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Lucifer Season 4 Leaves Fans Wanting More

On May 8th, Netflix released the new season of Lucifer in its usual binge-worthy style of providing all ten episodes simultaneously. Not surprisingly, a mere 24 hours later, fans were taking to social media asking when the next season was going to happen (more on that later).

Last year, Fox cancelled the show about the fallen angel, Lucifer Morningstar (Tom Ellis), who abandons Hell and descends upon Los Angeles to winds up running Lux, a sultry night club. He soon teams up with detectives as a consultant to aid in solving murder cases, utilizing his skill of forcing people to disclose their deepest desires, much to their embarrassment.
Shortly after Season 3’s cliffhanger, fans were devastated to hear that the series was not being renewed by Fox. With the future of Lucifer in limbo, fans rallied to save their beloved devil by creating the #SaveLucifer hashtag that quickly went viral. A month after being cancelled, Netflix announced it had signed the series for 10 episodes and Season 4 was officially given the green light.

I, along with many other fans, patiently waited for the May 8th release of the new episodes. I have no shame in saying that I too participated in the binge when that date arrived, watching the first six episodes the first night and completing the remaining four the next evening. So, what did I think about Season 4? Did it live up to the previous three seasons? Read on to find out.

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-16%Lucifer – Season 4 on DVD (¡ê13.74 Free Shipping)
-16%Lucifer – Season 4 on DVD (¡ê13.74 Free Shipping)

Lucifer – Season 4 on DVD

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For those familiar with the series, you will remember that at the end of Season 3, we saw Lucifer’s devil face return and it was finally revealed to Detective Chloe (Lauren German). If you were like me, you were blown away by that scene. We’ve been waiting a whole year to find out how the detective would handle that sight. Would she accept Lucifer or turn away?

Season 4 did revisit that moment, albeit quickly. The change of networks also brought on a change in effects, so if you were really paying attention, you would notice the devil face makeup was slightly different in this new season compared to the last, but it is still well done.

If you are curious if the move to Netflix had any influence over the quality of this season, don’t fret. Not much has changed. In fact, with the exception of a few additional swear words and scenes of nudity, including Lucifer’s behind within the first six minutes of the first episode (and multiple other times throughout the season), nothing stood out to me that they couldn’t have gotten away with if they had remained on Fox, but enough about networks, let’s get on with the review.

The opening sequence of the first episode set the tone in a great way. We find Lucifer at his piano at Lux, playing a slowed-down version of Radiohead’s “Creep.” If you are familiar with the series, you know that Tom Ellis is actually singing the musical numbers he performs. Season 4 picks up a month after Chloe has seen his true face and he is concerned that she may never accept him for being, well, the ruler of Hell.

The usual cast of characters that fans have grown to love make their return this season as well. Mazikeen (Lesley-Ann Brandt), Doctor Linda (Rachel Harris), Ella (Aimee Garcia), Amenadiel (D.B. Woodside), and Detective Dan aka Detective Douche (Kevin Alejandro). This season, we were given two new characters promising to spice up the story. Graham McTavish and Inbar Lavi join the cast as Father Kinley, who wants to banish Lucifer back to the depths of Hell, and Eve (yes, that Eve), who wants to rekindle her affair with her first true love, Lucifer.

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I thought the new faces and storylines were a refreshing addition to the series. We do see a few characters grappling with their religious beliefs moreso this season after the death of a couple key characters last time. While some are trying to find love, others are surprised with a new addition of their own.

Each episode still featured a new murder case for the group to investigate and solve, all while trying to defeat their inner demons in the process. Each episode flowed nicely into the next, not losing any momentum along the way or having the viewer wanting to tune out. As mentioned above, it was easier to accept this new style of watching all the episodes at once instead of having to wait for the following week’s episode.

We see the occasional moments of betrayal, lust, comedy, and violence, but that is what made Lucifer a series adored by fans. The witty comebacks by Lucifer are plentiful throughout Season 4, as are the playful interactions he has with the other cast members.

The addition of Eve (Lavi) brings a new side of Lucifer that we haven’t seen before, which is, of course, a wonderful surprise. She excels in her role and I’m hoping to see more of her in the next season.

