’t yell at us in the comments. One of us was too busy with 15 seasons of Supernatural and the other only watches the first three Captain America films on repeat. We’re learning every day and will try to do better in future.)
As if to balance out the joy of Jimmy Woo (Becks just wailed WOOOOOO, totally overcome, and sounding like a ghost on a gentle fairground ride) we have to put up with another character whom we intensely dislike in this episode, Darcy Lewis. Cass was so bitterly disappointed the first time she watched this programme and Darcy showed up. She’s just the worst, and we can’t adequately explain why, it’s just vibes. Very negative vibes. Also, we don’t buy that she just walked in there and figured it all out in seconds. She’s annoying and boring and thinks she’s funny when she isn’t, and we hate her.
We’re getting out of the light-hearted fun and more involved in the trauma now as we enter the 80s. Cracks are starting to show in Wanda’s illusion, the fact that ‘in a real magic trick everything is fake’ is starting to shine through, and Vision is beginning to question what is going on around him as he realises that all is not what it seems.
Vision as a character is a strange one. We’re fond of Paul Bettany, but we do find Vision to be quite a bland character. Also, in Infinity War his relationship with Wanda seemed to materialise out of the blue, and Wanda aged up dramatically compared to to Civil War, so it all felt a bit confusing and we weren’t quite sure what she saw in him. It is nice to be able to spend a bit more time with him in this series, and actually get to find out some more about him for a change, but he doesn’t ever really seem as well developed or interesting a character as Wanda herself.
We both got furious when Hayward refers to Wanda as the victimiser, because it’s clearly just not true and she’s been through so much that it seems a horrible thing to accuse her of when she’s repeatedly been victimised herself. It’s also at this stage that Hayward outs himself as a baddie (TOLD YOU SO) by gathering up all the guns in the vicinity like baddies are wont to do. And then Wanda comes out and tells them all to clear off, and looks amazing in her coat and beautiful hair, and turns the guns on him which we agree is very cool, and we love Wanda.
We also love Agnes on babysitting duty. Should she be left in charge of children? No. Do we love to see it? Yes. Becks was once again moved by the Victorian attitude to child rearing displayed when she suggested dosing them with hard liquor for a bit of peace and quiet. Cass is getting concerned by how often Becks refers to the Victorians as pinnacles of child rearing and labour, but neither of us have children so we don’t need to get too worried about it just yet.
Pietro turns up and everything goes a little bit meta. He seems to know what’s up, and they have a little knowing aside about the drastic change to his appearance that feels a bit like breaking the fourth wall. It’s very much a sign of poor Wanda losing her grip on things, especially alongside the little snippets of him and Vision dead which keep bleeding through. All perfect themes for a Halloween episode.
We love the Halloween episode, because we love to see American Halloween. It has long been a dream of ours to visit America over Halloween (perhaps New England) and experience it first hand. It does raise questions though, mainly what with everyone always so involved in Halloween who is giving out the sweets? From what we’ve seen, everyone is at parties but someone must have stayed home otherwise it would just be lots of kids fruitlessly ringing the doorbells of empty houses. Could it have been exaggerated for cinema? Surely not! Answers on a postcard please.
Incidentally, should anyone wish to invite us to experience an American Halloween, then we will gladly accept. We have no sense of self preservation or concerns about visiting strangers houses when offered sweets, and despite it’s recent efforts Fresh has done nothing to change that. Possibly the opposite, but again that’s a personal issue. Also, Becks says we’re very good at parties. Although Cass isn’t sure who she’s comparing us to. So anyway. Call us!
Becks: sings* You can always find me in the kitchen at parties...
Cass: *also sings* Eating all your little sweets and dressed up as a witch!
Vision goes on a spooky little fact finder to the outskirts of town, and everything just goes all wrong. Although disturbing, we did enjoy Agnes’ outburst where she just screams ‘DEAD’ repeatedly, made even better when we find out she’s been faking it the whole time and made a conscious decision to be unhinged. Top marks Agnes. Then Vision tries to leave and starts disintegrating, and it’s awful, feels like the snap all over again, but Wanda saves the day and even dresses everyone up as the circus so that they can join in the party. Thoughtful Wanda. And sassy.
By Episode 7 everything is coming apart at the seems. Wanda’s ‘I’m fine’ monologue is brilliant - even though she clearly is fine it does lift the episode somewhat. Agnes reveals that she ‘did actually bite a kid once’ and we can believe it. Vision also shines in the interview sections and his bits as he tries to get across town and is continually thwarted by his magical wife are a delight. Cass wouldn’t mind watching all of the other shows do special episodes filmed in this format. She imagines Loki would be particularly entertaining.
The Monica and Jimmy team up is a duo that we wouldn’t mind seeing again. They are a delight. Becks is making noises that suggests she’s gone on a pleasant mind trip down fantasy lane to a branch of the multiverse where this is a thing. So that’s something to occupy ourselves with in future.
Monica is a bit foolhardy rushing through the barrier for the millionth time, but it does give her some badass super powers of her own, and after all the shit with Hayward we think she deserves them. We also really like how she sees Wanda for who she is and keeps trying to reach her, because she recognises her own grief in her and genuinely wants to help.
But the truth of the matter is we love a villain, and so there is no-one in his whole show that we enjoy as much as Agnes, aka Agatha Harkness. We. Fucking. Love. Her. Her villain reveal is absolutely brilliant. The first time Cass watched that episode she instantly wound it back to re-watch Agatha All Along, because we can all agree that it’s perfection. Even the dog death didn’t put Becks off her, and that’s saying something.
Becks: I had that song stuck in my head at work the other day.
Cass: For some reason, I had My Old Man’s A Dustman stuck in mine.
