Law & Order: SVU – “Scavenger”

Law & Order: Special Victims Unit is one of my favorite shows. I’ve seen every episode multiple times. I’m literally rebinging the entire series right now. Seriously, I have it playing on my phone right next to my laptop right now. I’m on season 4 at the moment.

But the episode I want to discuss today is from season 6. The upcoming articles will likely not be in order either, as I’m going to pick episodes I know I really like from the start, or as I’m rewatching the series, I go “oh I forgot about this episode!”

Anyways, Season 6, Episode 4 “Scavenger” is the episode I want to discuss today. If you go to Hulu, click on SVU details and hit that handy ‘Ripped from the Headlines’ tab, you’ll find this episode. Remember, spoiler alerts.

Source: IMDb

That’s because it’s based on an actual serial killer. The episode focuses on the possible return of the notorious serial rapist and killer ‘RDK’ (Rape, Dismember, Kill). From the SVU Fandom wikia, “The detectives are in a time crunch when they try to solve clues left by a serial killer who is basically taunting them to find him before he gets another victim.” It’s seriously just a scavenger hunt.

The detectives are worried that the killer is the real RDK, who taunted the police in the 80s and was never caught. However, it’s revealed rather quickly that it’s just a copycat. A failed writer takes on the identity of a deranged serial killer, murdering two and kidnapping one. He targets mothers of young boys only, because he has mommy issues. The dude also fails to rape any of the victims.

This episode is based off the real life serial killer Dennis Rader, aka ‘BTK’ (Blind, Torture, Kill). So in January, 1974, four members of the Otero family were found murdered in their home in Wichita, Kansas. Later, in October of the same year, a letter was found stashed in an engineering book in the Wichita Public Library describing the grisly details of the Otero killings. This was the first of several killings in Wichita that lasted until 1991.

Rader, like other notable killers, sent letters to the police and media taunting them. So funnily enough, “when the episode aired in October 2004 – 13 years after the last killing and the trail seemingly long gone cold – police in Wichita, Kansas, having received a letter from BTK about a previously unknown murder, were busy making the case which would lead to Rader’s arrest four months later.”

I find that amusing as hell. But that’s not the only reason I like this episode. It’s based on a real killer – which as an avid fan of true crime – is always interesting to me. But I also like how old-fashioned this episode is. Yes, it came out in 2004, but there’s no political agenda. As much as I love current episodes of SVU, it just feels like there’s always something political to shove down your throat.

It’s just a serial killer that needs tracking down before more bodies pile up.

I am also a fan of the shots taken during this episode – namely when Humphrey is brought in and Stabler comes in to talk to him. From the minute he entered the squad room, to when he entered the interrogation room, it is one shot.

Source: NBC

I. Love. Continuous. Shots. They’re just so pleasing to the eye.

So, “Scavenger” is one of my favorite episodes. It is by no means my favorite of all time episode, but it is a great episode nonetheless.

Loads of Free Time…What to do?

As you can imagine, many of us have tons of free time on our hands due to the coronavirus pandemic, and the stay-at-home orders. If you’re an essential worker, you’re still get to leave the house.

Photo Credit: wuestenigel Flickr via Compfight cc

Me? Well I work from home writing articles. I’m applying at tons of places looking for remote work. Fun thing about journalism – a lot of it can be done from home. Very good during these times.

But of course, I’m not just sitting at home researching and writing articles all day long. No, I have a ton of free time just lounging around bored. Staring at the wall, thinking up some dumb stuff.

For example, I’m currently imagining three dragons that keep the world in balance and are pissed at human kind for destroying the beautiful earth and so are destroying humans…it’s interesting and based off a dream I had.

But also, I’m binging things like crazy. If you hadn’t already noticed, Rise of Skywalker arrived onto Disney Plus on May 4. I have yet to watch it, but I sure will be. I totally called it, by the way. When Frozen II arrived months in advance onto the platform, and there was no news on the latest Star Wars film…I just knew they were waiting to upload it on Star Wars Day.

But, I have been binging all the other Star Wars films and series. I binged MTV’s Scream on Netflix. Speaking of which, I’m kind of mad they went with a whole new cast and story for Season 3. I want Audrey and Emma back. I shipped them hard.

Source: IMDb

I’ve binged the first three seasons of House. Seriously, great show. I love Hugh Laurie. I would’ve finished the series, but I hate Amber (aka Cutthroat Bitch) but then I hate how Wilson is after (SPOILER) her death. Then I just hate the last season…I’m conflicted, okay?

