Gomora premiered with a bang at the beginning of the year. We’ve been hooked since that fateful first night that saw the murder of Mbongeni after a botched hijacking that involved Ntokozo, the son of an upright High School Principal and an endearing social worker.
And thanks to the brilliant cast, impeccable writing, and a range of multi-layered plot points, the telenovela would go on to dethrone The Queen as the highest-rated show on the channel back in May (A record 2,5 million viewers in a single episode), marking quite the splash of an entrance for the Seriti production.
But by the time they reached their first 100 episodes two months ago, Gomora had clearly begun tumbling down from its initial peak. What started out as a fast-paced unravelling of a complex script that kept us on our toes, suddenly plunged into a yawnfest of long-winded story arcs that led to dead ends.
For a while, I wondered if M-Net had asked for the amount of violence and the heavy narratives to be cooled because of the early evening time-slot during the weekdays at 19:30.
It certainly seemed plausible because the speed chases on the high way with riveting drone shots, the back to back the revelation of jaw-dropping secrets, as well as the novelty of the comedic timing that makes such characters as Zodwa and Teddy so endearing, slowly vanished.
Now we are watching a drawn-out portrayal of the school debate, a storyline that felt more like a filler that really could have been left on the cutting floor. The pyramid scheme storyline also ended quite abruptly, with no recourse and a way out for the characters who fell victims to the deception of a con artist.
What really didn’t make sense, however, is how the show seemed to have abandoned its major plots in favour of watered-down detours. You have Langa being Melusi’s son, a secret that will likely toss the entire Dlamini family into the doldrums. Ntokozo, Sonto and MaZet’s involvement in the murder of Mbongeni. Would that not burn down the block?
There’s also the truth behind Glady’s and her obsessive saviour complex. While lionised for her compassion, its been clear for a while that there’s more behind her need to save someone. We soon found out that she had terminated a pregnancy previously, and Melusi to this day, does not know.
For a while, they left all those questions unanswered.
THE ‘GOMORA’ COMEBACK
We are glad to have stuck around long enough to see the tightening in recent scenes of the show. The latest episodes are starting to revive that feeling we first got watching Gomora, staying on edge and never knowing what to expect next.
With detective Mahlasela in the frame, the skeletons are being dragged back to the surface, and its happening fast! That man is on to them, and it looks like he won’t be letting it as easily as the previous detective Kolisi, who was outplayed and outsmarted by Sonto without much of a sweat.
Despite Sonto and MaZet playing a crafty card, enabling them to avoid jail time, Mahlasela has not stopped digging into the truth about Mbongeni’s death. With all the evidence he has leading to Sonto, he’s even started connecting Ntokozo to the murder, and intends weaponising that as a possible angle to bolster the case further.
There’s Teddy and his teacher Ncebakazi Manzi. They are having somewhat of an affair, although it looks to be more complicated than that. While at 19 he is no minor, at least not legally, he’s in her classroom and she is totally taking advantage. I don’t know how far they are willing to explore their dynamic, but she’s really problematic.
It’s how she’s going to get caught that keeps us on edge here. The change in Teddy’s behaviour has everyone concerned, so she will likely be getting her unethical cover blown soon enough. But, who will catch her? Will Zodwa allow him to continue living under the Dlamini roof, when they couldn’t protect her son from a predator who is their guest?
Overall, we are glad to see the show slowly picking up the tempo and getting back to its roots. We are certainly keeping an eye on how everything is unraveling on Gomora, airing Mondays to Friday at 19:30 on channel 161.
Squid Game Ending Explained; We’ve Been Scammed
We’ve been had, and Squid Game is here to prove it.
When the end of the South Korean horror drama arrives on the ninth episode, the winner finds himself harrowed by what the coveted prize has cost his soul. In the rat race for survival, along with a better life that hinges on the never ending hustle, there’s no time to stop and see the horror our lives become. By the end, we see how the winner has sold his soul for a crappy deal that came with a few toys, and a happy meal.
A group of 456 players are mysteriously invited to take part in a set of children’s games for a grand prize of $38 million, which will be enough to give the winner the financial freedom they desperately need. The players are selected from different walks of life, with the burden of excessive debt being their biggest motivation to give the Game a go.
The first of deepening terrors comes during the first game, when the players discover that penalties for losing in the challenges will be death. DEATH. Horrified, the players initially vote to leave and return to their lives.
This noble departure doesn’t last long; their material realities as fugitives on the run from debt collectors only highlights the glow of the precious promise they’ve now left behind. When they return for the second time, they now consent to their highly probable deaths.
Led by Lee Jung-jae, who plays Seong Gi-hun, a taxi driver with a gambling addiction, the South Korean series has become somewhat of a global phenomenon. Now the most streamed Korean series of all time, Squid Game is also said to be on pace to dethrone Bridgerton as the most streamed series in the history of Netflix. And it’s with good reason. Squid Game is a trip.
Survival is the drive. The blues of a broke life pile up for Seong Gi-hun, who’s daughter is being taken away to the US by her mother and step father. His mother is battling deteriorating diabetes and even in her frail condition, is still working hard to make ends meet. It’s during the peak of his frustrations that Gi-hun is randomly invited to take part in the Game.
After accepting the offer, he finds himself in a discreet location along with 455 players, who are also drowning in debt. The players are kept under an authoritarian system of surveillance. Masked guards in pink suits keep the scene under control under the supervision of the Front Man. Gi-hun allies with other players, including his childhood friend Cho Sang-woo, as a the most strategic way to survive the bloody challenges.