Becks: *wheezes* Where did that come from?!
Cass: No idea. I only know one verse. It was awful.
Anyway. We know all the words to Agatha All Along, and if called upon could probably perform it at a neighbourhood talent show.
Becks: Are you saying my potato act is not good enough?
Cass: I wold never trash talk your potatoes.
Agatha also has a brilliant witchy basement and a brilliant witchy backstory. Becks has just said ‘all she’s really wanting to do is help Wanda’ which seems a suspect statement but Cass can’t really argue because we have so many reasonable excuses for villain behaviour stored up between us that we could probably set up shop and sell them at this stage. Anyway, as part of her ‘helping’, Agatha forces Wanda to confront her past traumas, the better to move on and also conveniently remember how she managed to create this Stepford Wife-esque world in the first place. We appreciate the back story because it does fill in some gaps and also make a lot of things make sense. She’s then planning to steal all of her power for her own, but only because she has proper training and knows how to use it responsibly, we’re sure. No ulterior motives, what on earth is Wanda making all this fuss about.
We love Wanda though, so we don’t want to see her sucked dry of power. We also think it’s really horrible that she had to see Vision’s body all chopped up and being used for parts. We couldn’t help imagining ourselves in that situation, and want to make it clear (Steve Kemp, if you’re listening) that we have a pact to avenge each other should we ever end up in this situation. Which given our previous statement about not minding whose house we go into is potentially more likely than we anticipated at the start of this review. This whole thing has been as much a learning lesson for us as it has for Wanda. The flashback to Vision and Wanda hanging out at the Avengers Compound is quite sweet, and Vision’s bit about ‘what is grief if not love preserving’ does make Cass go a bit misty-eyed if it gets her in the right mood.
In true Marvel style, everything then escalates and ends with a big fight. Regrettably, Cass has written ‘nothing like a bit of girl on girl’ for the second review in a row. We love Wanda’s quick thinking with the runes, she’s such a smarty and on balance we’re glad she wins. But we’re also glad that Agatha isn’t destroyed, and we’re going to get to see more of her in future. We just love witches okay? Also it’s nice to have it confirmed that Wanda is more powerful than Doctor Strange, because we reckon he would hate that and as he causes nothing but bother we would like to give him some bother back.
We should really mention the creepy white Vision that Hayward Frankenstein’d together here. We don’t like him at all, his eyes especially give Becks the heebie-jeebies. The two Vision’s fighting all feels very multi-versy as well, but it is definitely the politest fight that we have ever witnessed in the MCU so that’s something.
Wanda’s storyline is horribly sad, and we both really hope that this starts to improve for her. She’s left very alone at the end of this show, carrying even more loss than before because her children are now gone too. In a way, it is cathartic that she is able to say a goodbye to Vision, but it doesn’t lessen the grief of the fact that he is gone. We do really care about Wanda, and would love to see her rejoin the rest of the scattered avengers and build a bit of a family there again for herself. There’s so much grief in Phase 4 and it would be nice for her to be able to find a bit of happiness.
It was really nice to revisit this show, especially because knowing what happens means that you watch the whole thing with a different perspective and enjoy it in a different way. It’s a lot of fun, we love the commitment that went into the style of the different eras as much as the commitment that went into Wanda’s character development. As much as there is such sadness in the show there is also a lot of fun and inventiveness, and it did feel quite different for the MCU at times, which was nice. As May approaches, Cass is really looking forward to seeing Wanda again in Multiverse of Madness. This is a sentiment that Becks can’t quite get behind, her rage over Doctor Strange and his fuck up ways sadly outweighs her love for Wanda, and frankly I imagine she will watch the whole thing with a face like thunder and a lot of tutting. Still who knows, maybe it will change her mind about him entirely. But Becks can really hold a grudge, so we doubt it.
We’re reviewing Shang Chi next, a film we both agree is excellent and not just because there are dragons! Don’t touch that dial!
We're back on a high, because who can deny (haha rhymes) that this is a brilliant film? Not us! Incidentally, Black Widow was the first film either of us saw in the cinema after lockdown, so it holds an even dearer place in our hearts. Because we both went to see it at the cinema, as it should have been seen. The only way for a short period of time it should have been seen. Unless previously disclosed in a contract agreed by all parties before distribution began. Or so we think anyway. But what would we know with our silly women brains...
On to the film!
We love the opening, its contrast of dreamy peace and sudden gunfire. It starts off very soft, it’s clearly summer, it’s very quiet and gentle but in a serene sort of way. Our blue haired Nat is clearly at peace as she rides through the neighbourhood, waving at friends, wandering through the trees to her back garden to hangout with her sister. It just feels nice, an oasis of calm from every other stupid soul wrenching marvel film written to just smash your heart into a million pieces (Becks has some feelings to work through...), but we know they'll get to that soon enough.. You can tell they are happy because they can see fireflies, which turns out are real things. Who knew? Definitely us. I mean some of us have known longer than others. Much longer. But in Becks' defence she did come out with the truth that she only found out a few months ago that fireflies are real and not something made up by Disney. And we can both agree we've never seen them in real life. New life goal perhaps, see some fireflies?
At this point, and for quite a while to come, this doesn't feel like a Marvel superhero film, and it’s difficult to put our finger on why this is. The only way we have been able to describe it makes us seem like we're shitting on the other Marvel films, but we're not (well not really), but it feels like it has substance, depth, a bit of grit and intricate story telling. Maybe we appreciate this because we love the character and the film so much, or may it is just better. We're sure a female director probably had a high hand in our appreciation of this film. We've just gone back to check if there were any female directors before this, Captain Marvel was half directed by a woman, and that is it (previous to this film. They're making up for it in phase 4, but even then it slips *glares in distain at The Eternals* ooooh spoilers.) so perhaps it is just that shift in storytelling.