There are moments that the storyline did drag a bit for me. The scenes with Father Kinley and Chloe seemed to be redundant at times, but fortunately the comedy and wittiness of other characters made it easy to overlook. A character that was more prominent in the earlier seasons was Trixie (Scarlett Estevez), Chloe’s daughter. Her chemistry on screen with both Lucifer and Maze is missed in this season. It would have been nice to have seen a storyline with her, now that she is a bit older, so maybe we will have that in Season 5.

By the time we approach the last couple episodes, we have some more new faces and even more twists. Those condemned to Hell have escaped to Earth to get their Prince of Darkness back. When he refuses to return, they begin to wreak havoc on those around him. The epic showdown comes in episode 10, where we not only see Lucifer’s devil face but his full body transformed to the evil being that was still inside him the whole time. It was quite exciting to see the people possessed by the escaped spirits all bow before Lucifer in his true demon shape, sharp talon wings and all.

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Yellowstone Season 2 Episode 10 Review

“Don’t let ‘em take it away from you,” a dying John Dutton Sr. (Dabney Coleman) tells his son (Kevin Costner) in a flashback. “Not a goddamn inch.”

Many, many years later, the child-turned-patriarch sits on the porch of his massive Yellowstone Ranch home, reflecting on the recent kidnapping of his grandson and the ever-present fact that so many parties have been trying to take it all away for so long.

“My whole life is just a long series of losing things I love. I’m not going to lose this one, Rip. Not this one,” he tells his trusted ranch hand (Cole Hauser). And so begins “Sins of the Father,” final episode of Yellowstone Season 2 on the Paramount Network. Now that the Beck brothers have made their most desperate and damning play against the Duttons, the latter group is making preparations for revenge. So, with all the foreshadowing of a sorry fate for some that the past few episodes have performed, you can rest assured that yes, those very sins did catch up with a few people.

Like Dan Jenkins (Danny Huston), the local billionaire and John’s heated business rival who, after spending all of season 1 and the beginning of season 2 trying to take down the Dutton family once and for all, has found himself aligned with them and the local Native American reservation. After spotting an approaching assassin, Jenkins hides in a closet and takes them out first. A second invader catches him off guard and scores a few shots, but the target manages to take them out, too. Unfortunately, he’s not as lucky against the third killer.

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Yellowstone Season 2 DVD For Sale in UK
Yellowstone Season 2 DVD For Sale in UK

Yellowstone – Season 2 on DVD

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“I have a right to be here,” he stutters to himself while dying on his patio. “This is America!”

That it is, but in accordance with the neo-frontier philosophy that Yellowstone has espoused since day one, Jenkins’ enemies also have as much of a right to be there. This is America, after all, and in the modern wilds of Montana, the adept use of cunning and ruthlessness — along with access to some pretty massive purse strings — means that those with the more forceful approach will win.
This is something that John has known and expressed since the very beginning. It’s also something that his children, especially his sons Kayce (Luke Grimes) and Jamie (Wes Bentley), have had to painfully experience firsthand throughout these two seasons. His daughter Beth (Kelly Reilly), John’s fiercest defender, has always known this, but that doesn’t make her immune to the forces that would harm them. Literally, in fact, as she was roughed up and nearly killed by the Becks’ men a few episodes back.

Though that doesn’t stop John from ordering her to keep her hands clean of what’s about to happen — a decision that may very well plant the seeds for some new ills that the episode’s conclusion will preview. Before that happens, though, let’s get to the meat of “Sins of the Father,” which is the Duttons’ plot for saving Tate and seeking revenge against their enemies. This is what the past few episodes have been leading up to, and for anyone who’s familiar with just how gruesome and harsh Yellowstone’s world can get, they won’t be surprised by what happens next.

First, Kayce finds and shoots Teal Beck (Terry Serpico) in his own home. What’s more, the lesser of the two brothers is caught unawares while sitting on the toilet and reading the newspaper. The father of the missing boy, without the faintest hint of emotion in his face, then interrogates the bleeding man about his son’s whereabouts. When Teal exclaims he doesn’t know, Kayce shoots him in the leg. “There’s a lot of stuff I can shoot before you die,” he adds. This does the trick, because he then tells him that a local white nationalist militia is holding the boy for them. He even gives away their location.

