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Author Topic: The Frankenstein Chronicles S2 reviews  (Read 132 times)

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The Frankenstein Chronicles S2 reviews
« on: November 02, 2017, 12:26:37 AM »
Review: The Frankenstein Chronicles (S2 E1/6), Wednesday 1st November, ITV Encore
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NB: SPOILER INSIDE

The Frankenstein Chronicles was an exceptionally dark re-imagining of Mary Shelley’s infamous tale, starring Sean Bean as Detective John Marlott. What began as a relatively straightforward murder procedural descended into something altogether more grim and twisted, and was well received by fans and critics alike on its debut run. The period crime drama now returns to ITV Encore for its second season, and after the shocking revelations that ended the first season, what fresh madness lies in wait for John Marlott?

We return to London in 1830, three years after the shocking revelations of the murder investigation that led Marlott to the gallows, only to be ‘reborn’ at the hands of Daniel Hervey. Marlott is now incarcerated in Bethlem Asylum, trapped within his own mind searching the vale beyond death for the remnants of his past life that might bring him back to reality. Reverend Ambrose discovers him there and realises who he truly is, only to be cast out by the man driven almost insane and unintelligible by the brutal electric shock treatment he has been receiving as a ‘cure’. But the impact of his presence jolts Marlott back to sanity, wrenching his chains free and brutally killing a guard before making good his escape from imprisonment.

Reeling from his treatment at the asylum, he returns to the place of his rebirth and recalls his treatment by Hervey; there he finds Jemima (Vanessa Kirby) alone, who implores him to seek out Daniel and exact his revenge. Alas, this was all but a dream – Marlott wakes from slumber on the verge of reaching the slums of London. Marlott finds his way back to Ambrose, who provides him with a safe place to rest at his church, where the Reverend beseeches John not to lose faith in God. However, John no longer knows his own place in the world; “I’m not John Marlott. He’s dead,” is his reply. Ambrose sends him out to meet the seamstress Esther Rose, who fits John out in some less distinctive clothes than his recent prison attire. Their sweet interaction suggests this isn’t the last we’ll see of Esther this season.

Elsewhere, Sergeant Nightingale is tasked to investigate the murder of an Archdeacon – a headline slaying that is causing serious political divisions as both the Parish Watch and Metropolitan Police struggle for investigative control. Talk is abroad of a lunatic freshly escaped from the local asylum as a potential suspect, and upon visiting Bethlem it’s not long before Nightingale is connecting the evidence that suggests Marlott survived the gallows. The warden advises the Sergeant that Reverend Ambrose was the last man to see the convict before he escaped – but before he can delve deeper into that mystery, poor John awakes back at the church to find it on fire and the unlucky Reverend horrifically eviscerated on the altar. As he escapes once again, the Parish Watch see him disappear – and so, the hunter will become the hunted. But there’s one final twist of the knife – a figure stalks John’s cell at Bethlem and by the candlelight is revealed to be none other than Hervey himself. The game is afoot…

It’s a suitably sinister return for the series, and with all the key players re-established before the episode ends, it’s looking like this will be another rollercoaster ride through the dark streets of London as both men will face their fates.
https://thekillingtimestv.wordpress.com/2017/11/02/review-the-frankenstein-chronicles-s2-e16-wednesday-1st-november-itv-encore/




The Frankenstein Chronicles is very atmospheric but a long way from its roots - review

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The ageing action hero Sean Bean is enjoying a fruitful second chapter of his career, playing craggy-faced anti-heroes whose woes are written all over their care-worn features: from Game of Thrones’ Ned Stark to the troubled priest in Jimmy McGovern’s Broken. Now he’s returned as anguished ex-cop John Marlott in The Frankenstein Chronicles (ITV Encore). 

As the period horror-thriller began its second series, three years had passed and it was 1830. Former river policeman, military veteran and wrongly convicted murderer Marlott was chained up in Bedlam hospital’s wing for the criminally insane, a broken man haunted by disorientating visions of his dead family.

He soon escaped, a little too easily for my liking, to seek revenge on dastardly Lord Daniel Hervey (Ed Stoppard), who he suspected of being a bodysnatcher, human butcher and corpse re-animator – not to mention the man who framed him. Meanwhile, a string of grisly clergy killings were sending shockwaves around Regency-era Westminster.

This episode ticked off many of the period crime tropes familiar from such series as Taboo, Ripper Street and Peaky Blinders: dim lighting, grimy locations, tweedy styling, plentiful hats, bursts of viscerally gory violence.
 