And we do really appreciate a female director telling this story, imagine if they'd brought Joss Whedon back on board *shudders in disgust* making monsters out of everyone, upskirting left and right. The Red Room is such a thing to tackle. In itself you know it was created by a man, whether that was Dreykov or the comic book writers in the first place. Girls with their identities stripped from them, forced to become perfect and sexy trained killers, with their reproductive organs removed, for as we know that’s where all women's feelings come from. We've just contrasted this with dear, sweet Bucky. Did they take his testicles? Was that something they even considered? It’s just such a weird detail that they've included it when creating these characters, and it makes us cross and it’s just something that we don't think will have even been given a second thought about in the male characters and we just hate that. Hate, hate, hate. It does match The Red Room we suppose, designed for ultimate control by a stupid little man.
The costuming also has a woman's touch. Not a single mini skirt/thigh high sock combo during battle in sight, all very practical garments with pockets coming out of the wazoo. We hope all future male directors are shown a reel from this film, to persuade them you can still tell a woman is beautiful even if her arse and tits aren’t out at all times. Again, for us this made the film even more enjoyable for us as we weren't constantly grousing over professional killers going into battle dressed for a night out, but instead dressed to do some serious murderings, pockets stuffed full of weapons and probably a lip balm or two (treat yo self!).
Quick digression, but speaking of costuming, one of our many favourite bits was Red Guardian getting back into his costume. Heavy dad vibes (not to be confused with daddy vibes, we need that to be very clear) and he was so pleased with himself. We also don't like to suggest it’s a woman's place to be doing men's washing for them, but we really think Melina shouldn't have been so proud of the fact she left that suit festering. It did look grubby, we can only imagine the smell.
The female directing also shone through on the fight scenes, although Cass is worried that the male gaze has seeped into her brain irrevocably, as during the fight with Nat and Yelena in Budapest all that came to mind was "Nothing like a bit of girl on girl!" (a Hot Fuzz quote she insists...). But aside from this we think you could tell the difference. The fights were shot in anger, or frustration or determination, not just an excuse to see them writhe around on one another. The first fight between Yelena and Nat especially, you could see two highly trained fighters but you could also see two sisters winding each other up. It all just felt much better. Even though very similar moves were used from other films, it just felt more authentic, a necessity rather than a pleasure to watch.
Taskmaster cleverly used all of this. (We still can't properly think of that as her name because all it brings to mind is the possibility that inside that suit is Greg Davies or Alex Horne, or even both of them one astride the other, and it's too much. Just Bob in the background talking us through a bar chart of piss. We live happily in the knowledge though that we don't think any of these men would have the skills or wherewithal to fight like that, but still it’s a worry...) It was so fun to see all the little fight styles of the Avengers she'd been studying come through. Some of us saw more of the different styles than others. By this point I think you can guess which was which. Which one us appreciated the little intricacies of Black Panther, the Winter Soldier, Hawkeye and Spidey, and which one of us saw her chuck that shield and began weeping internally? It was really clever though, and should have made her a much more intimidating foe than she really got to be, because she was saved too quickly (in a good way, I guess?) Because she needed saving, she was as trapped and controlled as any of the other Widows, and just goes to prove how much of a commodity Dreykov saw them to be, even his own daughter, rather than actual people.
We love Nat. It’s not the only reason we love this film, but it plays a huge part. We're so glad she got her own film, even if it was bittersweet, coming after she'd died and all the irl drama surrounding it. We would happily sit and watch anything she as a main character starred in. Feed us with more Nat and Clint, we want to know the stories of their adventures, we always want to hear more about Budapest. Give us a 24 hour style show of them just hiding out in those vents. WE WANT MORE! We also love how this film has given us chance to see her on her own, as the person that she is, rather than the spy being used by others. Because she was more than that, she was a good person, and we're very sad we won't get more from her. We see how hard she takes the break up of her new found family through the unification of her old one. How she is constantly plagued by the things from her past she wants to make right. How her old life has really never gone away, that she has friends willing to help her find safety, retrieve post from her safehouses, her weapons still neatly stashed where they have been left around the globe, old games of noughts and crosses forever imprinted inside her old haunts. She is a full character that we get to appreciate even more with every morsel of information we find out about her. Plus she's always so cool and collected. Swinging in so poised on that rope to break her dad out of prison, perfection.
This film was also an excellent introduction to Yelena, one of our new favourites. She's funny, clever, competent, a dog lover and a pocket lover. All the finest attributes of a woman. Her emotions also make the film feel very real. The whole family dinner scene (one of our favourites again) is made even more meaningful by her emotional outburst, despite the years of brain washing and manipulation, she has held on to what that family meant to her.
"Don't say that, please don't say that. It was real to me."
It’s just perfect.
She also gets to star in the after credits scene. Such a sad scene. When she whistles there is a part of us that just hopes that this time there will be a whistle back. But there never is. To only have so recently been reconnected with someone and to then lose them again forever is hard. But we will not stand for that Clint Barton slander. HE IS NOT RESPONSIBLE. Take your moustache twiddling else where Valentina, we do not like you.