I’ve gone through the last 21 seasons of Law and Order: SVU and watched my favorite episodes – still doing that. Speaking of which…be prepared for upcoming reviews/analyses of those episodes.

Source: IMDb

But I’ve also been playing new videogames. I’m kind of shy when it comes to videogames. I don’t like to break out of my bubble. That bubble is pretty much only Pokémon and The Legend of Zelda. Recently, I’ve begun playing Assassin’s Creed III, which has been remastered for the Switch. My brother said I’d like it, and since he was right about Skyrim, I decided to buy it. It’s pretty fun. I wish I had a PS4 to play the new one on when it comes out.

Ah, don’t get me wrong. I don’t just sit around all day staring at a screen! I also read books! Okay, some I read on my Kindle…but I just finished reading Stephen King’s The Tommyknockers. It was a hardback by the way. Really good book.

I really don’t get why people are so mad about having to stay inside their homes. Like, buddy…you have access to the Internet and can literally watch anything you want. Sign up for Gamefly or something and play literally any game you want. Or pick up a book. Fun fact, if you have an Amazon prime account, you have prime reading. And guess what? There’s a phone app for Kindle Reading. That’s right. Read a damn book.

Fun Games to Play While in Quarantine

These past few weeks, I’ve been keeping myself sane through movies, shows, music and video games. Currently, I have five generations of Nintendo devices in my room.

I have my Gameboy Advance, GameCube, 3DS, Wii and Switch at the ready whenever I feel the need to play some sweet video games. Some of the games I’m going to list are available on other platforms like PlayStation or PC, but I’ve only ever played the Nintendo platforms.

Literally any Legend of Zelda game.

I just finished Skyward Sword on the wii, and going through the lore again was so amazing. I love playing the games and connecting them. Yeah, it’s done online for me already but just seeing it for myself time and time again is so exhilarating. Oh, and the games are very challenging and fun to play!

Source: Ranker

Pokémon Mystery Dungeon Rescue Team DX.

All the mystery dungeons games are tons of fun. I love playing as a Pokémon. The storyline is fun and interesting and even when you beat the main quest, there’s still stuff to do afterwards.

Source: Nintendo

Ori and the Blind Forest.

The graphics in this game are beautiful. The mythology behind the game is what really piqued my interest. It’s also a little sad.

Source: Xbox/YouTube

Those funny South Park games.

I have The Fractured But Whole for the switch and it’s a fun way to pass the time. It’s South Park, so you’re probably going to be offended but come on. It passes the time at least.

Source: TheGamer

The Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel III.

I guess there’s two games before this, but I have no information on them. I’m currently playing the demo for this game on my switch. I found it while trying to find something new to play while I wait for the Pokémon Sword/Shield DLC.

It’s pretty interesting. The story is centered around main character Rean Schwarzer, now a military professor, as well as his students. It’s a turn-based battle JRPG. I love Ash and Altina.

Source: PlayStation/YouTube

If you have any suggestions for me to play, I’d really love to hear it!

Star Wars IV: A New Hope – Luke’s Journey

During the Spring 2020 semester, I took this really awesome Mythology class with one of the coolest professors at Shippensburg University. We talked a lot about Greek and Norse mythology.

But the professor is what made this class so amazing. Dr. Smith told us right off that she’s a total nerd and we talked a lot about pop culture stuff, and how it relates to Greek and Norse mythology. This includes Star Wars.

I really appreciate the number of students who liked Star Wars in the class. I sat there thinking, “I’m with my own kind!”

Well, anyways, we also talked about Joseph Campbell’s Hero’s Journey, as discussed in his book, Hero With a Thousand Faces. Later in the class, we had an assignment and for it I compared Luke Skywalker’s journey in A New Hope to the stages in the Hero’s Journey. I thought I’d share my argument with you here. Oh, and spoilers.

Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill) is undoubtedly the hero of the Star Wars saga. I mean, at least until Rey takes over following his death. But, we’re going to keep this essay contained to A New Hope.

However, for just A New Hope, I feel that Luke hit only the following stages: the call to adventure; supernatural aid; crossing of the first threshold; the belly of the whale; road of trials and; meeting with the goddess. The rest of the steps do not occur until later films, and I feel it would be wrong to force every step into this movie alone.

Luke’s call to adventure began when he and his uncle happened to buy C3PO and R2D2 from the Jawas after they escaped from the imperial forces. He witnessed Princess Leia’s transmission begging for help from Obi Wan Kenobi that was saved onto R2D2.