“Don’t you know about my family? You didn’t think we’d fight back?” Kayce declares before leveling the gun at Teal one final time. Pleadingly, the latter cries, “Nobody ever fights back.”
For many (if not all) of the power brokers depicted throughout Yellowstone, including the Duttons themselves, this may very well be true. Most of their enemies, big and small, generally don’t fight back. And when they do, they find themselves bleeding to death on their own toilets, staring down the barrel of a gun. It’s an old formula for the kind of fictional fare that the series has been putting out since its first episode, but even at the end of season 2 and on the heels of season 3, creator Taylor Sheridan and company find themselves retelling the same stories.

Sometimes, it gets pretty ridiculous, like when John guns down Malcolm Beck (Neal McDonough) in the episode’s penultimate standoff. The latter repeatedly tries to shoot back at the patriarch, but with each attempted retaliation, he’s gunned down until not even his shattered wrist is physically able to lift a weapon. Then, as he struggles, John takes a seat next to him and pontificates about life and mortality. It’s a weird scene. It’s also a totally normal occurrence in this world — one that the millions of people who’ve been tuning in to watch it have endorsed with their eyeballs.

Overly wrought scenes like this one to the contrary, though, Sheridan and his team manage to eke out something utterly new in “Sins of the Father.” For starters, Kayce’s wife Monica (Kelsey Asbille) briefly abandons her characteristically moral high ground — a trait that even the malicious Beth recognizes and celebrates — and asks her boy’s father to kill the people who kidnaped them. Considering the circumstances, it’s totally understandable, but it’s also worrying. For if Monica is willing to let herself slip this once, what’s to say she won’t slip again in the future?

And then there’s Beth’s eerie proclamation to Rip, whom John adds to the property deed and gifts a home on the property to. The senior ranch hand has always been like a son to the patriarch and considering everything he’s done for the family (and for Beth) this season, it’s a nice touch. But she doesn’t see it that way.

“We’re gonna lose this place,” she declares. “I can’t fucking wait.”

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Billions Season 4 Review: Extreme Sandbox

Not only is Billions coming back for a fifth season, but co-creators Brian Koppelman and David Levien have signed a new overall deal with Showtime. This is great news for the pair, as it means they’ll have the creative freedom to create new, thrilling television for our seemingly unending age of “Peak TV.” It’s also good because, although we already knew that more Billions was on the way, now it’s practically guaranteed. This is great news because following the events of the season four finale Extreme Sandbox, and especially that episode-ending cliffhanger, audiences are going to want more from Koppelman and Levien.
From Bobby Axelrod (Damian Lewis) and Taylor Amber Mason’s (Asia Kate Dillon) ongoing battle of financial wits and war to the continued dissolution of Chuck (Paul Giamatti) and Wendy Rhoades’ (Maggie Siff) marriage, this season has been chock-full of deceptively wonderful goodies. We’ve seen apparently friendly, day-long excursions quickly turn into vengeful takedowns, the return of a fan-favorite antagonist, what could be a significant turn between three of the show’s biggest characters, and… chickens. Not all of these episodes and moments have been stellar, of course, but more often than not, Koppelman and Levien have been swinging for the fences and running home more often than not.

And then there’s Extreme Sandbox, which took everything that season four has done so well and turned up the volume.
On the lighter side of things, there’s the origin of the episode’s title – a recreational construction venture run by Mark Cuban – yes, that Mark Cuban – that lets clients operate heavy machinery for the sole purpose of destroying things. Cars, rocks, the very dirt beneath them – anything and everything can be a target. It’s all meant to be an outlet for aggression, and consider the sheer amount of crap that this season has dumped on Wendy and Rebecca Cantu (Nina Arianda), it’s no wonder that Bobby has decided to send them there for a playdate.

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Billions Season 4 DVD For Sale in UK
Billions Season 4 DVD For Sale in UK

Billions – Season 4 on DVD

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“One thing that’s come from this year,” Wendy later tells Rebecca over a beer, “I know I can handle f*cking anything. And Axe Cap? It’s mine. They really rallied around me in their own weird way. It’s the upside of being on a team, I guess.”