We'll tell you who we do like though, Red Guardian. What a treat. His meandering stories that go nowhere, and don't really have any relevance. It just warms your heart. For someone who was there just to complete a mission he really did become a father, including being absolutely terrible with technology. Becks feels a real kinship to him with their shared obsession with Captain America, and feels like Cass embodied all the rest of the inmates in that prison each time he brought him up. (Although Cass did have a very Will Smith-esq outburst at the start of the film when General Ross mentioned capturing Sam and has essentially written KEEP MY WIFE’S NAME OUT OF YOUR MOUTH. So we both have issues, clearly.) And not to keep harking on about Steve Rogers (we know that Becks doesn't mean that at all) but she is somewhere between obsessed and intrigued about his stores of fighting Cap. Is he mad, is he thinking of other super soldiers like the one we are to meet in The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, or has something timey wimey happened? Will we ever know? Does anyone else actually care? Who knows. It does raise the question about how many super soldiers there are out there though. Maybe even one of us is a super solider... Cass hasn’t caught covid yet (touch wood), could it be due to an unknown serum enhancing her genetics? Stay tuned I guess.
Melina, beautiful yet cold, and we hate what she does with those pigs, but still we love her. She is maternal but with quite the dark side (Becks is triggered with thoughts of her own mother...) and seems to really battle between caring and doing the logical thing. Our favourite moment with her is her very calming walking through the flames just updating her daughter that there has been a change of plan and they are now all falling from the sky. Her total indoctrination makes those moments of love even sadder. She felt that they were a real family too (they all did, even if it took some of them longer than others to admit) and it was just so beautifully acted, and made all the more poignant on rewatching when you know more.
Dreykov was a dick and we're glad he's dead. Proper dead. He better be dead. We hate the thought of mind control at the best of times but the thought of chemically induced mind control is even worse. It just makes it so easy. Also the whole pheromone thing was weird. They sound like something that is made up from from the Alpha/Omegaverse but are actually real, and we don't like them. No thank you. Ray Winstone tried an accent, so well done on that Ray, we know it must have been hard for you. Becks believes that our friend's husband arrested Ray Winstone one time. But it could have been someone else that he arrested, and we're too lazy to do any further digging on this, so it will remain a mystery. The story is very hazy as Becks was very drunk and Cass wasn't present, so who knows at this point. Exciting though, innit?
All in all we loved it. Cass wrote top tier multiple times. A technical film term perhaps? It’s sad we won't have any more, because they would have to go back backwards which seems a bit rogue and we're not sure that Scarlett would ever want to come back now anyway, and we wouldn't want to see anyone else play her. We did have a good time rewatching it, and will do so again and again we're sure.
We're going to attempt our first go at a tv series review next. Our Wandavision thoughts and feelings should be with you in two weeks (if all goes to plan) so we shall see you then.
Well this was better wasn't it? Nice bit of agreement that this is a good fun film. Should we be concerned that we find such comfort in gore fuelled horror? Meh.
The twist on the convention is revealed surprisingly early in the film, the first scene to be fair, which is a bold but brilliant move and we love it. You know that something is wrong. You don't realise quite how wrong it is, but you know you're in for something good. Unlike them kids. Who are in for a world of hurt.
It does raise the question how one gets a job in demon keeping. Asking for a friend... And while we're on the topic how do you think they screen candidates to make sure they don't fall in love with the monsters, anything specific to look out for? Again, just asking for that friend…
We both really recognised the two lead 'horror co-ordinators' (we'd be quite interested to know their official title as it’s taken us a while to try and work out what to call them, their names I suppose would have been better, Sitterson and Hadley) , which turns out to be because they are professional actors but it took us a while to work out where from. They're good, a little boys-clubby to be fully liked, and probably get what they deserve in the end, but pretty good none the less. Very gallows humour, and we do love that a lot. Fred from Angel was there too, nice to see. And Andrew from Buffy. The whole gang. We also have Daniel Truman, who doesn't seem to want to be there but is used as a good excuse for a little exposition, aside from the work place banter about killing kids for the elder Gods.
Aside from everyone dying horribly, would you want to work there?
@cassandrafey: No, I don't know that I am the right person to work there. It wasn't a very nice building, and no one seemed to be very nice to each other, and the monster slaughter at the end. But I suppose better to work there than be part of the rituals.
@becksxoxo: I work in a 1960s concrete monstrosity, and what's a little light-hearted work place banter between friends? For the majority of this film I was considering getting my CV updated to go for a job, but it does take a turn at the end I suppose. How bad does your current job have to be for you to consider being ripped apart by mindless monsters than go back to trying to be civil with certain colleagues? Mmmm mindlessly ripped to shreds...
Obviously this is where we are meant to be introduced to the stereotypes, the characters that these unassuming teens are meant to play. But we're not, not really any way, because as the film points out that's not really the way the world works, and you have to work with what you've got. We will say though that neither of us have got halfway through getting dressed and just forgot to put bottoms on. But then we wouldn't want the male gaze getting bored, would we?
Dana - the virgin
Jules - the whore
Curt - the athlete
Holden - the scholar
Marty - the fool
We know that they are all there to play a role (even if they themselves do not yet) but none of them quite fill this. They're all a little too well rounded, a little bit more real, and this cements that this is all a ruse. A forced narrative based on the classic, all a means to an end. It also makes the fact that they're all friends a little more meaningful. These are a group of friends, unlike the odd mixture in the traditional films who are so different that it makes no sense for them to be hanging out together, other than to fulfil the narrative.
As we're introduced to them all we get our first glimpse of our Thor. His head the same thickness as his neck. But he seems alright, questionable accent, but I guess we'll let it slide. To emphasise the point above he gives book recommendations on highbrow topics, and much to Cassandra's mother's probable disgust, Becks doesn't think that Chris Hemsworth (who Cass has referred to twice in her notes as C Hemmy - werp) has read a book. So good acting there, and proves he, at least before the manipulation begins, isn't just a big dumb jock.
Neither of us have ever been so desperate for petrol that we have had to stop at a murder garage, (we have just gone on a tangent about Jeremys and a highly inappropriate game, but we will spare you from both of these things) but again these things do seem to happen quite a bit in the American film business. Do y'all not have chain petrol stations? Or, just plan your routes and timings a bit better. Here's a little advice for you Cass when you're road tripping at the end of the month, go to a supermarket for your petrol, and don't let it get low. Also don't summon the dead from the comfort of your cabin, but we get ahead of ourselves.
