My Review of The Killing Three III posted here 28th November 2012 and on The Guardian weekly on line Blog on The Killing III hosted there by Vicky Frost:warning Spoilers only read if you have seen these episodes

So:it did get better.  I was going to say good. However i still feel strangely disconnected from the Killing III.

Yes, i am growing fond of Zeuthen and the Prime Minister (Kristian Kamper) and Maya is believable too.  So is Juncker.

Also like the P.M’s spin-Doctor lady, Karen and beardy man Stoeffer.  Thats it really.

It has occurred to me that Sarah Lund is deliberately playing herself.  In that her character is unsympathetic and cold and deliberately so.

So this is what everyone, or more specifically her family, are talking about!

Yet why didn’t i care in the other Forbrydelsens? i don’t know.  Somehow i was on her side in those.

Seeing Sarah deal with Eva who may well have been hoping for some cosy girly chat, even talk of knitted booties was reminiscent of Howard & Sheldon in the Big Bang Theory reaching with puzzlement for the useful phrase “there, there”!
Poor Eva as Sarah just blanked her and told her to go to bed!

Still, Sarah is in the middle of a rather important case. A fact which her family, as per usual, seem to forget.

Of course this sorta thing never happens to male Detectives.  If rarely.  Although occasionally they will get a trip to guilt trip city:”You were never there” etc.

In most American Cop Dramas the family are inordinately proud of the Cop Dad/son/daughter. Such a Cop is akin to a priest/Marine/saviour of the modern world.

Yes, the pace of TKIII as i pointed out last week and agreed here now is frenetic yet to me flat as well.

Since all trepidation and tension of a scenario has been punctured like a slowly escaping tyre.  Since we know already so & so is dead and its all a waste of time.  Like Sarah pretty much does.

Except for the young victim whom we hope against hope will not be sacrificed. That overpowering worry and the now present invisible shooting gallery effect whereby, much as in the end of The Bridge, you are eyeing up each character, with a view to their possible dastardly demise.

Of course the skittery eyed oddly acting pathologist was dead.

We knew that once she made the phone call:probably from the autopsy bench as she lay, blood draining away to give her more time to phone?

Of course it was going to be her under the sheet. & of course cue clattering in the darkness from lurking mad murderer.

What do murderers hang about dark hospital like cavernous spaces for anyway?  Other than to engage dear Sarah on a cat & mouse chase down said creepy corridors?

Don’t think they’re staying behind to clean and polish the tiles…

So yes:the only real dramatic tension now is us waiting and wondering who’s next for the metaphorical chop.

That and the persistent worry over the child, Emilie.  Surely he wouldn’t?  We tell ourselves.  Well as Bridge watchers know and past programmes i have sadly been party to:there are no rules any more in dramas.  All bets are off.

Now that i like our alternate hero  of the piece, Robert since it isn’t really Sarah for me any more i am going to worry that he will be needlessly sacrificed just to prove his love of his daughter.  In a highly unorthodox decision to involve him.

However the mad maelstrom of the action so far has all been like that.  Question: how long and exactly where is Sarah supposed to carry around Emilie’s phone waiting for mad murder to call? As pointed out here , having to interrupt a conversation since mad murderer was calling whilst having a heart to heart with Mark was bordering on ludicrous.

Does mad murderer keep to office hours?

So fa i have to admit, all Sarah’s decidsions have been right.

However i continue to feel disconnected from this FB & Sarah Lund, even though i found myself thinking:
“She’s got her groove on & she has a new jumper!”

I really can’t aerate my brain over the perpetrator nor dwell on yet another child sex-ring/higher up in government plot.

Nor, perhaps i expended all political interest on Borgen, can i be bothered at all about the political shenanigans.(other than to note that brown-haired Rose is annoying & untrustworthy)

Beyond noting that my original take on Kristian our main politico hero was correct. he is the Prime Minister (PM) and as far as i can tell, campaigning for re-election.  On an ever eternally travelling giant bus.  With a toaster.  & that there are 8 different parties.  Nuff said.

As mentioned here:I can see this is going to be a running gag:that every episode Kristian gets bread or a sandwich from the other guys.  Just like Inspector Montalbano getting shirtless every episode!

Now, as we know, the PM’s general mooning about over photos of Emilie and increasing obsession with the case is somehow linked to either the deaths or divorce of his own family and son.

I did wonder would Karen really force him, insensitively, to visit his old family home if they had all died?  or perhaps that is exactly why he keeps it and she was pushing him to grieve properly bla blah..

Nb.  I’m finding the mood music & the intrusion of The Killing theme to be annoying, intrusive & unnecessary.  Turn it off

please. It belongs at either end of the episodes surely?

yet more cliches:
Oh no:not the old image/reflection in the mirror trope?

Boring Hallmark/psychobabble chat in car with Sarah & Mathias:
  “You left”..bla blah

Matthias is hot.  Officially too hot

Ok cliche:
Zeuthen & Maya @Carsten’s place.  Of course we want them to get back together! & Carsten is being a bit of an insensitive twat considering the circumstances!