Luke set out to find Obi Wan on Tatooine and ask him to save Leia. Obi Wan would go, but wanted Luke to accompany him. He wanted to, but had his aunt and uncle to think about. However, upon returning home, Luke had discovered the devastating scene of his aunt and uncle burned to bones. He had nothing left on Tatooine, so he left with Obi Wan – and Han Solo, Chewbacca, C3PO and R2D2 – to find Leia together. Obi Wan would also teach Luke the ways of the Force.

Source: IMDb

Luke’s supernatural aid for his journey would then be Obi Wan and Yoda. Both are mentors to him and teach him the ways of the Force. Okay, Yoda doesn’t mentor him yet.

Furthermore, as witnessed several times throughout this film and later ones, words of wisdom from both when Luke needs them the most. They also appear to Luke as Force spirits.

Following the crossing of the first threshold is the belly of the whale. Luke enters the belly of the whale when he and the other passengers on the Millennium Falcon are pulled into the Death Star. Of course, this is a great plot advantage because this is where Princess Leia is being kept.

The Road of Trials is next. Luke, Obi Wan, Han, Chewie, C3PO and R2D2 need to hide from the stormtroopers, and they then discover that Leia is on board. Obi Wan goes to disable the Death Star’s tractor beam so that they may escape, while Luke, Han and Chewie rescue Leia. They end up getting stuck in the trash compactor with some sort of creature, and make a harrowing escape with the help of R2D2. Obi Wan sacrifices himself to Darth Vader so that the rest of the crew may escape.

Source: IMDb

The final trial in this film takes place later when Luke, with the help of rebel forces, destroys the Death Star.

The ‘meeting with the “goddess”’ step would seem to occur when Luke first meets Leia, in that Leia is the “goddess.” However, I argue that the true meeting would happen in the very last scene of the movie, at the rebel base when Luke and Han are being awarded medals for their heroism, it is Leia who is presenting them with the medals. I argue that this is the true “meeting with the goddess” step of the hero’s journey, as it is more than just Luke and the crew saving Leia from the imperial forces and desperately escaping before they are all killed.

Source: IMDb

It is the first moment of peace and calm for all of them. It is in this moment, that we remember that while Leia is also a badass warrior and kicks major ass, much more ass than Luke or Han, let’s be honest here, she’s also a the princess of Alderaan. In this sense, this ceremony is Luke’s meeting with the goddess.

While Luke Skywalker certainly meets all the steps of the hero’s journey as a Jedi, and his ‘road of trials’ can be expanded much more to include everything he’s gone through in later films, we can only properly identify a few of the steps in A New Hope.

While it could be said that within the confinements of this film alone, Luke crossed the return threshold at the ceremony, I must say that he doesn’t truly enter the ‘return’ part of the hero’s journey until after Return of the Jedi, when the Emperor Palpatine is killed and the Empire has fallen. Even then, the remainder steps are not fully completed until Luke dies and becomes one with the Force.

REVIEW: Polaroid

Netflix recently suggested I watch Polaroid, this movie about a teen who finds an old Polaroid camera that commits murder.

Okay, no, the camera doesn’t come to life and pick up a knife and goes on a spree. Rather, anyone who gets their picture taken by this camera…dies.

If you’re thinking, “hey, this sounds awfully familiar…” you’d be right. This movie is basically the adult version of the Goosebumps episode “Say Cheese and Die!” Except instead of disappearing or cars wrecking, you just die in different circumstances.

Source: IMDb

Of course, you know something’s up because the first part of the movie is about completely unrelated to the plot characters, one of which dies after getting her picture taken by her dead mom’s old camera. Then the very camera is found in the hands of the movies protagonist! Through the means of…yardsales.

The movie, well, sucks. I know I usually give bad movies a good rating, but even I couldn’t like this one. I couldn’t even listen to it in the background while working. I had to switch to Killer Klowns from Outer Space.

The characters weren’t likable. The plot was overused. And the cliches. Oh, the cliches. Terrible.

It’s a 2/10 stars from me. And those 2 stars are only given because Madelaine Petsch was in it for like 10 minutes.

Source: IMDb

REVIEW: The Lady and the Tramp

I have a ton of free time on my hands lately, so of course I’ve been spending it well: by watching a ton of movies on Prime, Hulu, Netflix, YouTube and Disney Plus.