We really enjoyed the guys at the facility taking the piss out of Mordecai, and how seriously he took it all. There's always someone at work who takes it all too seriously, and we don't condone work place bullying, but... Cass has also just added, just because you know the existence of elder Gods nearby that is not an excuse to live in squalor. So think on that good people.
Curt (dear old Chris) kept saying his cousin had bought a house in the woods, and we would like it to be known that we think it is pretty rich to try and describe that place as a house. Even a cabin is a stretch. Murder shack. Dirty, grubby, murder shack, complete with perv mirror, other people's possessions in the basement, all cursed, and a series of torture chambers that seemed to stretch further than the footing of the actual building. These architects really are good, aren't they?
We would like to take a moment to commend and applaud Jules and her make out session with that wolf. She really went for it, the acting, the kissing. It was very Angela Carter-esque, and we commend it. More worthy of an Emmy nomination than some people…
And this is where the hardcore manipulation begins (ooooh kinky). Japan has just fallen, and so have the other monsters around the globe, so it’s down to the good ol' US of A to save the day. Starting by making a girl get her tits out. USA USA USA...
We enjoyed the sweep stake, for varying reasons. Cass said she was coming at it from an academic viewpoint, and would have been intrigued to find out all the options available. Becks just likes placing bets on other people's suffering. We both did enjoy how sad Hadley was about missing out on that merman. His life's ambition.
Cass says there is probably quite an interesting debate to be had about freewill and religion here, but we are not going to have it.
Instead we will say don't read Latin (or any dead language really) out of old books. But then really, don't do any of the stupid things people do in horror films. Don't stand by windows. Or with your back to the door. Don't split up. Don't go have sex in the mossy mud when you have a perfectly good and more hygienic space. Don't reopen a locked door when you know there are murderers outside to go find your murdered friend, who you already know is definitely murdered. Don't go into basements. Don't buy a house with dead peoples things still in it. Don't leave your own house, find a place of your own and never leave. Don't talk to strangers. Don't have sex, you will get pregnant and die.
We then get to see them all killed off. This was more enjoyable for one half of the brain than the other, but the phrase 'you do you' has just been used so we won't go into much discussion about it, other than to say it’s good to see each trope be played out in such dramatic fashion, and to see the slow realisation of something not be right aside from the dead rising. Plus Marty is back so that's good too.
We also begin to see the cracks getting bigger down below, as the plan begins to shatter and the Gods begin to stir, and chaos begins to consume all.
We're not sure we'd like to descend a lift to hell, especially as it was more just a monster zoo rather than sexy party vibes that we'd hoped for. Cass didn't mind watching it happen to other people though. It was nice to see all the 'here's what you could have won' monsters in their little cubicles, until they were released and killed everyone. That was sort of a downer.
Then Sigourney Weaver turns up, always a treat, to give a motivational speech about the greater good. In her powder blue power suit.
Would we have killed Marty? No probably not, but for different reasons it turns out. Is the Shared Brain imploding? Is this the end? Should we point out evil and fix it, or should we join it and make it worse? Who knew this film could be so thought provoking?
We are both fans of horror, and especially a good ol slasher gore fest, so we enjoy this film for both gifting us with tradition but also flipping it on its head. We enjoy rubbing the underbelly of horror. We're also really pleased Hadley got his merman in the end, he really deserved it.
And that's it. What if...? season has come to an end, and we'll be taking a bit of a break for the rest of the month, to come back in April for Phase 4.
Or What if Bruce Banner gave up all that science and got really into puzzles?
A joint review
It’s safe to say that our What If…? season has proven quite divisive for the Shared Brain, and Zodiac was no exception to that rule. Cass loves it, thinks it’s a masterpiece of creepy suspense that lingers unsettlingly as she goes about her business afterwards, and Becks hated it, wonders why anyone would go to the trouble to watch, or indeed even make, this movie. So this should be interesting.
We should also say, whilst this was our choice of alternate universe for dear Bruce, we do note that there are two other MCU fan favourites joining him here for a crossword or two; Tony Stark as himself (give or take a few million and a different taste in suits) and Mysterio without his helmet. We’re getting the band back together alright!
We're gonna go by character this week rather than trying to go by the plot, as we think this will hurt our brain, just like it hurt the brains of everyone else involved, and we don't want to have a breakdown [we are very close...] We really wanted to start with Dave, you know cos it’s Bruce week, but we are not going to for reasons that we will not be taking questions about at this time.
It's safe to say Cass may have become financially troubled over little Robert at times during this film.
@cassandrafey: Look I just think he's quite cute in this film.
@becksxoxo: Yuhuh.. Is this the week where I become *better* than you?
@cassandrafey: I mean, he's cute in this but I'm not going to lose my head.
@becksxoxo: *indignantly* When have I ever lost my head?
@cassandrafey: A lot.
Anyway turns out that Cass has watched 33% of Jakey G's film back catalogue (according to Letterboxd), but not as many as Sebastian Stan [Becks here, Sebastian's films I mean, I don't know how many of Jake Gyllenhaal's films Seb has watched, perhaps I'll go message him. Hey babe, we're just writing a post, can I just check something with you. Thanks babe...] Becks is surprised it’s not Anthony Mackie, but it turns out he's been in every film ever made, so the data's a bit squiffy. [Cass here: Anthony was my most watched actor of last year according to the Jan roundup, so I’m still representing don’t worry. However, Seb is clearly looking to increase his lead in the early months of this year, by providing the sort of content I am here for. Love to see a villain phase.] Becks only watches the same 5 films on rotation, so does not have any stats to give. Anyway back to the film...