Ah, Zeuthun & his-ex wife finally connect as she breaks down jaggedly and he comforts her…

New! My Review of Hatifum-Prisoners of War in Hebrew with English subtitles this is the original upon which Homeland is based-Warning some spoilers-this was on earlier this year in the UK on Sky Arts Channel 281

So this is the Israeli original upon which Homeland is based.  It is really really good.
Please note that there is some pretty horrific violent flashback scenes in Hatifum.

So i liked Hatifum or Prisoners of War in English. It was quiet and slow moving and all set in beautiful light.  Like it was sunny all the time.  Which it probably is.  For some reason i can’t imagine it raining in Israel.
Really enjoying Prisoners of War or Hatifum.  It is blessedly quiet.  No mood music thank God.  Not that i’ve noticed.

People don’t even speak in it that much. Yet you don’t even notice.  Whole scenes go by where we’re just watching one of Prisoner of war’s wives, Dana, for ex. sorting out and bagging up clothes, getting a quiche out of the oven, have a brief chat with her son, Hatznav about her campaigning efforts.  Then she gathers up all her papers:one of which included a letter from the American secretary of state.

Then Dana takes the papers out and puts them on top of the bin in her walled courtyard with tropical plants. She stares out of the window at the bin and you see the quiche she took out of the oven . Presumably they have it cold.

Likewise you see the wife who married her prisoner of war husband’s brother go jauntily into town.  Managing to look like a heroine in an Italian film with her huge bug-eyed sunglasses on an curly tendrilled blonde bob.
Silently, we watch from a distance from the other side of the glass pane of the shop as she goes in and asks for a new haircut from a big beautiful blond lady who looks like and elder buxom Goddess.  The hairdresser lady looks fabulous in an off one shoulder floor length black gown.  Well i say that i could not see her feet.

We watch, unable to hear, purposely, their inaudible conversation we just see our heroine, come in front of the large, engraved hairdresser’s mirror with little bottles on the counter before it.  The visual language is universal.  Our jauntily perm haired heroine is getting a haircut.

Next time we see her she is all flat haired and it’s now black.  She is wearing a white cotton shift dress with tiny flower cut outs.  She has red lipstick on and looks fantastic. But i missed her curly corkscrew curls escaping, slightly messy bob.  She didn’t look like she was in an Italian film any more.  More like some kind of Scandinavian one.

All the people’s houses have a front door with a peephole in it o far that i have noticed.  i wondered if this is an overall safety measure or just a dramatic device.  Anyway it served it’s purpose as the latter when she, all ready for her husband’s return, just stands double cheekbones almost glinting, just a few feet away from the peephole in the door.  Staring at it expectantly.  He doesn’t come.  She eventually, as the allotted time passed, come up close and peers through the peephole.

Her husband Yuri doesn’t come home.  He went instead to see his bewhiskered and elderly dad..  Who must have been in a wheelchair for the long day of their arrival.  Since he wasn’t in one at home.  So he can walk.  They hug and kiss and hug.  Sadly, her husband had overheard the psychiatrist man in the rehabilitation centre telling his friend that his wife had come to see him.  The psychiatrist mentions the other wife’s campaigning efforts and tells his friend:”You have a very special lady there, you are lucky, she was the good one, not like the other one”
Oh. dear.

Yuri’s brother is called Yaki. The curly blond haired woman has her lovely curly hair back. It’s pretty obvious she has fallen back in love with her original husband or:she is minorly obsessed, ringing his mobile continuously whilst driving her son to school.

The tall dark haired beautiful lady , Dana, has two really bad bruises on her chest.  She asks her husband about his nightmare:
“No, I didn’t have any, nobody is getting hurt” he says

Meanwhile Yuri sits at the grave of his mother and weeps in the bright sunlight.  It’s always sunny there. Well it is the Middle East.

The psychiatrist from the rehabilitation centre comes to see tall dark haired man, Dana’s husband.:
“I want you to feel safe to tell me if captors offered you anything in captivity?”.  The Psychiatrist keeps saying (well i keep calling him a psychiatrist when in the beginning i named him the Spyman)

Dana’s husband has a flashback to a man in a car:
“You remember everything?” May Allah keep you safe” (oops)

Uri meets beautiful Iris at the grave.  She invites him for coffee and ice cream:
“Do you think you might want to do this again sometimes?” She asks Yuri.  He turns her down:
“Bye, just in case you have second thoughts” (Iris says, as she gives him her mobile number)

Dana’s husband has invited he newspaper guys into play football.  We see flashbacks to him being electrocuted.  Shit, then he starts punching the men.

In a flashback for Uri we see his dead Mother before she dies writing to him. You see the pen, her glasses laid down on the page, everything.  Cool:Hebrew goes from right to left.  Uri’s Mother kisses the whole page.  Uri kisses it too.
(nice scene if a little gooey)

Aha, i knew it, Iris the beautiful girl at the graveside is a plant!  i thought she was a bit keen.  Plus she seemed oddly immune to the fact that Uri was in a terrible state, clearly suffering from Post traumatic stress, hunched over in terror and barely able to mumble a sentence.