Amongst those that end up in this team is player 001, a frail old man who who became his “gganbu”. Sae-byeok, who was also in the team, was killed by Sang-woo, Gi-hun’s childhood friend, team member and flip-flopping ally. Several other team members had to be killed by their team mates, which revealed the wickedness of the games.
In the end, Gi-hun’s victory came without an apology. He had to defeat a close ally in the games, the old and frail player 001. They’d bonded throughout their time, but in the end he had to advance himself against those he’d built alliances. As the games progressed, the players found themselves having to face tough calls. Someone else has to die for you to make it another day.
After a series of brutal games, it comes down to childhood friends Gi-hun and Cho Sang-woo. They’d played different games, with Sang-woo having played hard and stopping at nothing to win. Gi-hun is mad at Sang-woo for a series of betrayals, including him stabbing Sae-byeok to her death. In the end, Gi-hun wins when Sang-woo apologised and kills himself.
Yet despite emerging a winner, Gi-hun finds that the cost of becoming an overnight billionaire has bankrupted his soul. For a year following the day his bank account was loaded with a nine zero figure, he didn’t touch the money. After all, he returned to find his mother dead on the floor. One of his motivations was getting the money to get her medical help over her advancing diabetes.
Gi-hun is clearly troubled by the bodies upon which his new wealth rests. A year passes and he hasn’t touched the money – even oddly reverting to old patterns of asking for loans to get by. It might be late to be so concerned about the moral questions surrounding the games now – the long and short of it is he won and his life has changed.
Later, he is shocked to find out that the “gganbu” who had to be killed after losing to him in a game of marbles, was never really killed.
In a shocking plot twist that changes everything – he also finds out that the old man is in fact the creator of the games! Finding him in a medical bed after receiving a mysterious invite to the location, Gi-hun discovers that the man’s real name is Oh Il-nam, an obscenely rich fella who created the games in 1988 (the same year Korea hosted the Olympics for the first time) purely for their entertainment. We already know by now that ‘the VIPs’ are a bunch of morally bankrupt elites who find pleasure in watching the poor masses slaughtering each other for money in a broken system. Where have we heard that before?
Although his participation in the games as player 001 was a farce, what he told Gi-hun back then, that he had a brain tumour, had been true. And of course, he challenged him to another sick game. A man had been freezing to death on a street pavement, and Oh Il-nam challenged Gi-hun to guess to bet on the odds that someone who help him when the clock strikes 00:00 at midnight. As Gi-hun wins, Oh Il-nam dies.
We assume this marks the end of the games. However later in the episode, Gi-hun sees the man who recruited him doing it to someone else. He runs to stop what is happening, but arrives at the exact scene late, the train has already taken off. Later on the way to boarding a flight, he turns and calls a number. “I can’t forgive you for everything you’re doing,” he tells ta man we assume to be In-ho. He turns back, clearly about to begin his new mission.
What we know now, is that Oh Il-nam created the games to tickle the sick tastes of his sick rich network. But he is now dead. Who is now behind the games? This, and Gi-hun’s passionate manifesto, are strong indications that next season of the series is already shaping up to a different arc. It’s his final transformation, and he is ready to take down the operation and those behind it. He won’t allow people to be “horses” for the entertainment of wealthy elites.
We know that In-ho shot Jun-ho in a bid to stop him from alerting the police about the games. The signal was bad, delaying the delivering of the evidence Jun-ho had been trying to send in several texts, right up to the moment the moment he plunged from a cliff and hit the water. What we don’t know is whether the messages were really not delivered. There’s also no conclusive evidence that Jun-ho is dead.
Potentially, the biggest lesson from season one is that our relentless pursuit for material success in a punishing money system kills us.
First Look at HBO’s Game of Thrones Spin-Off ‘House of The Dragon’
Things look promising for HBO’s upcoming drama series, The House of Dragon. The highly buzzed Games of Thrones prequel’s first visual teaser has been met with much fanfare, raking in more than 8,6 million views on Youtube within two days of its arrival.
First reactions and buzz around the epic teaser have been strong indications that the series, slated to premiere in 2022, is off to a good start despite the infamous final season slump suffered by G.O.T. And it could mean that maybe, just maybe, the world ready to let old baggage go.
The House of Dragon, created by an entire different team, will arrive about three years since the cold winter. The cast includes Matt Smith, Paddy Considine and Sonoya Mizuno who will be bringing to life a different era of Westeros.
Midnight Mass is Creepy With A Dark Subtext and You Need To See it
‘God’s angel’ had sinister plans for the town.
The reign of terror plunges a small and quiet town to ashes when the arrival of a charismatic yet mysterious priest coincides with the return of a disgraced young man who has just been released from prison.
While Riley (Zach Gilford) initially finds that Crockett Island and its 127 residents – along with his childhood sweetheart Erin (Kate Siegel) – still conduct a mundane existence, Pastor Paul (Hamish Linklater) soon changes that.
When the island’s much loved Roman Catholic senior priest takes a trip to the pilgrimage and never comes back, an energetic new priest takes his place at the Holy Land church. And while his arrival brings with it a new wave of spiritual revival amongst the island community, something sinister begins to haunt the town.
With each episode, the esoteric occult that powers Paul’s ability to perform astounding miracles and mesmerise the islanders, slowly gains dominion over the unsuspecting community. Instead, they begin taking up a renewed interest in the church as word of mouth spreads about the signs and wonders. Much like Jesus Christ was able to draw crowds wherever he went, the appearance of Paul’s supernatural power is able to attract even those who’d remained sceptics their lives.
It’s the blending of the sacred and the sinister. The taking of communion that has been contaminated with demonic blood, which functions as the miracle drug promising eternal life.
We soon find out the miracles come at an unthinkable cost.