“I can see that,” says Rebecca. “It’s just not how I work. I like owning a team.”

Yay! People are having fun while the only thing that’s being destroyed is meant to be done in by construction equipment. This seems like a nice change of pace for Billions, no?

If you’ve been watching all of season four, let alone the three seasons that precede it, then you already know that Wendy and Rebecca’s day off isn’t long for this world. What’s more, you also know that it’s not just their happiness that will be utterly trashed by the episode’s end, but just about everyone else around them. The rest of the folks at Axe Cap, Rebecca’s efforts to take over and run the department chain Saler’s, Bobby’s ongoing battle with Taylor, Chuck’s squabbling to undo his enemies among the feds — it’s all going to be turned on its head when the credits roll and the screen fades to black.

Let’s get back to Wendy and Rebecca, then. One thinks that Bobby’s company is hers. The other believes that she’s better suiting for being in charge. As Extreme Sandbox plays out, however, the validity of these sentiments comes under intense scrutiny. For Rebecca, this arrives in the form of Bobby himself, the fellow hedge fund manager and entrepreneur she’s been dating this season. It turns out he didn’t send her and Wendy to Cuban’s venture out of the goodness of his heart. Instead, he removed her from the picture so that he could go behind her back and undo the handshake deal she made with Taylor behind his back. So instead of coming into the Saler’s board meeting as its assumed leader, she discovers that Bobby has undone all her hard work, won the board from her and, in the process, made a substantial amount of cash.

“You snake motherf*cker. You sent me off and you set me up,” Rebecca hisses at after the meeting. “I wanna run this business for real.’

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“This one wasn’t fit to run,” Bobby retorts after noting that, despite his deception, she’s still coming out on top with at least $1 billion following his snakey deal. “You climbed into bed and made a f*cking pact with my sworn enemy. But hey, as you once told me, ‘You’ll soon come to see the wisdom in this plan.’”

Needless to say, Bobby and Rebecca’s expensive, season-long flirtation is now dead. She hates him for sneaking behind her back, eviscerating her own deals and making his own. He hates her for having anything even remotely to do with Taylor.

As for Wendy, she finds herself on the receiving end of some unexpected leniency from the medical board, which had previously decided to revoke her medical license for three years. Instead, it seems they have decided to issue her a verbal warning – both because she decided to tell the truth at the hearing, and because they apparently received dozens of letters attesting to her character. That, and Bobby donated around $25 million to a medical charity to get on some of the board members’ good side. Her estranged husband Chuck also had a hand in these changes, and he willfully takes credit for them all, a move that briefly repairs their broken marriage. Once she discovers the donation and Chuck’s latest deception, however, Wendy leaves their home presumably for the last time… and heads straight to Bobby’s place.

It’s just enough to sour Chuck against Bobby yet again, inspiring the New York state attorney general to refocus his vengeful efforts on the manipulative financial guru. So while the formerly allied pair’s plans to do in Taylor and their company Mason Capital have resulted in that company’s dissolution and the return of some former Axe Capital employees to the fold, Chuck appeals to their good graces for a chance at revenge. So yes, season five will see Taylor and Mafee (Dan Soder) back under Bobby’s watchful eyes, they will also be working as sleeper agents for Chuck’s office.

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good-place

The Good Place Season 3 Is Still The Best

My friends, The Good Place is a beacon of light in this week of darkest timeline news feeds. In its third season, which premieres Thursday night, the NBC sitcom is still surprising, still meticulously plotted, and still hilarious at an extremely high velocity. It is, without question, television’s best philosophi-com, which is what I call a comedy that explores philosophical and ethical issues. I realize it doesn’t have a lot of competition in that regard, but that doesn’t change the fact that it’s earned the title.

Actually, here’s a philosophical question for you: Does humanity even deserve The Good Place? Because I look around at people — yes, I’m including the individual on Facebook who suggested that everyone should donate to a GoFundMe for Brett Kavanaugh because people gave money to help Christine Blasey Ford pay for her security and it’s only fair — and I honestly wonder if we deserve this show.