Yes, Iris answers the phone to Uri in a darkened room.:
“it’s Ok to talk” she says “although I’m at work”….
 Israel is beautiful.  i have seen one Palestinian so far.

**thoughts on Hatifum**

In Hatifum we are introduced to the three men, the prisoners of war, very slowly.  It is not until they land that we see their faces.  Even on the plane the men are filmed from behind so we only see the backs of their heads.  At the airport their appearance is dragged out even more as they slowly walk up to the top of the steps for the final reveal.

No, it is the women we are introduced to first.  Which would be how it happened in time.  At least from the point of view of the women.

I must say that I really fell for Hatifum. I really liked it.  it was slow moving.  I nearly said at first until i realise that Hatifum doesn’t really speed up.  You just become more knowledgeable about the characters and more things seem to happen.

However there are still fairly long stretches of silence as we view panoramas of scenery and the characters’ movements.  The interior scenes are the same:people talk a little more inside than out.

There is precious few detail of Israel itself until near the end.  Before that we see only brief cobbled streets, cars speeding along leafy streets.  The occasional cafe’ or restaurant.  We can only surmise that the characters live out in the country so too speak.  In that it doesn’t seem like a city and there is lots of space and light and sunshine.  There is one scene of a bustling busy town or city with crowds of people.

Myself i found the large amounts of space, sunshine and restful slow pace of Hatifum a refreshing change and a relaxing experience.
I liked it that there was no need  to fill each scene that happened to be conversation free for a few minutes.  With annoying incidental music.

The fact that we as the audience just watched the characters going about their mundane daily tasks for long periods of time with the occasional interlude of interaction interspersed.  This was, in retrospect, realistic.

We became used to watching them the camera put us in the unwitting position of almost voyeur.  This sounds daft to describe when you consider that all films, in essence, make the viewer into voyeur.

However Hatifum perhaps made me feel like that since the action takes place  a distance away from our view.  Contrasted with this are extreme extended close up scenes where we dwell entirely on one character’s face.  During the times that they talk and are silent.  I guess you could say like the way we watch a play

Don’t let any of this put you off.  More does happen as time goes on and we, or i, really grow to care about some of the characters.    We learn more about the wives of the prisoners of war most of all.  Their lives and struggles whilst the men were away.  The way they have all come to live a new life on their own, a different one.

All the women have coped in different ways.  Without giving too much away, unusual for me and proof of how much this story reached out and tugged at me:there is a unusual dramatic device in Hatifum for one of the women.  Which together with her story and her life we watch as she lives it, really hooked my heart.

You genuinely come to care about the women.  Although your sympathy for how the curly haired wife managed may be slightly scattery and hard to pin down at first.  We come to understand what she did, whilst simultaneously feeling sympathy for those affected by it.

Hatifum is meant to be variably painful i believe, holding out on a Hollywood all rounded moment where everything is clear. (see how i’m avoiding spoilers there?)

i also particularly liked, which i usually do, the long screen time that the male characters get.  The two friends, ex-prisoners of war, who are now closer and need each other more than their wives.  We follow their progress, their trials and tribulations which are made up of the most smallest of things. The most mundane of tasks that they find to be overwhelming and near unsurmountable.  Their acute and believable emaciation, fear and trembling and obvious post traumatic stress.

How the two friends support each other unquestioningly and go off on ultimately an adventure of their own.  Like two only recently shaking and terrified mute scarecrows that slowly struggle for strength as they embark on their quest.

The stories of the men are seen apart from the women.  Yet each of their sets of stories are endearing and deep to behold.

***Hatifum Vs. Homeland***
i preferred Hatifum to Homeland.  Although they are hardly comparable becuase they are so different.  Homeland has the prisoner of war as being away for eight years, Hatifum they are away for 18 years.  Homeland was almost slick, punchy comic book caper made large from the story of Hatifum.  Its an odd translation somehow from one version to another.  The longer length of time makes what happens to the prisoners of war more believable.

n.b. i’m trying to remain spoiler free since not everyone will have seen Homeland.  Homeland was good-ish. (i wrote about Homeland on the Guardian Newspaper online weekly Blog on Homeland and posted it here)  i wrote a lot about how ridiculous

Homeland was in parts possibly it was too chock full of cliches to take more or entirely seriously.
Although for all it’s faults Homeland was sustained by it’s cast.  Particularly Brody, Claire Danes, even gruff and grumbling Saul.  Jess,, Brody’s wife i kind of forgave for being so wooden because of being so beautiful.  Jess just seemed to have been brainwashed that was all.  Into being a 1950’s housewife.  She may just have been portraying depressed.  Perhaps there are just so many cliche’s bouncing about now, that nothing can entirely be free of their eternal rebounds.

However Hatifum, being set in a completely different and unknown country brings an edge of freshness to the proceedings.  Israel is a country never seen before, for me anyway, on film.

**in conclusion**
Just as i grew to love Inspector Montalbano for the unusual trip away to a brand new place, so i came to appreciate my journey to a whole new land in Hatifum.  I found the large spaces, the light, the sunlight, the slow and leisurely pace of the action and the plain, uncluttered interior scenes all to be hugely restful.