A classy supporting cast hinted at intrigue to come: German aristocrat Frederick Dipple (Laurence Fox) looked villainous and widowed seamstress Esther Rose (Maeve Dermody) was a potential love interest. It’s shaping up as a battle between church and state, with Marlott somewhere in the middle.

It’s very atmospheric but The Frankenstein Chronicles is wandering a long way from its roots as a re-imagining of Mary Shelley’s novel. Someone needs to stitch some body parts together or put a bolt through a lumbering green monster’s neck soon, or this series could be accused of false advertising.
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/tv/2017/11/01/frankenstein-chronicles-atmospheric-long-way-roots-review/?WT.mc_id=tmg_share_tw






« Last Edit: November 02, 2017, 04:50:13 AM by patch »

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Re: The Frankenstein Chronicles S2 reviews
« Reply #1 on: November 09, 2017, 09:15:24 AM »
Review: The Frankenstein Chronicles (S2 E2/6), Wednesday 8th November, ITV Encore
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NB: SPOILERS INSIDE

The Frankenstein Chronicles returned last week with a fairly meandering revisitation of the original series’ characters and environment. Luckily for viewers this week, the plot of the previous season was mostly left on the shelf in favour of new characters and a new mystery, as the former detective John Marlott became embroiled in a deepening conspiracy of murder as the Church and State battled for control over London.

We caught up with John Marlott, still reeling from the brutal murder of Reverend Ambrose. While he lurked in the shadows of Pye Street avoiding capture, control for the crime scene rapidly degenerated into a pitch battle between the Parish Watch and the Metropolitan Police. The Parish Watch were keen to propagate the story of a demented monster as the assailant – but Sergeant Nightingale was unsure, having found John’s locket on Ambrose’s body before being forcibly ejected from the church.

Last week we were introduced to the seamstress Esther Rose, whose role seems increasingly to provide an intersection between the story of John with a new plot and potential villain – that of the profoundly odd aristocrat Frederick Dipple (Laurence Fox) and his dark desires. Dipple’s sister Ada visits Esther in need of a dress repair, but insists she must complete the task at the Dipple residence. In a very gothic fashion, the house is imbued with a dark and sinister atmosphere, where Frederick is seemingly obsessed with dolls and marionettes – and in one very creepy scene, seemingly at work on a life-sized replica when his maid happens upon the very realistic head of a woman amongst all the doll parts. Will Dipple be this season’s Hervey and present more danger to John and Esther than his old adversary? Only time will tell…

 Meanwhile, John found work as a corpse bearer for Spence, a former priest turned criminal. Director Alex Gabassi did a great job in the resulting scenes, bringing the sheer bleakness of the London slum dwellers succumbing to fever and death with a truly grim flair. In protecting a wandering child from an exploding coffin during his work in the burial pits, poor John took a slab of wood to the stomach and visits Esther, whose skill with a needle comes in handy to stitch up the former detective. Rather conveniently, she offers him lodgings at her shop as he has nowhere else to go – despite there being a madman running around the area killing priests – so it’s clear she sees something in John and his former military background that resonates with her.

Despite being a dead man on the run for multiple murders and now using the pseudonym Jack Martins, elsewhere John was surprisingly ineffective in keeping a low profile this episode. He barrelled into the Evening Chronicle’s office and assaulted the sleazy journalist Boz to gain information on the whereabouts of Hervey – who duly offered up a rumoured synopsis as to the villain’s fate – that he might have survived the fire that killed Jemima and then escaped to the continent.

Boz wasn’t the only one to be spooked by an unexpected visit from a corpse; Sergeant Nightingale had not one but two opportunities to capture the man he saw hang for the murder of his beloved Flora, but was outwitted both times, literally by being told ‘look behind you’ on the second occasion. Surely they teach you better than that in the fledgling Metropolitan Police? The policeman wasn’t having much luck anywhere this episode – whether being denied access to the autopsy report for Ambrose at the hands of the Church doctors, having his authority challenged by the Parish Watch or generally not making much headway in an investigation that nobody wanted solving but him.