Robert Graysmith, big fan of puzzles, has very little impulse control. As soon as he heard there was the slightest whiff of a puzzle out comes the pen, all other responsibilities thrown to the wayside. Becks is a big advocate for procrastination, but even she thought he'd taken it too far.
What we will say about Robert is, that although Cass thinks he is unbearably cute, he is also unbelievably stupid so often in so many ways that could have been avoided:
You've done a lot of research into this guy, but perhaps stop broadcasting this fact to the serial killer, and putting your family at risk.
Also, don't go round a stranger's house when they're somewhat involved in a murder case.
Don't go in their house.
Do notice if they lock the door.
Try not to give all the details about the murderer to that person.
Don't follow them in a dark basement.
Also, is it true that not many people have basements in California? Any American folk that come across this can you please let us know? In our heads all American houses have basements. And nothing good happens in any of them.
Another badly thought out thing that Robert did was get the kids involved. Firstly, don't let your kid watch a TV show where a murderer is calling in after threating kids. Secondly, perhaps don't use your murderer obsession as a nice little weekend project with the kiddiewinks. Why were you getting them to check moon cycles, should we be worried that the Zodiac is a werewolf?
Would you prefer to be killed by a werewolf or vampire?
@cassandrafey: Well a vampire is neater. I think you would be mauled by a werewolf, and it would be messy and painful. And I don’t think they’re sexy are they, when they’re turned? Like before maybe, I can accept that in human form the werewolf could be hot, maybe very hot, but I don’t want to be fucked by a werewolf whilst it actually is the wolf. Not if I’m not one. I suppose if I was also a werewolf, then that would be okay, but otherwise it’s not right. But a vampire is a vampire all the time and sexy all the time, so it would have to be the vampire.
@becksxoxo: I mean, I didn’t actually ask which you would rather be fucked by…
@cassandrafey: Oh. Why was I talking about that then?! What was the question?
Anyway. Probably vampires innit?
His wife was right to take the kids away at this time. It was a date that just never ended. But everyone is fine. It’s fine.
Another tangent Becks would like to include. When were zippers invented? Hear me out, Robert wore a coat with a zipper, and this film is set in the past [which I did keep forgetting and being like why are people in flares? Why is no one just calling for help?] but I don't know when people stopped being buttoned into a thing, and instead zipped themselves up. Cass has since googled this, so we know the answer, and if you too are intrigued we suggest you also google it. We shan't help you. But it’s sort of worth it. Sort of. Do you know what we will help you, because the phrases used regarding the zip are just too good. Enjoy friends.
He was quite smart, with the puzzles and working out the library connection, but he wasn't very emotionally smart. Cass would like it reiterating again that he was very cute. Before we move on, Becks would like to say that her favourite bit of the film did involve Robert, and the extreme burn he got from the Coffee Vendor.
Very good hair for a man who hasn't had a full nights sleep in over a decade.
We like Dave, for the most part we're very on his side. Which we suppose you're meant to be, when the other option is a serial killer. So that’s nice.
Cass very much enjoyed watching Dave and Bill work together to get a picture of the scene, an overview of the crime and try and get into the head of the Zodiac. Becks admits that it was a good way of telling the story without telling the story.
Cass also enjoyed his role in the interrogation. His quietness adding more intimidation then any of the questions being asked. Handling that watch. Cass just thinks he does really good silent acting for much of this scene, and loves it.
She also liked his disapproving head shake at those policemen who failed at doing their jobs so spectacularly. She would not however like that disappointment to ever be turned on her.
@becksxoxo: Do you just want him to tell you you're a good girl?
@cassandrafey: Yes. *a moment of silence* but not in the way of your bloody fanfictions!
It must be so frustrating and sad not to have been able to solve the case, to have the proof you need to say it was this person and have the whole thing finished. The whole way the case played out seemed frustrating, all the procedural fuck ups, the counties and cities not working together, the whole bit where he was accused of writing one of the letters himself. We're not surprised Bill left, although Becks was very angry at him just upping and leaving. You don't do that to a friend. We wonder if he ever got his Japanese food?
He did have really good hair. And his little gun holster thing was alright. The bowties were a choice [they were so big...] and we hope he eventually got some sleep.
Becks thinks Mark did some good acting in this role. She doesn't really have much to base this on, but it’s a judgement she's made and it’s one of the nice things she has to say about this film.
Poor old Paul. With his buttons and his alcohol addiction.
Paul provides a bit of levity to the film, a little light hearted fun, with his snark and his outfits, until it all goes a bit wrong. If being threatened by a serial killer could be described as a bit wrong.
Cass liked Paul and was sorry to see his life fall apart, but she can't exactly put her finger on why she liked him. He was entertaining though.
He felt very Tony-esque only without the money and weapons. Oh Tony, we miss you.
We like his and Robert's friendship, that begins as essentially bullying a little boy who is a little bit in love with you, to hanging out at gun ranges and trying to make sure you're not serial killed. Although he did seem to drift the more obsessed with the Zodiac he became.
He too did stupid things, like Robert. Going off to meet an anonymous person when an anonymous murderer has just threated you with a good bit of death. Why was Melanie the only one to point out how stupid this all was? Feeble minded men, that's why...
Speaking of feeble minded men, we shall now move on to the many possible identities of the Zodiac Killer.
The Zodiac Killer
Obviously in the film we never know for sure who the Zodiac is. They do go through a lot of very odd people, and even if they weren't the Zodiac, we're pretty sure they've probably done something. And that's why we're not in law enforcement. Apparently you can't accuse people on vibes alone.