The drama progressed at an organic pace.  By which i mean it slowly grew over time and space almost as if we were watching a simple home movie of things as they happened.

I particularly liked that there was no music..  No infernal jazz or atmospheric experimental toneless dirges to denote atmosphere.  No run away chirping cellos.  No violently played violins.  Phew.  Just blessed peace and quiet and real sounding conversations.

 It was all fascinating to learn and see.  What the buildings were like, the streets and shops.  The restaurants that looked like cafe’s.  The old stone walls and cobbled streets.  The ancient monument in the middle of nowhere.  The divided roads, segregated by wire fences.

Its a long time before we see that and discover that there is another land if you like, at the bottom of the hill, that things seem to peter out a bit and become a bit more raggedy.  Like someone ran out of materials.

For many of the episodes we only see one Palestinian who runs a cafe’ and hands the curly haired lady a pre-ordered take away meal in a bag.

The women and the men are presumably middle class and are visibly not orthodox in their clothes.  Dana dresses in very plain clothes which look fabulous on her.  Several of the women wear shorts, so this must be acceptable.   It is certainly going to be hot, being in the Middle East.

I don’t know if Hatifum has ended or that there is another series.  I wasn’t sure it had ended when it did.  Suffice it to say the last episode i saw was more than dramatic.  Then, next week, it was gone.  i looked for it in vain but to no avail.  Alas and alack i really liked it.   i actually missed the characters and the journey into slow moving sunshine and light.  That is when you know something is good.  When you believe in the characters and even worry about them a little.

I would say that there was only one, maybe two scenes that was verging on Hallmark/ Hollywood moment for me and that ain’t bad. One of those scenes i felt reached into a teachable moment.

Will Hatifum return?  i do not know.  Perhaps that was the story in itself and Homeland took the story and ran with it?  i wonder.

Homeland meanwhile is back on in the UK on Sundays @9pm on Channel 4..Six Episodes in now and its looking good…

Dear Readers:a note of a posting 23rd November 2012, Friday:Homeland Episode 6 (i think) and an added plot explanatory footnote to The Last Resort

Dear Readers,
just posted a write-up of Homeland Episode 6.  Have posted one on the first episode.  Will have to find the date of it somewhere on here.  Note to self:need a search facility on here.

Nb.  How much brilliant fantastical fun was Hunted?! It finished tonight. With great dramatic abandon in it’s denoument…

Southland, on Thursdays More 4 in the UK, is shaping up quite well however not sure yet it will measure up to the high standard, giddy even, heights of the preceding series..

Also just posted a long review of Hatifum which i have had for ages. It was on early this year on Sky Arts Channel 281 in the UK, it may be on DVD/Blu-Ray by now.

 Really rated Hatifum: it is the original upon which Homeland is based.  This is a review with no dialogue as i just couldn’t fit it all in..

Hatifum means Prisoners of War in Hebrew and it is in Hebrew with English subtititles and set in Israel.  Realise it may not be to everybody’s taste it is very slow moving, sparse even and quiet and some might say meandering but it really grew on me like roses.

New Series of Homeland in the UK Sundays @9 pm Channel 4 Episode 6:Warning contains spoilers only read if you have seen this episode. Posted 23rd November 2012

***snippets & dialogue***

In which the beautiful Palestinian handler, Roya Ahmed, has grown a British accent all of a sudden!   A posh one at that.

&Saul visit Aileen who tells him:
“23 hours in the cell, one hour to walk around, go to the crappy library or eyes are shot, look at that light!”..
Gee, does she have to be shackled hands & feet?  She bargains for a cell with a window with a view..
Carrie visit Quinn in hospital:so he’s alive!  bleep bleep. He presses his buzzer.
“I gotta get out of this dress!” he says.  Gets up and appears to be wearing a sumo wrestlers thong for some reason!  We see his bum.
“Really?, right in front of me?”
“Like you never seen a dick before?!”
err, that not the point?

Jess & Brody:
She asks him if he killed Tom as claimed by Mike.
  Brody is really running with this whole new telling the truth gig!  Thing is, its genius, it works!
Him:”The C.I.A, Tom, he lost his way, yes I did”

Brody yells @Carrie! Then Carrie & Quinn discuss him”He’s stressed:Of course he’s stressed, he’s a double agent”! Quinn:”Empower the guy”..

Super hot Estes arrives at the Country house in a a pale purple shirt with only one button buttoned on his suit.  Soul suit style.  Later i note that Estes has pointy Spock ears. But thy’re still cute.

