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Episode Reviews
Pilot

"God's universe doesn't work like the american legal system. You do something, you pay for it."

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First, let me warn you that this first review is a little bit different from a normal episode review. I will jump around a bit and talk about some different topics being vague at times because to put it aptly, BrimStone is a show that needs to be seen to be believed. The premise tends to throw people for a loop, when in truth BrimStone is as powerful a show as a non-genre show is, like ER. I'll start off with an overall review of the pilot then get into some of my favorite aspects of the episode it self. Future episode reviews will focus more on the episodes than this one, it just seems that the pilot was one of the more intriguing and captivating episodes I had, have ever seen in my life and this was only the pilot of a show.

In general, most pilots for television, shows suck. It is the natural order that pilots are very different than the shows that proceed them However, sometimes the pilot episodes tend to be just as potent and intelligent, if not more so, than the series that develops from it. You must be wondering what the hell I am talking about. Well to be blunt, this is my favorite pilot episode of any television show that I have ever seen period. The Space: Above and Beyond pilot was excellent but slow in some parts. The First Wave pilot was damn near as good while Andromeda I am sorry to say was very weak in the first episode. Andromeda is another show I am a huge fan of but I'll be the first to say the pilot had its moments but overall was not as good as the show developed from that episode.

The Pilot

One of the things I liked most about this episode was that the sci-fi part of the series was more in the background than it was in foreground. The science-fiction parts were more like an extra than the focal point of the show, which is more about the human character and condition. The show also maintained a sense of humor, which was something I had not really seen in a television up to that point in my life. Or rather, it was something I never really noticed being well timed and delivered by the likes of John Glover and Peter Horton. What won me over was that Brimstone is a dark show yet that uses some lighter moments to snap us out of the serious tone of the show. Even when BrimStone was being dark, there was a certain sense of humor that prevailed from the Devil. BrimStone is a show that brings drama and originality back to sci-fi, something that has been lacking in the last few years. Even today, I challenge any show in 13 episodes to create believable characters that while with flaws are realistic. The to watch the writers expound on the intelligent writing to establish a wonderful atmosphere and concept for television, especially in the genre department, to return to high quality standards. These are days when science fiction shows go for the special f/x and action-laden gimmicks or the route of women in skin-tight outfits and the sex appeal. This episode makes it clear that while the women are beautiful, they are also intelligent, strong and classy unlike shows that make then trashy. This point is more proven later in the show with Detective Ashe and Rosalyn Stone.

As I mentioned a little earlier, while BrimStone is a dark and moody show it still keeps a sense of humor. Well this episode afforded that and backed it up big time. The nicest thing about it was the fact that the humorous moments were not forced nor were they over the top. The interaction between Peter Horton and John Glover throughout the series is great, displaying the wild energy they create on screen. One of the funnier moments, in this episode, was the discussion with Detective Kane on the rooftop. It was when Zeke replied to an earlier comment about not being "one of the most decorated cops in Manhattan South," rather he was "the most decorated." Then when Zeke rents a hotel room and wonders what the deal is with the World Series. He discovered that what he watching was actually Interleague play. Covering up for his absence of knowledge, for the last 15 years he missed, he replied that he was "down under" for a while. There is a sort of fish out of water like aura about the show, and I am happy that it is not overplayed. The series in future episodes uses that device, just the right amount. The writers know just how much to use and not making us feel like Zeke is hopeless and will not be able to do his job. It is more of a side journey to his real journey towards redemption.

Another of my favorite aspects was the unfolding of Zeke's character in the opening minutes. As it was not only eerie, but it was a powerful moment seeing him confess what happened to him and to what is going on. It was bold and risky, and it worked in getting the audience in on what we were about to watch unfold. It was quick, dramatic and to the point allowing the episode to focus more on the characters and the story of the episode itself. Moreover, not on pointless banter on any number of topics you could think of. It was smart for Ethan Reiff and Cyrus Voris to write the episode that way, as we learned some of the rules as we went along when it was appropriate to clue us in on what we needed to know. When Zeke asked about how to send the damned back to hell, that was a moment, we learned about one of the rules surrounding Zeke and his mission. We also learned what the deal is involving him sending the souls back and the reward he gets for sending them all back, a second chance on Earth. It was as if the writers had two distinct places to unveil the dynamics of the show in two simple scenes. The first was the opening; the second was on the balcony when we first meet the devil. The rest of the time was spent on the rich characters that filled the episode like Father Horn who later becomes a central figure in the show. Then there was Detective Kane who became one of the more interesting characters in the episode by initially wanting to bring Zeke down then helping him bring the real evil down and the trying to cope with the reality of the situation surrounding Zeke.

I feel that the pilot was one of the more powerful and dramatic episodes of the show Peter Horton displayed his range. He was simply outstanding in this episode. The moment when he discovered the tattoos was nice. However, it was the moments when he walked through his old house remembering the past that Peter Horton let his eyes and body language do the talking. It is hard to describe how powerful that was; it needs to be seen to be believed. John Glover in albeit small appearance made the most of his time with his uncanny ability with timing and delivery was simply amazing. In future episodes, his portrayal of the Devil is simply wicked, and that is a compliment. All the other principal characters performed at a high level establishing that BrimStone was going for "real" actors, and not fake ones who have no talent at all. It is a classy move to do that, to return television to its roots so-to-speak. Peter Woodward was wonderful as the main villain, in Father Salinas. You truly believed he was evil to the core.

One of the other remarkable aspects of the production of this episode was the score. BrimStone is the first show ever, that introduced me to what scoring is all about. It was subtle yet very dramatic to remain true to the different but traditional style the show is projecting itself to the audience. The violins, especially, added something new I had never heard on a television show. While quirky, is adds an extra dimension to the show that just fits perfectly. The special f/x what little we saw of them was truly amazing. The death of Father Salinas was just amazing, especially with the colors used and just the overall look and feel of what was happening to him. Overall, this is perhaps one of my favorite episodes of any television show I have ever had the pleasure of seeing. I am glad I was able to tape the show in SP mode on my VCR. I know I am probably leaving something out, because there is no way I can give this episode or the show any justice with these reviews. I attempt to do my best, because BrimStone is that damn good!