Arthur Leigh Allen was a creepy fucker. We don’t have anything further to say about this - but he gives Cass the creeps very severely indeed, and whether he’s the killer or not we don’t want to be anywhere near him.
Bob Vaughn, also creepy. But also, don't go in possible murderers' basements, or houses in general. Cass thinks he was low key just fucking with Robert to entertain himself. Which is a dangerous game, but also a little funny.
It was weird how many people came forward claiming to be the Zodiac. You must have gone pretty wrong to claim to be a murderer when you just weren't. Gods people are weird.
Becks wants it be known that she does not want to be serial killed. If she is to be murdered it is because she is special. Take this as you will. It certainly made Cass shriek, and the words ‘so on brand’ were heard through the laughter.
Becks didn't really feel much during or after the film. There was a loud bang outside at one point, and that did make her jump, but none of the fear really lasted. Cass however really gets creeped out by this film. She had to answer the door for take away half an hour in and she didn’t like doing that at all… but she did because she’s a grown woman and didn’t want her housemate to see she was scared.
Cass here, just to add that I really do love this film. The frustration of feeling so certain that you have caught the killer and can put an end to this and keep people safe, along with the helplessness of not being able to prove it. The never quite knowing, and therefore never full unmasking the monster. The suspense and the awful tension and the way he he targets victims in pairs, making you feel a creeping dread of not being safe even when you’re with someone else and outnumbering the killer. The fact that the victims seemed totally random. Just the sense that it could happen. Awful. The first time I saw the basement scene, I nearly stopped breathing. And the interrogation scene lingers too, because it just feels like the worst game of cat and mouse - like they should be able to prove it and just can’t. Gods it gives me the creeps!
We were trying to think if there have been any serial killers during our lifetime, and we don't think there has been. Are mass shootings (which thank the gods we don't have here, but obviously we bare witness to in other countries) technically serial killers? We wonder what the definition is? We got too tied up in zippers and have not looked into this. And probably won't. It's all too gloomy as it is.
@cassandrafey: In conclusion this was a fantastic film that was not fully appreciated
@becksxoxo: *squawks* It’s just three hours I'm not getting back.
@cassandrafey: Much like his victims, you were robbed of time by the Zodiac.
@becksxoxo: Insensitive? Yes. Untrue? No
Anyway, Cabin in the Woods next week. Our final What If…? of the season. Always sad when things come to an end, when things finish. Will Becks cry? Gods imagine crying over Cabin in the fucking Woods. Also it’s going to be another Saturday night watch, with a Sunday morning review, because apparently Cass has other 'friends'.
Though do note, Saturday night is film night this week, because @cassandrafey is having swanky work parties that she has to get on an aeroplane for.
@becksxoxo is considering watching Snowpiercer, or What If Steve Rogers had even more train trauma? tonight instead. Alone. Abandoned by her most trusted friend. So if anyone wants to come hangout in the arse end of nowhere and watch it with me you are more than welcome. I have wiiiiiiiiiiiine.
Well, well, fuck me, well (as our good friend Sebastian would say). A series of choices were made bringing this film into fruition, and we suppose we will discuss them now.
The spirit of this week's review is summed up in the wise words of @cassandrafey who said last night, while discussing our feelings on the movie we'd just endured, "let’s not get too bogged down in the fine details...", so we won't, because the writers and director didn't seem to either.
Firstly we didn't know MTV made films, and in hindsight this is probably why. They gave it a go, good for them, but perhaps they should stick to terrible car crash tv instead.
Shall we start at the beginning when two children are told to stay put and instead break into a poor woman's house, and begin to eat it. Don't do that. We don't like to victim blame in this house, but also you sort of brought this on yourselves kids. But to share equal disgust with the witch, that oven was not suitable for cooking in. Too flamey, that's a burning oven, and no one wants burnt food. Shame on everyone involved.
We then get quite the animated montage of anti witch propaganda. Boo, but it brings us up to speed with the story we guess, and then straight into town where a man is shouting utter rot. He's accusing a woman of being a witch (haven't we all been there ladies...) but obvs she can't be a witch (as expert Hansel helpfully points out) as she is far too pretty, and witches are terribly ugly and dress as if they're from Norwegian Death Metal bands that went to Camden Market in the 00s to buy their entire wardrobe.
Can you hear the bitterness yet?
We should point out this is the first of many times Hansel doesn't know his arse from his elbow. It’s not even himbo energy, it’s just stupidity. Becks described our Hansel in her notes as 'Poundland Dean Winchester', which made Cass raise an eyebrow in question, and Becks now sees (after completing the film) that she was being far too optimistic. Also, a choice was made or maybe a hand forced, with getting the pair to use American accents in what we presume to be medieval Europe (although who the fuck knows with outfits and the weapons). Becks has decided it was down to dear Gemma to step up as we're pretty sure we've never heard Jeremy Renner do a non-american accent. Perhaps that's slander, but until proven otherwise it’s the side we're on. Come on Jezza, let’s hear it!
Cass really took to Gretel from the start. She liked it when she nutted that man, she saw it coming and loved it a lot. She also liked Gretel's hair and she thought she was also quite clever. Although Becks pointed out that, with Hansel seeming pretty dim, it’s all relative isn’t it?
They then go break into another witch's house and kill her. Turns out she had nothing to do with them missing kids, and the only crime she'd committed was identity theft, Noel Fielding to be precise. Then they nicked her stuff and talked shit about once in a generation blood moons. Factually incorrect, but go on.
