Wednesday, April 15, 2015

The Lizzie Borden Chronicles - Episode 1.2 - Review

Remember when Christina Ricci played Wednesday in The Addams Family and Addams Family Values and she beamed with delight at the sight of electrocuting people with her electric chair? There's quite a look of delight in her eyes again when she portrays Lizzie Borden taking in a burlesque homage to her alleged hacking to death her daddy. Except there's no blood on stage; rose petals flutter through the air when the knife is slashed. In case you were not paying attention, the show reminds you of the ax incident with flashbacks... again, and again, and so on.

Following last week's "The Lizzie Borden Chronicles" debut, Lizzie signs the papers on a new house, not having to owe any debts of their father. The debts were wiped away when William Almy suddenly was murdered by, guess who? And who got blamed? William Borden, of course, but he's suddenly suicidal if you believe the inept Fall River Marshal's office.

Cut to Lizzie making friends with a woman named Adele (Kimberly-Sue Murray) who was injured in a factory. She turned to hooking when she couldn't get work with a right hand that just has a bit of scar make-up on it. Lizzie saves her from being assaulted in an alley after taking in an aftershow party with Emma Borden (Clea DuVall) in tow. She daringly clobbers the unsavory man called Skipjack and takes home, much to Emma's admonishment, Adele to take care of her. Lizzie shows her just how much she cares when she kisses Adele affectionately in a dress shop changing area the next day. In comparison to the graphic murder scenes, this scene with fully buttoned-up ladies kissing is quite tame.

Over the course of the episode, Lizzie enjoys tea with the person who pimped out Adele, Mr. Flowers (Jonathan Banks). Lizzie pays him off so she can keep Adele to herself. During her visit, Flowers teaches a lesson to a misogynist low-life while Lizzie agreeably waits patiently for the head bashing to end. Banks is basically "Breaking Bad's" Mike in the late 19th century.

Adele and Emma bond over soup, discussing as you may have guessed, aspirations for a husband and perhaps a family. Adele could be Emma's confidant as she makes the insightful recognition of Emma's having to practically raise Lizzie when their birth mother died. Emma clearly needs someone other than Lizzie to hang out with because the husband topic surfaces a second time and we're only halfway through the second episode. This is Lifetime, so settling down and having a family is the only way Emma's story remains within "The Lizzie Borden Chronicles."

The dashing superhero investigator, Charlie (Cole Hauser), continues privately investigating the blood trail Lizzie leaves everywhere she goes. He's had her followed.  Lizzie actually confronts him, introducing herself while he's dining alone. A few minutes of dialog lets us know Lizzie is not phased by Charlie's presence. It seems he's a man of many talents yet to be revealed. We've only just found out that his magic fingers can untwist Isabel Danforth's twisted ankle back at the B&B. [Danforth is portrayed by Olivia Llewellyn and appeared in Season One of "Penny Dreadful" (Showtime). We don't know yet if she's returning as Mina Harker in Season Two.]

Everything was going swellingly until Spencer (Frank Chiesurin), a playwright/con artist, convinces Lizzie to be a patron of the arts and, ironically, to fund his schlocky play. Planted in this scene is Adele and a coffin that just happens to be in the old barn at the old house. Coffins just are things people keep in barns back in the late 1800s. That Lizzie can sure pick them because he soon ties one on and, when he finds Adele alone, blowing out the candles in nearly every room, he decides to presume Adele will wax his own candle. Instead she nearly snuffs him out. Lizzie finds him outside, injured with a pitchfork and finishes forking him.

This is where I can spoil the rest, but I'll leave it up to you readers to catch up by next Sunday. I must advise you to always keep strike-anywhere matches in your pocket.

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