Carrie meets Mike:
Carrie:”There’s a terrorist attack on the horizon..cease and F-ing desist!  I hope you get what you want”
 i bet you do Carrie.
“they might need you soon..”(Jess & the kids)

Brody meets the baldy fundraiser ex Vietnam veteran:Mr Henning who tells Brody:
“I don’t care much for Walden” and outlines his long term plan for Brody to be Vice President to Walden as President.
“Rex, honestly, I’m not that man, no, really!”  Still with the truth deal.
Carrie & Brody:
I knew they were going to snog!
“You know what I do feel used and played & lied to but I always feel good.  Two minutes with you and I feel good.  How do you pull that off?!  Good question.
Great line of the episode:
“I’m not mute!”  From surveillance guy in office to Quinn:relating on his mobile that:
“I’m her with the mute”! Quinn now popping pain-killers like they were Smarties.  Who knew that hospital gowns would be regarded as a dress by a guy?
***random musings***
i dunno, i’m starting to find it a bit pedestrian:kind of like terrorists R us versus good Ole military Homeland Home an Away soap opera? tragic and fairly ludicrous story of Aileen notwithstanding. eg. Would Aileen really have been left alone in that room all day to make and mend with Saul’s glasses? well i think that is how she did the deed.
Homeland received a big black mark from me last week for the completely gratuitous and unnecessary shot of young Dana in her pants. However that is pretty much, sadly, what the focus on young daughters rather than sons in dramas does seem to be for these days..
& why the resounding and oddly inexplicable silence over the so-called “terrorists” last week who clearly weren’t terrorists but a large an well trained swat but not SWAT team in their dinky WWII style black tin helmets?
Presumably showing one of the swat but not SWAT team taking off said black tin hat to show us his European/American? appearance was meant to be the killer dramatic blow?
Granted we have had our teachable Homeland moment that terrorists can look like Aileen however not that many terrorist surely are trained in teams to carry out military style operations in swat look-alike gear the aim of which was to remove a large black box which looked like an updated prop from Raiders of The Lost Ark?  
Oh yes and these so called terrorists all hang out in the States? Just perpetually training for this moment? a chance to don their beloved black tin hats perhaps..
My first thought was:having seen this plot subversion/surprise once before in a Drama, that it was a black-Ops super duper secret swoop from an equally super duper secret side of the Americans? and yet why kill all or most of the crew there? 
Just to avoid them seeing the dreaded box and turning into fiery skeletons a’ la Raiders of the Lost Ark?!cue complete plot twist and turn and serious questions asked from the CIA about who exactly is controlling/watching who? i predicted:however nothing..
& what was/is in the box? we were meant to presume explosives however we don’t know that for sure and if they weren’t ‘terrorists’ which i doubt then they were already watching and aware of the tailor from Gettysburg..
Wasn’t here talk of a mole in the first series???
Plus Brody never ‘fessed up his part in saving Abu Nazir from gettin sniped, did he? you would have thought they woulda put two & two together on that by now?
Why the special ops team would consider it necessary to kill or seriously injure the CIA lot remains quite a quandary   Just to get the box out?  As mentioned, i have seen this surprising and shocking scenario before in a drama, possibly The Unit.  As a dramatic device its very powerful.  i am surprised that the C.I.A lot were so accepting of a bunch of highly trained mysterious black tin heads swooping in and out.
Beyond being upset at the carnage and Carrie going all standard big bug eyed and contorted crying of face:nary a questioning word was said about it.   Mysteriouser and mysteriouser..
Instead we are forced back into the hum-drum life of a double agent spy congressman and his daughter’s more than pressing problem of having been in the car that killed someone.  Which really, in spite of her moping and mooning about somewhat, barely is creasing her furrowed brows.
Then we have Carrie & Brody meeting in the clearing in the forest glade outside the country house where Brody and the other rich and or politicos are meeting for a questionable fundraiser.  Why does this fundraiser involve staying at a house in the middle of nowhere in the coldish looking American countryside which surprisingly involves pool parties?  Its all very odd.
Just to ramp up a bit of excitement in a dull and plodding episode where the son, note, is invisible as always, we have to witness some Sexual.Tension. & the inevitable file under it writes itself: snog.
To further inject officially interesting into a pedestrian plot this week we are subjected to the boring take over of a strand of the story by gruff Gruffalo of voice, Saul.
Kindly, fatherly, Uncle Saul. Who we are meant to believe gets up close and personal and emotionally opens up to a convicted would-be terrorist.  Who was plotting against his country.  All on the basis of them getting along and having a nice jolly chat on their road trip back to super-max and a cabin-like windowless cell and shackles for feet and wrists whenever she came out.
Yes, ’cause Saul is just like so kind and human.  Humane even, compassionate.  He just always chats about his marital problems to terrorists.  Or maybe its just the pretty girl terrorists.  i dunno.  Perhaps its all a play.  His play.  His kindness however and possible loss o perspective is what gets Ailen killed. Or rather allows her to kill herself.  With a pair of glasses he left behind.  It really wasn’t clear.  He definitely brought paper cups for the red wine. 
 Poor Aileen.  Would be terrorist or not. i wouldn’t have liked to live like that either.  Well unless they let me have paper and pen.  Pretty sure she wasn’t getting out in a very, very long time, like never.

*footnote* from Series 1

Regarding Aileen i remember how her husband Raqim, was shot from outside the house when standing inside in a hail of bullets and how Aileen escaped a trip-wire rigged to explode the house.  Now none of that was the work of the C.I.A was it? They didn’t even know about Aileen and hubby at that point. It has to be the black tin hat men, who must be another set of mysterious operatives?..