We're then treated to the most horrific scene of the movie, enough to make any person stomach turn. A beer trough. A fucking beer trough. WERP. That can't be a thing surely?! Just an open trough of beer that any old fucker can stick their dirty hand (or other appendages) in and get a drink. DISGUSTING. Becks felt very strongly about this, and missed some key plot points that followed due to the rage now simmering. Cass however was on the ball, and we got to meet a weirdo kid with a scrap book, who had collected down all manner of stalkerish clippings, thoughts and feelings about his absolute faves, and put them all together in a neat book that he could keep forever. What a fucking weirdo. We definitely think that's weird and would never do anything like that...
Meanwhile a band of stupid men go into the woods at night to go hunt down a witch, where they meet a woman alone in the woods, and don't realise she's a witch, because they are fucking idiots, and as such die terrible deaths. We love to see it.
The next day we're introduced to a plot point that Cass declares dances on the line between stupidity and genius. We are of course talking about the magical diabetes. After eating too much of the witch's house and then being forced to eat more of it, Hansel now has magical diabetes, which he says he needs to take medicine for regularly after COLLAPSING (fucking takes your meds before it gets to that point you tit) but we don't really hear any more about it until the end of the film. Such good storytelling. He also does a bit of painful flirting with the white witch they saved earlier. Hansel is the worst at flirting we have ever seen. Ever. Ever. Stop talking about witches' piss. We don't like to talk on behalf of women everywhere but, come on now.
Then he buys some kids clothes, and builds a pumpkin child in the woods with a medieval gramophone, and lures in a hedgehog headed dumb dumb of a witch. Who shouts ‘help I’m alone in the woods’ honestly? It was clearly a trap, hedgehog head.
Becks has just had a small break whilst trying to write this.
The more I think about this film the more I hate it. Good gods...
Anyway, they capture the witch, who tells them the witches' plan, nice one idiot, so they are away to go find the only child born in April in the whole town (how convenient). Becks' favourite head witch rocks up though, which is nice, comes to be a bit menacing, but Cass takes it all the wrong way and loses her mind (clearly thoughts of Noel Fielding still lurking about towards the forefront…)
"I go by many names..."
Cass: Some call me Secret Peter!
"None of which you are worthy of pronouncing."
Becks loved it none the less. There was also some storytelling here, where Gretel, and her family, clearly are more linked to the witches than they thought.
Meanwhile, the other witch has Hansel by the dick, which elicited quite the response from both of us. Surprise from Cass, thrilled encouragement from Becks. She really went for it. Good for her. He did get his own back with a swift stab to the eye though, and then hitched a ride as she flew off on her broom.
Gretel then wakes up being molested by Goldilocks, as she ties to figure out the events and consequences of the night before. Becks would like to have seen Gretel give that kid a sharp smack at this point, and Cass would like to have seen her smack all types of people. That's the problem with this film, men.
Clint then shows through a little, as we find him hung upside down from a tree, moaning and generally exuding old man energy. But we don't like to compare Clint to Hansel. Because no.
As Gretel is beaten, bites a man's nose off, and is threatened with rape, Hansel gets his end off with the white witch in the pond. Quite different storylines right? It does lead us swiftly into another favourite part of the film for Cass, the part were we are introduced to the feminist troll. And what is this trolls name, we hear you ask? Well we’ll tell you. It’s Edward. Edward the troll. Who gave off creepy Ludo vibes, but out of all the men in the film seemed like one of the better ones.
Then we get told more important plot points.
"Once upon a time, near a shitty little town..." and everyone turns out to be a witch, apart from Hansel who has fucked one, so it’s sort of the same.
We'd like to say that we had sort of given up by this point in the film, although because we are professional women we did keep going until the bitter end, but our hearts and minds were not in it, so we apologise for the vagueness.
Gretel gets kidnapped again, and all the other witches turn up in their cool outfits and batman voices, then Hansel rocks up talking shit like any woman is going to listen to him, and then there are machine guns. It was a lot, and yet at the same time, somehow disappointing.
For supposedly very powerful women, they all seemed very easy to kill, and the male director really showed through with exploding heads and tits just suspended there.
Then we had the cheese wire trap. We really don't understand, if you're going to trap someone who can fly, surely you need to make your trap bigger then a few meters high? Surely just fly over it?!
@cassandrafey: What is this, We're Going on a fucking Bear Hunt?
@becksxoxo: Oooh, literary reference.
Anyway, most of them didn't just fly over, they flew through and got sliced the fuck up. Apart from the Head Witch, obvs, as she was the only one with a pissing brain in the whole coven.
Then we go back to the start, back to where it all began, the gingerbread house.
Hansel chooses to enter the building using a forward roll (and you all know how much we love a forward roll, it’s our favourite thing ever, and may have even redeemed the whole film for us.) It has inspired Cass to do this for each new place she enters, but without getting smacked in the face with a spade on completion.
We honestly don't know what happens next. There's a fight, and they managed to kill the Head Witch with the spade she smacked him in the face with. But they don't burn her, which we think will come bite them in the arse should a second film ever be made (gods we hope not).
Also look at that gif up there, alongside the context of a man saying to a woman "who did this to you?" and tell me you're confused if they're brother and sister or not. Neither of us have siblings, but we're pretty sure this is straying into Game of Thrones territory.
In conclusion, this movie was terrible.
We don't think this has been our best review ever, and we really are blaming it on the film we were working with. There is very little to comment on as the film is just so bleh. There is no substance, and very little style. We've read other people's reviews, and we just don't get it. It’s got over 6 stars on IMBD, and some high scoring reviews on Letterboxd. So many people have it down as a guilty pleasure, but we just don't get it. But if it has made you happy go for it. However, we will be enquiring as to who we need to contact to get all the time we have wasted on this film back.
Next week will be better. We're taking on Zodiac for our Bruce Banner film, with extra points as we also have dear Tony and fart helmet Quentin Beck. We shall see you then.