Here’s another: What if the next huge twist on The Good Place is that the world is really the Good Place and we’re screwing it up? That’s kinda, sorta, but not exactly the starting point for the third season. As you may recall from the end of season two, recovering demon Michael (Ted Danson, still an utter joy in every scene) convinced Judge Gen (Maya Rudolph, also a joy) to let him send Eleanor (Kristen Bell, yet another joy), Chidi (William Jackson Harper — yep, a joy), Tahani (Jameela Jamil, who is — you guessed it! — a joy), and Jason (Manny Jacinto, who I’ll call “a constant revelation in idiocy” just to mix things up) back to Earth in order to determine whether it’s possible for flawed human beings to course-correct without the guarantee of a heavenly destination. It’s an experiment that is much like, you know, life.

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The Good Place – Season 3 on DVD (¡ê15.68 Free Shipping)
The Good Place – Season 3 on DVD (¡ê15.68 Free Shipping)

The Good Place – Season 3 on DVD

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Thanks to some nudging from Michael, all four of his lab rats wind up in Australia, where Chidi and Simone (Kirby Howell-Baptiste of Killing Eve and Barry), Chidi’s university colleague and possible soul mate, launch a study that considers whether near-death experiences lead people to behave in a more ethical fashion. Because Michael came to Earth and intervened, the incidents that initially caused the deaths of the show’s central characters were averted, making Chidi, Eleanor, Tahani, and Jason ideal subjects for the study. Even the study itself is sparked by a bit of Michael’s manipulation: He believes that none of them can reach their decency potential unless they remain in each other’s presence.

The problem for Michael — who’s aided in his efforts by Janet (D’Arcy Carden, a joy in her depiction of robot genius) — is that every time he leaves the netherworld to ensure that the foursome stays together, there’s a chance he will alter the master timeline and cause a ripple effect of unintended changes. This is basic Back to the Future stuff that Michael would understand if he hadn’t been working in the afterlife for hundreds of years and, presumably, learning nothing about McFlys and flux capacitors. In other words, spoiler alert: Michael’s plan goes more than a little oopsy-daisy. “Because of you,” Judge Gen informs Michael at one point, “Byron Allen owns The Weather Channel now.” What other show on television makes jokes about Byron Allen’s business decisions? No others — because they don’t have the guts.

Since season one, The Good Place has repeatedly rebooted its central narrative and shifted our understanding of its setting and what its characters are capable of doing within it. That it’s still able to do this so skillfully in its third season, without ever becoming remotely predictable, is an astonishing feat. After the season-two finale, the AV Club’s Dennis Perkins wrote that “lesser TV shows give you what you think you want,” while The Good Place “gives you what you didn’t know you needed.” That’s absolutely right, and still accurate based on the three episodes I’ve seen from this latest season.

The Good Place also serves up more ridiculously random gags per second than any other show on TV, with the possible exception of Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, but I think it’s even got that beat. This season has jokes that involve BuzzFeed Kim Kardashian quizzes, Spider-Man, Ted Danson wearing an array of ridiculous disguises, dank memes, a fourth Hemsworth brother named Larry, and, of course, Jason’s beloved Jacksonville Jaguars. Trevor, the especially evil demon played by Adam Scott, plays a key role in the second episode and is given a hilarious array of characteristics to highlight what a garbage person (demonic entity?) he is. Example: He gets very excited when he realizes that the theme of a trivia night is Logan Paul. There’s also an entire sequence that unfolds in an American-themed restaurant called the Cowboy Skyscraper Buffet, an absurd, reverse-Outback Steakhouse stuffed with details that absolutely demand to be savored.

The third episode ends on a cliff-hanging note that suggests The Good Place is about to swerve in yet another new direction. I look forward to the whiplash that will no doubt set in as it careens around that next corner. Not only is this a thought-provoking, supremely intelligent series, it’s one that keeps asking, over and over, what it takes to be an upstanding citizen, which is something we’re forced to consider every day as we digest the latest headlines. The Good Place may not have all the answers — at least not yet — but it compels us to ponder what it means to have moral fiber just as often as it cracks us up. It’s an ethics lesson and a brilliant piece of escapism at a time when this country desperately needs both.

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