Even if the C.I.A did know about the pair, Aileen and Raqim, and we weren’t in on it:does trip-wires and machine gunning people inside their homes seem likely methods of operation for the spy lot? methinks not..

Find here:Review of Arrow & The Last Resort-Dear Readers:news of a posting:The Killing 3 or III as it is being entitled plus Southland is back and other TV stuff I’m watching:Reviews of The Last Resort & Arrow-posted today, Monday 19th November 2012

Dear Readers, i just posted a review on the new and last ever series of The Killing which just started in the UK on BBC4.  First two episodes were yesterday, 18th November.  My posting dated today gives a review i posted on the Guardian weekly Blog on The Killing III and my own further notes only posted here, at the bottom of that post.

Other TV news is that Southland is back: yey!  Just started last Thursday at 10pm on the channel More 4.
I have written at long, quite loving length about Southland here previously.  Too early to tell if this new series will reach the heights of the last few.  I really rated it.

***The Last Resort***
Other good TV i’m watching at the mo is something called The Last Resort which should be rubbish and would have been but for the really good actors in it.  The hero is the Captain of the submarine:Captain Marcus Chaplin (Andre Breugher) who once was Frank in Homicide, Life on The Streets. It also has the guy in it from the likewise far better than it seemed:The Unit.  Mainly because The Unit was filmed by Ridley Scott& directed by Tony Scott.

The guy from The Unit plays the same role he did in that:which is the sergeant in charge of the men.  On the submarine he is called the Cobb.  He too, like Captain Marcus Chaplin is electric on screen.  In fact they pretty much carry the whole thing between them.  Plus The Last Resort is pleasingly butch and manly.

 Although it does have some cringe worthy officially Hawaiian appropriate cultural moments in it.  Officially Hawaiian whilst obviously not Hawaiian at all beautiful woman who falls for the oh so handsome Navy SEAL guy takes him to the special place where her brother will “have his initiation ceremony tomorrow, into a man” of course it is a special lagoon “only for the men” cue them both dis-robing and jumping in for the inevitable watery snog..

There is dark stuff too.
Whilst t is all a bit ludicrous but not completely so:this could, you feel, really happen & the Captain of the submarine acts the rest of them off the screen, loving every minute of his role as Commander of rogue submarine being pursued, wrongly and inexplicably by his own Navy and conniving baddies back in the White House…

There is also an eponymous United nations Frenchwoman who astounds everyone by knowing exactly how to plot a chart and every inch of the depth of the harbour in which the submarine has to successfully run by the American flotilla hunting it after it having picked up mysterious suitcases for the equally evil gangster guy holding three crew men from the submarine hostage..

***footnote***More background to the plot
Perhaps i should have explained, having somewhat run away with the plot.  They are all jolly and happy in their submarine in the beginning, which signals of course that sometime very soon it is all going to go horribly wrong.  Swanning and swooping around the seas in a submarine by the way manages to look great fun.  To cut a long story short they are given some rather odd orders to nuke Pakistan shortly after having picked up some sweaty large and spooked out SEAL guys from a rubber dinghy in the middle of the sea.

 The SEAL guys of course will not tell them anything about their naturally secret mission.  The SEAL guys for some reason seem to be a bigger size in scale to the submarine guys.  Possibly it is an advantage to be a bit smaller to work on a submarine.

The main SEAL guy is seriously handsome and is our kind of alternate hero of the piece.  He mainly pouts a lot and tried to look thoughtful and pondering whilst he knocks back shots at the Hawaiian bar.   Ruminating on his terrible combat memories and dreadful deaths he has seen.  Most particularly his mate who he has insisted should be stored in the freezer of the bar.  But i digress..they’re not in Hawaii yet.

The happy scenario having been established and it is signposted that there are women on board as part of the submarine crew.  Then Captain Marcus Chaplain and his right hand man the Commanding Officer (C.O) who is, of course, hoping to get home soon to pretty blonde haired fiance at home and not be a submariner any more, shortly receive orders to nuke Pakistan. err..

But wait, this order have been relayed through the “Antarctic channel” a most unusual method and one supposedly only used when America has ceased to exist.  It is as an emergency channel.  Since Captain Marcus Chaplin and his CO both have the special keys to unlock the missiles for this order they decide, half-way to doing this with their keys inside, to check the order.  By bringing up American TV to check and calling the bosses back State side.

Strangely, the bosses back in the Whitehouse confirm the order and both
men decide to disobey.  They disengage their keys and thence engage in some pretty nifty sailing under the seas to escape their then imminently threatened demise from umpteen missiles fired by their own Navy.

Luckily, and somehow this escapes being a cliche: the submarine is equipped with a special cloaking device designed by a clever and beautiful weapons expert back in the States who tracks their progress and follows leads from various contacts who don’t last long and disappear with sudden shellfish allergies. The beautiful weapons expert alone knows the truth that differs from the news on TV which is declaring the sub to have gone rogue and the crew to all be terrorists and the Captain and his CO to have committed treason.