Okay, I’ve seen a lot of negative reviews about Disney’s live action “The Lady and the Tramp,” but guys! It’s actually not that bad. The story follows really close to the original animated film we all know and love.

So, the film tells of the romantic tale of a sheltered uptown Cocker Spaniel and a streetwise downtown mutt. Lady, our fancy-girl, is voiced by the talented Tessa Thompson. She’s raised by two humans she calls Jim Dear (Thomas Mann) and Darling (Kiersey Clemons).

You know, speaking of her humans, I am really weirded out that they don’t ever refer to each other by any other name. Lady has to be a few years old by the time of the main plot. Is the movie really telling me that Jim doesn’t call his wife by anything other than Darling?

Source: IMDb

Moving on…so a dog catcher named Elliott (Adrian Martinez) is hunting down Tramp, voiced by Justin Theroux. I appreciate the absolute focus this man has on catching this one dog. Also, I’ve never seen a dog catcher in real life. I don’t know if that was just like a 50’s thing that died out or what, but they do not exist to me.

Anyways, Tramp ends up in the fancy neighborhood Lady lives in, and they meet. At this point, her humans had had a baby and they didn’t really take into account the dog. I mean, dogs are living beings, too. They have feelings and all that. You can’t go from giving one creature like all your attention and then suddenly…stop. Clearly Lady can understand them. They’re should have been a talk a long time ago. Then this whole movie could have been avoided.

After the kid is born, and Lady starts feeling abandoned (with Tramp’s words that “when the baby comes in, the dog goes out” still ringing in her head), she’s suddenly left home with the jerk Aunt Sarah (Yvette Nicole Brown). Aunt Sarah goes to muzzle her and then loses her on the street. Cause she’s a cat person and all cat lovers are evil. (Just kidding, I love cats).

So begins the journey of Tramp and Lady, in an attempt to bring the latter home. We get the iconic spaghetti and meatball scene. We get the classic rat scene. It’s all great. Love it.

Source: IMDb

On top of the amazing talent I’ve already mentioned, we also have Sam Elliot voicing Trusty, Ashley Jensen voicing Jock and Ken Jeong playing the Doctor.

Okay, so why don’t people like this movie? I thought that it was just because people hate CGI. You can’t call a movie live action and then animate stuff. But, I mean they did use real dogs. You can’t have talking animals in real life. Just parrots, and they aren’t the easiest to work with. There were a few places where I was like yeah, there’s something wonky there. But, for the most part, it was fine.

You gotta remember, this movie was made for kids. It was remade FOR KIDS. It wasn’t made specifically to cater to people who enjoyed the 1955 classic. It was made so that kids TODAY can enjoy the story, too. I don’t think the kids are going to sit and nitpick all the animation errors and compare storylines.

As I’m writing this, I’m reading reviews on IMDb. From user jayroscoe, “Get woke, go broke. Why remake a classic? And make it worse in every way? I’m tired of the PC rewriting of history. Just stop appropriating White culture and come up with new material.”

I just gotta say, how are they going broke, when you watched the movie and therefore, are paying the company who made the movie…Also, again, you remake a classic for kids today who might not want to watch older movies, and so they can still enjoy the same things we enjoyed as kids.

So the “politically correct” rewriting that this user is talking about refers to Jim Dear and Darling – an interracial couple. Which, honestly I don’t know if it was intentional or if the cast director just picked the best people for the role. I tend to feel like it’s the latter for a lot of movies and shows, although I do recognize the integrated and internalized racism in Hollywood. I get it.

Also, a lot of people are mad that Aunt Sarah’s cats have been changed from Siamese cats to gray tabbies. Their song was also changed from “Siamese Cat song” to “What a Shame.” I can see why people are mad, but I can also see the other side of it.

Source: IMDb

This may not be the case, but maybe because the cats are seen as evil, they didn’t want to associate Asians as evil by using an Asian cat breed. Just maybe, I don’t know for sure. Another possibility is that maybe they just wanted to use a breed of cats that more people are familiar with.

That’s my theory, I don’t know for sure, but I do know that hating on a movie that was made for children just because it doesn’t cater to your needs is pretty ridiculous. There were also reviews about people mad that it was supposed to be re-imagined, but so little was changed. Yet so much was changed that it ruined the classic. It’s contradictory, and again ridiculous.

Let kids movies be for kids. If you don’t like it, maybe it’s because you’re not a kid anymore and not the intended audience.

I give it a 9/10 stars. Give it a watch and tell me what you think.