The cliffhanger came when John and Spence visited the resting place of the Archdeacon, only to discover the supposed evisceration of the holy man was a lie – his heart being the only organ removed. Not only is there another murderer in their midsts, but there is a conspiracy to hide the truth underway too…
https://thekillingtimestv.wordpress.com/2017/11/09/review-the-frankenstein-chronicles-s2-e2-6-wednesday-8th-november-itv-encore/


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Re: The Frankenstein Chronicles S2 reviews
« Reply #2 on: November 16, 2017, 02:08:22 AM »
Review: The Frankenstein Chronicles (S2 E3/6), Wednesday 15th November, ITV Encore
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  NB: SPOILERS INSIDE

There wasn’t a whole lot of progression in the story of The Frankenstein Chronicles this week, as John Marlott and Sergeant Nightingale continued to converge in on the grim conspiracy that is haunting Pye Street. But things did get considerably creepier…

We returned once again to the slums of Pye Street, where John Marlott continued to work with the disgraced priest Spence in bearing corpses consumed by plague to the burial pits. Despite John seemingly hiding from the law in plain sight, Spence is clearly a trusting man; after assisting John in a bit of light grave disturbance last week, he doesn’t seem too concerned in what the former detective was looking for or what his intentions are – moreover he is determined to discover the cause of the plague afflicting a curiously small part of London, and the subsequent indifference from both Church and State toward the deadly outbreak.

John is similarly preoccupied, but with the sudden reappearance of the child catcher Billy Oates (Robbie Gee) instead, who has returned from his exile as part of a travelling circus run by the wily Mrs Wild. The old adversaries clash as John demands to know what happened to Hervey, but Billy advises him he spent most of the last three years as a sailor and has no knowledge of the villain’s fate. John’s quest to hunt down the spectre of Hervey seems increasingly redundant as everyone he interrogates reinforces the suggestion that the mad scientist is more a fixture of his dreams than reality.

  third murder victim is found in an alley and the quick-witted Peelers alert Sergeant Nightingale to the scene, who wisely commandeers Spence’s burial cart to ferry the corpse back to Westminster police station before the Parish Watch can get their corrupt hands on it. It’s a better episode for Nightingale after last week’s disappointments, as Sir Robert Peel advises Inspector Treadaway to promote the Sergeant for his sharp thinking on the removal of the body – but even more crucially, the official autopsy determines the body had its heart removed with surgical precision, exactly like the previous victims – thereby negating the Church’s version of events. Nightingale invites the journalist Boz to examine the findings, imploring him to print the truth and prevent any more public panic about demented monsters on the loose.

Elsewhere, things are heating up at the Dipple residence where Esther continues to embroider a dress in the company of Ada, who explains the fascination both her and Frederick have in ‘automatons’ – life-sized clockwork dolls that the pair hope will one day be able to function as humans might. Esther seems remarkably unfazed by these outlandish ideas, despite being shown the various creepy components for the ‘doll’ they hope to unveil to high society soon. Instead, she draws closer to Frederick, confessing she’s “afraid to live”. Be careful what you wish for Esther!

Meanwhile, it takes Spence to be a better detective than John this episode to get the plot moving again. Spence is able to identify the third victim as the Reverend Eastman, and advises Marlott that the three murdered priests all protested the Dean of Westminster’s plans to build more cemeteries, thereby generating more burial fee revenue for the church. Not only this, but he knows that the Dean plans to sell the land around Pye Street to make this happen, but needs to clear out the slums first. Conveniently, the sudden plague has begun that very same process…

In a clumsy expository jump, John dreams of something sinister in the sewers beneath the Pye Street water pump station, then proceeds to visit it at night and wrench the entire contraption loose from it’s moorings. Despite Spence’s protestations, John enters the sewers only to find the festering corpse of a plague victim purposely bound to the wall and infecting the entire water supply. Dragging the body up to the surface, he notices a sailor’s tattoo on it’s arm and tracks down Billy to confirm its origin. The child catcher doesn’t know the pestilent seadog but knows where his friends might be…

It was an unfortunate return to a meandering narrative this week, with a thin layer of plot stretched across the running time and dumped out fairly gracelessly in two exposition-heavy scenes that bookended the episode. It’s a shame the most interesting element of the show around the historical context of the State’s attempts to modernise society against the will of the Church was buried in favour of Sean Bean playing a piano poorly or punching people in the face. With only three episodes left in the series, the pace will need to pick up immeasurably to gloss over some of the show’s more unforgiving failures.
https://thekillingtimestv.wordpress.com/2017/11/15/review-the-frankenstein-chronicles-s2-e3-6-wednesday-15th-november-itv-encore/

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Re: The Frankenstein Chronicles S2 reviews
« Reply #3 on: November 23, 2017, 12:08:07 AM »
Review: The Frankenstein Chronicles (S2 E4/6), Wednesday 22nd November, ITV Encore
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NB: SPOILERS INSIDE

It’s been a glacial viewing experience so far, but now that we’re well into the second half of the season The Frankenstein Chronicles felt like it was beginning to rapidly tighten up proceedings with an abundance of murder and mayhem bringing a swift end to any number of important – and interesting – plot strands.

