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Excellent.
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Discussion Starter · #62 ·
I was going to post that as well. Here are a couple more reads:

Interview with creator Dan Erickson, EW.com:


Interview with Britt Lower, Vanity Fair:


Both Erickson, in the EW interview, and Stiller, in the RS interview, say that Erickson wanted to reveal a little more at the end of season one, but Stiller felt like where they ended it was the best choice, dramatically, and convinced Erickson to hold more back. Stiller has said this before, but it's still cool to read Erickson confirming that he knows the answers to all the stuff we are wondering -- what the MDR team actually do, how Gemma came to be Ms. Casey, what the goats are for, etc. We're not being shown things just for WTF purposes.
 

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Excellent.
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Discussion Starter · #63 · (Edited)
That was brilliant.
A few more substantial thoughts:

This was a wonderfully-directed and -edited episode. Steadily increasing tension throughout as we cross-cut between Irving, Mark, and Helly, wanting them to get to the point of learning or doing or saying the things they need to, and then back to Dylan, barely hanging on to the levers, and then time running out as Milchick works on gaining access to the security room. Edge-of-your-seat stuff. I was rapt the whole time. Of course this was all blatantly manipulative of us, and I have to imagine they put it together with at least a bit of a chuckle -- I mean, did they really need to make us wonder for so long whether Cobel kidnapped the baby? -- but it all worked to perfection.

I agree with @kaszeta about Britt Lower's work in this one. As Helly R. wakes up and realizes who her Outie is and what she's been up to, we get that closeup of Lower on the elevator descending to the party and the expressions washing across her face are devastating. And then we get the scene in the bathroom, following the visit by her father, as Helly stares into the mirror and recites the apology koan from the Break Room. Of course she knows it by heart, having been made to say it 1,000 times, but ironically this is the first time it has any meaning for her, and she couldn't mean it more in this moment.

At first I thought maybe it was a leap for Cobel to suspect Mark S. was now present -- she clearly thought something was up even before he called her "Ms. Cobel" and not "Mrs. Selvig" -- but then, who would know the difference better than she? She has plenty of time spent with both Marks and thus would pick up on differences in their affect that no one else would.

Dylan has three kids, at least if Milchick is to be believed. I liked the realistic detail of Dylan's glasses sliding down his nose; we see them almost at the tip as Milchick is trying to break in, and bribing him with knowledge like his kids. He'd perspire a bit with the exertion of holding the switches on, and then of course his glasses would slide down. Nice touch.

Poor Irving. He comes to and finds out he lives a tortured life, and then tracks Burt down and finds out that Burt... does not, and seems happy. Of course, in the process, we get the knowledge that Outie Irving seems to have been doing some digging into Lumon himself. (This was the one place I thought the episode was a bit inorganically-plotted: Irving was able to move pretty quickly from "where am I" to finding out where Burt is, with the help of a convenient map that was conveniently-marked for Burt and in a conveniently-findable place, etc. Not entirely sure I bought all that, but it's a nit.)

I saw a supercut of all of Dichen Lachman's scenes this season. She was in the eight episodes for eight minutes total. That's quite something for a main-title credited actor. Seems like we'll be getting more of her next season, which is A-OK with me.

I think they've done a good job with Ricken. He's kind of a ridiculous character, but as we see in this episode, he knows he's ridiculous. (He tells Mark, "I know how I come across to you.") And still quite human at the end of the day, with his self-loathing about his public speaking ability, for instance.

Back to Helly R: "I'm going to kill your company." Wow. You go, girl.
 

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I am Groot!
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Of course this was all blatantly manipulative of us...
That was the one thing that bothered me about this episode, and really cut back on the tension for me. It was all too artificial/scripted to have any real sense of stakes.

But it was all very well acted and directed. I just wish the story structure had been on quite the same level, instead of being so...structured.
 

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They never showed us what was in Dylan's award box. I was 100% sure it was going to be something that would help him keep the two switches open but then... nothing!

Argh!
 

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They never showed us what was in Dylan's award box. I was 100% sure it was going to be something that would help him keep the two switches open but then... nothing!

Argh!
It was one of those laser-engraved glass portraits of the four of them. It was from the picture Mr. Milchick took when Helly joined, i think.
 

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If the show was about Scientology, wouldn't Helly be fat?:ROFLMAO:
Ha! In real life David Miscavige's is the current leader of Scientology and his wife Shelly Miscavige AKA Helly has been mysteriously not seen in public since 2007. Some people say she has been locked up in a Scientology prison so to speak.
Neck Sleeve Gesture Collar Tie
Television presenter Dress shirt Sleeve Gesture Blazer
 

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All About Footwork
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Now if only Dylan had brought some tape to put on those levers then he could have held the door closed. Next time!!!
Of all the meticulous planning, they really didn't think of a better way to hold the levers open? seriously? that fat short guy motionless in that awkward position without a single flinch for an hour is absolutely impossible. And his glasses remained at the tip of his nose the entire time!

That was totally ridiculous.
 

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Of all the meticulous planning, they really didn't think of a better way to hold the levers open? seriously? that fat short guy motionless in that awkward position without a single flinch for an hour is absolutely impossible. And his glasses remained at the tip of his nose the entire time!

That was totally ridiculous.
I chalk it up to "it makes for better TV this way."
 

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Excellent.
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Discussion Starter · #75 ·
Of course. If he could have held the switches open indefinitely, all the tension drains out of the episode. Besides, they were limited to what they had in the MDR room, which was almost nothing, and since Dylan was escorted to the Waffle Party by Milchick, it's not like he could have carried anything besides his reward box anyway.
 

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Agreed. The entire season was great, but the finale was easily one of the best individual episodes of TV I've seen in a long time. The entire thing was perfectly executed from start to finish!
I only saw the finale tonight after bingeing it for the last few days. And I agree, what a tour de force. It was a 40 minute clinic on directing, acting and editing.

In regards to the second season, I feel a bit strange saying this, but I'm almost content with them leaving it all as-is. Leaving it to our imagination as to what happens to all those involved. Not everything needs to be spelled out and dragged out for us.
 

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Discussion Starter · #78 ·
In regards to the second season, I feel a bit strange saying this, but I'm almost content with them leaving it all as-is. Leaving it to our imagination as to what happens to all those involved. Not everything needs to be spelled out and dragged out for us.
While I know what you mean, I would have wanted the plot knob turned a bit further to the right if that had been the series finale. I agree, I am content to let some mysteries remain mysteries, but I would have wanted to know a bit more about the fate (or the direction of fate) of our characters were we not to get any more.

As a season finale, though, that was incredible.
 

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While I know what you mean, I would have wanted the plot knob turned a bit further to the right if that had been the series finale. I agree, I am content to let some mysteries remain mysteries, but I would have wanted to know a bit more about the fate (or the direction of fate) of our characters were we not to get any more.

As a season finale, though, that was incredible.
I hear ya. What they really needed was a a nice long episode 10. As for season 2, I might be interested in a prequel of sorts. Showing us how they got to where they were. Especially Mark and his wife. But if nothing has changed and they're all back at their desks, I'd be a bit less enthused.
 
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