 The beautiful weapons expert tells a kindly grey-haired Admiral who is the Dad, of course of the woman Commander on board.  Naturally the woman Commander is all quiet and shy at first and gets empowered and assertive along the way. I’ve called her a Commander since i don’t know the name of her job.  She has authority over the Cobb however.

 Meanwhile the C.O’s fiance back home is detained for questioning by the American government but is eventually released and she too decides to fight back, after looking all woeful and winsome and crying, by shouting at all the journalists camped out on her lawn that she is an American Citizen and demands the truth.

 There is some complicated stuff involving the United Nations army on Hawaii who have really great camouflage in blue and grey.  So the submarine ends up in the bay of a beautiful Island in Hawaii.  Captain Marcus Chaplin will not give in…

There are more dastardly deeds untold by me and the plight of the French United Nations lady who has stayed behind after all of her crew left in order to help the submarine guys with her chart reading skills is not looking good.  Since the evil gangster guy is threatening her unless she brings him proof of mineral riches in the beautiful hills of the Island.

Already the French United Nations lady has lied to the gangster of the island, bringing him wrongly coloured water filled test-tubes. Now she has taken the admittedly nice and handsome C.O who she has rather a crush on, up to said hills declaring their beauty and telling him that he has the power in the Island now…

Hopefully this sizzling yarn won’t descend into some maudlin new Eden style scenario: hence the women crew?..

 Likewise the new series Arrow is hugely enjoyable and has the added bonus of completely daft Lost-type flashbacks to our heroe’s time shipwrecked on a desert Island and looked after by a mysterious bearded Japanese man in a cave all the time hunted by quick-fire giant net traps set up by mysterious other men on the Island.

  All great fun except for the syrupy meaningful moments/required human interest parts in it.  I go make a cuppa tea in those.  All the men in Arrow are incredibly handsome:so much it almost hurts your eyes.  However you get used to it after a while.  So far only the hero’s bodyguard (ex-Marine from Afghanistan) had been let into his deep dark secret which is that he is not just a shallow , clubbing, warehouse buying socialite billionaire miraculously returned from declared death at sea.  he is really Arrow, super duper arrow-shooting building climbing, flying and jumping crusader and killer of the bad guys of the City.

You see Arrow has a list:of all the men who have wronged his Dad who unfortunately thought it was the right thing to do to put a bullet in his own head whilst still floating at sea on the life raft.  Arrow has all these names written in his special diary which he takes out and naturally crosses the names off, one by one as he takes his revenge on those named..  Quite when he filled the book in or became party to this knowledge whilst on the Desert island wherein he is pictured in a flashback finding the blank diary on his dead Dad:is not clear..

Still, Arrow must be the baddest and the coolest bad ass semi-super hero in town for a very, very long time..I lke the touch of Batman about it. Of course he has a workshop where he makes incredible gadgets and peruses his computer screens and does upside down pull-ups from a beam in the ceiling with no shirt on whilst carrying long loops of chains!  No, really!:)
 Oh yes & Arrow doesn’t have a disguise:he just wears a hoodie!

New! The Killing III (Forbrydelsen III) last series on in UK Saturday BBC4 @9pm-two episodes back to back-started Saturday 18th November 2012-This review posted also on weekly Guardian Blog on The Killing III

The Killing III First episode posted on The Guardian Blog Sunday 18th November 2012
Warning:contains spoilers only read if you have seen these first two episodes.

Oh, C’mon, i think from a quick scan here that it may just be myself and Mike65ie who agree that this was deeply disappointing, faintly ludicrous, chock full of so many cliches bounding and rebounding about the metaphorical and tiresome plot as to resemble the scene in the Big Bang theory in which Sheldon and Leonard try to find each other in a children’s ball pit play pen…

Perhaps it was the excitement of the anticipation and the high level of expectation attached to my viewing of the first episode of the Killing III. My near heroine worship of our indomitable Sarah Lund. However i remind myself now of the near Eastenders on a holiday feel and disappointing parts of Forbrydelsen (FB) II.

Perhaps FB II was even then, much as we were swayed with it’s dark dealings and the inscrutable Strange which almost absolved it, hovering perilously over the eponymous shark?

Sorry but for me I just found Lund in this to be mostly incredibly annoying. The first few scenes which were indeed tiresomely cliched (old be-grizzled cop when she is obviously neither gets long year service and due to settle down in boring office job) Lund seemed determinedly fixated on the wondrousness of getting her Diploma and a ceremony which involved her dressing up in uncomfortable and for her, usually tedious dress uniform.

“But i have to go back to the ceremony”! she kept insisting to stock square-jawed policeman from her past from special Branch. Really Lund? I mean really? Had she been put on a course of Mogadon come tranquilizers or something? Carrie in Homeland after 6 weeks of Electro-convulsive shock treatment was more lively than Lund..Had Lund been hypnotised or something into liking office work? never mind Diplomas and Ceremonies?

Ditto Lund’s halting and most un-Lund-like apology/Hallmark moment to her son Mark on the ‘phone. Yes, I know we were meant to feel moved and sympathetic but it didn’t work. Like most of everything else for me in this first episode.