After last week’s discovery of the putrefying corpse contaminating the Pye Street water supply, it was down to Spence to spread the word. The Dean of Westminster sought to control the narrative himself by ensuring his priests blamed the source of the plague directly on the slum dwellers themselves. Spence was having none of this, loudly proclaiming tales of dark conspiracies on the altar of the local church. Unfortunately for poor old Spence, his protestations only brought the attention of the Dean’s henchmen Renquist – and in a brutal and bloody scene was stabbed to death for knowing too much. Then to further compound his heinous crime, Renquist removed his heart post-mortem – is this our season’s serial killer?

Down by the docks, John and Billy Oates were trying to locate the inhabitants of the ship their plague-ridden sailor had sailed in on. Billy discovers a ship had come into port three weeks before, with it’s entire crew infected – and after a little light bribery finds the location of their corpses too. John investigates the unquarantined warehouse where they remain – sealed behind a door with an unusually regal crest stamped on it. Disturbed by visions of their ghosts he returns to his Pye Street lodgings, only to find the recently deceased Spence. It’s not long before he’s discovered and chased across the rooftops by the Metropolitan Police and an increasingly wild-eyed and hapless Sergeant Nightingale, who on positively identifying Marlott as fleeing from the scene of the crime, reports his findings to Inspector Treadaway – who promptly suspends him for his troubles, as nobody believes that Marlott survived the gallows.

Meanwhile it’s party time over at the Dipple residence, and apparently, that doesn’t include a light buffet or a bottle of wine. Instead, the high society crowd are treated to a hilariously sinister monologue from the increasingly odd Sir Frederick, before unveiling his latest creation – a life-sized female automaton that performs a creepy clockwork dance to a piano melody performed by Ada. This bizarre sight doesn’t seem to alarm his gathered guests in the slightest, except a thoroughly unimpressed Marlott who has come as Esther’s guest – again, despite being on the run for multiple murders the former detective seems remarkably relaxed about roaming around London in broad daylight without a disguise.

Sloping off to investigate the residence, Marlott chances upon Frederick’s workshop (he really needs to start locking that door), only to see the same family crest hanging above the fireplace that he saw in the warehouse imprisoning the unfortunate sailors. Could Dipple be the man who orchestrated their imprisonment? It would certainly seem he has an interest in Pye Street, announcing that he’s collaborating with the Dean to purchase the land in question. Despite John’s protestations to Esther that Dipple might not be all that he seems, she remains smitten with the man. Later on in an intimate moment between the pair, she confesses to Frederick about the untimely death of her son – the same child John can see haunting her shop. Chillingly, Frederick replies that he has “seen more death than any man”. Esther, get out whilst you can!

Dejected by his suspension, Nightingale visits his childhood friend Queenie (Kerrie Hayes), now in the employ of the Dipples. She tells him about Frederick’s workshop and a locked door that she caught John trying to open the night before. Believing he can find a trace of Marlott’s whereabouts, Nightingale visits the Dipple residence and breaks open the locked door. He uncovers a secret section of the house, leading downwards to a makeshift hospital with an operating table and various anatomy books spattered in blood. Suddenly, he’s attacked from behind by none other than Hervey himself – alive and as fiendishly murderous as ever. Slitting the poor sergeant’s throat, he cradles him in his arms as he bleeds to death and confesses to Flora’s murder. Halfway across London, John sees the ghost of Nightingale appear and beg his forgiveness – immediately understanding his nemesis is behind it all, he growls “He Lives”.

It took three writers to stitch together the corpse of tonight’s episode and you can definitely identify the seams – the creaky leaps of logic and brutally unnecessary deaths of the best supporting characters on the show simply for expediency of the plot are criminal enough, but re-animating the villainous Hervey just as we were beginning to suspect he was purely a figment of John’s imagination – a far more interesting idea than the man himself returning – is a lazy twist that was flatly delivered. Now, with the majority of this season’s most intriguing developments jettisoned in favour of returning to the simplistic blood feud between Marlott and Hervey, and judging from the trailer for next week’s action, we’re on course for the last two episodes to devolve into an elongated chase scene. At this rate, any attempt to revive this show for a third season should come with a do not resuscitate order.
https://thekillingtimestv.wordpress.com/2017/11/22/review-the-frankenstein-chronicles-s2-e4-6-wednesday-22nd-november-itv-encore/