 The politicos speaking unnaturally loudly and perpetually walking and plotting. Been there. Done that. Don’t care. Didn’t even care to figure out exactly who was who which was made frustratingly unclear. For a long while I was convinced that “Zeeland” was a minor country or far-flung part of Denmark!

It was too similar and cliche ridden with other cliches yet eternally re-cycled from Borgen, FBII, The Bridge, and so on..& yet another preternaturally adolescent in appearance small girl has to get kidnapped and put at metaphorical risk. Kidnapped through a hole in the “security fence” whilst other times she is free to wander in a large Forest? Cue the usual shots of her bed, her clothes, even her little Kitty collections..

Bit worrying that the surveillance carried out by the big baddie seemed to include her bedroom somehow? Otherwise how did they know she liked cats? Question:why is it always young girls/teenagers who are the victims in these horrific murder mysteries? is it ever a boy? nope. Cue, yet again, a’ la FBI, the multiple hidey holes and torch-lit moments and concentrated shots of her beds and pathetic hand-prints and scratched name on the wall..

I will try to take it seriously and consider possible perpetrators however it all seemed to in your face and peaked too early for me all in one episode and Lund seemed to take forever to come out of her dazed and fixated on family and gardening and meaningful moments stare. She was even shown bargaining over a wheelbarrow at the first killing site! Hugely unlikely and rather unprofessional:what?

p.s I never thought i would say this but i started to find the ‘plinky-plonk’ music signifying a clue has transpired into the ethereal ether of Lund’s existential moment frozen on screen to have become just plain annoying..

further comment posted on Guardian Blog 19th November 2012
So:any good reason at all for the viewers to see sarah Lund on the loo?
My answer would be nope:other than an excuse top get an actress’s pants down.
& if you don’t think that is sexist then can you imagine showing a male character likewise?

**My Blog notes***

Nb. it is pretty much heresy to dare to describe The Killing as not very good, as i have with these first two episodes of The Killing III Indeed my posting on the Guardian Blog was summarised as such. Perhaps it will improve.  However in the space of two episodes we have already discovered the mad murderer’s (or is he?) lair, two torture victims, one sailor who jumped in the sea and met some inexplicable death by speedboat. I’m guessing it was via the propeller or do outboard engines still have those?

 Then we had multiple politicos, striding and strutting about, all mostly male except for a female spin-doctor (i think) all in really nice suits and suitably slim.  Nobody funny and human like the large politician in FBII.  I counted one very incredibly suave cardigan.  Every politician has to go to great lengths to travel out to the seaside for private talks.  Much as it is interesting for a while to see windswept Danish seaside near industrial areas one does wonder why politicos never can just find a quiet corner for a chat?

It was hard to feel any sympathy for the various politicos or engage with them since we knew absolutely nothing about them or even their politics.  Veterans of Borgen will be familiar with this type of set-up and remember that vague terms such as “the central party” may not mean anything like we may think it does.

 It was quite a long time before we discerned that one of the politicos was in fact the Prime Minister.  Well i thought he was until it transpired that his lady love, another undefined minister or party member was plotting with him to nominate him as the Prime minister.

 Think i have that right. Hard to keep interest in that side of so far.  He is meant to be a nice politico i believe since he makes fair sounding statements about some kind of political hot potato of the day linked to the even vaguer sounding “financial crisis”.  Then he kept staring off into the distance whenever the kidnapped child was mentioned which we were meant to take as him having a heart.  He also scuttles off for various semi-clandestine meetings with his afore-mentioned lady love of brown hair and some other party.  For some reason they can’t declare their love or their political plot yet.  Couldn’t really tell which.  That side of it too, was hard to maintain interest in.

Meanwhile, back at the ranch or rather the extremely large house in the forest lives the head of the company Zeeland, whose house is so grand you believe it is he who is the Prime Minister,,but no.  He has really great suits, the best of all the men, the politicos that is.  Black with startlingly white shirts.  Which become slowly more dishevelled as time goes on.   He also appears to be a sympathetic character on the grounds of caring deeply for his daughter of long flaxen hair who wanders off into the forest from whence he has to call her.

This is starting to sound a bit Brothers Grimm.  He has a son too, but of course, as in most dramas, the son barely gets a look-in and it will be the daughter to whom horrible things happen and or is the apple of Daddie’s eye.  All a bit icky really..

Throw into the great big pot an illegal Eastern Europen brothel in town that becomes linked with the van of the kidnapper, umpteen various ladies of the night pulled in for questioning into the Police station, the eponymous stereotypical snarling pimp describing how he so very generously took some girls to live in an abandoned garage since;”all the properties in town have been re-possessed” Geddit:link to the financial crisis.

  & there you have it:just about every Police procedural/ murder mystery drama cliche that has ever been…
Oh, forgot the of course divorced state of our main hero the Dad whose daughter has been kidnapped:cue beautiful and estranged wife blaming him and each other for it happening.  Sigh..

it is possible that i was a bit bored i realise, to have noticed such things as the mens’ suits and their actual colour and the presence of a very British looking cardigan and shirt ensemble sported by the man on the staircase talking to one of the politicians who is asked to hand over his sandwich..