Finding the truth about what happened to Sky was a false alarm on Grand Hotel’s “Art of Darkness.”
While we’re all dying to know what happened to Danny’s sister, revealing that she was part of Theresa’s prostitution ring wouldn’t have been a good choice for the series.
The appeal is the mystery of the Riviera Grand, the secrets that are being kept by the hotel’s owners and staff, and of course, what happened to Sky.
If Danny were to find his sister two-episodes before the finale, it would ruin the momentum and give us no reason to watch till the end let alone a second season.
Not to mention it wouldn’t be believable.
Sky’s been described as somewhat of a firecracker. Whatever happened to her was a result of her finding out or knowing too much.
She wouldn’t just allow herself to be pimped out by Theresa all this time.
And though Theresa’s been calling the shots for quite some time, it’s been made very clear that whatever happened to Sky involved Mateo and Santiago.
Now we know that whatever happened to Sky also involved the mysterious room 606 where Caroline and Yoli were hiding their father, Felix, and where Beatriz’s “accident” happened.
Obviously, the word accident is in quotation marks because it’s clear that Beatriz’s death wasn’t caused by a heart attack like we’ve been led to believe.
Considering Yoli said Sky was the only other person who had a key, it’s safe to assume she knew what really happened and threatened to expose the killer.
When Javi found out about the abandoned hotel, it triggered a childhood memory for him. In it, Beatriz snuck him away to the room and begged him not to tell his father about it.
Based on the memory, Beatriz seemed terrified of what Santiago would do.
That is if she’s referring to Santiago as Javi’s father.
Alicia didn’t recall the room at first but while going through the family photo albums, she recalled one time when she was riding her tricycle and she saw both Santiago and Gigi keeping Beatriz a prison.
Again, based on the memory, Beatriz looked terrified.
The most obvious guess is that she was a drug addict and both her husband and her best friend were trying to help her secretly get clean while protecting the children.
However, Beatriz didn’t look to be high on drugs in Alicia’s memory, which makes the situation all the more curious.
There’s also Gigi’s reaction to finding out Yoli was having an affair with Sky in room 606 before her disappearance.
Panicked, Gigi runs into the room looking for something. What does she think Sky found inside?
And how is this connected to the chat Gigi had with Sky just before she disappeared?
This also begs the question: what is the connection between Beatriz and Sky?
After the cops raided Theresa’s “art show,” Mateo helped her escape through the backdoor.
But proving his loyalty wasn’t his attempt at getting back into her good graces.
Instead, Mateo buttered her up just enough so she’d let him in and then he attempted to kill her realizing he’d never be free of her otherwise.
You saw how Theresa treated Santiago when he tried to pay back the debt in full.
Getting all her money isn’t beneficial — she wants the assets and the access to the Riviera Grand. It was never about money.
The gunshot clearly went off, but we’re not sure who pulled the trigger.
Mateo has presumably killed before, but did he have it in him to kill the woman who saved him?
Did Theresa grab hold of the gun and kill Mateo?
Was it a blank bullet?
I’d like to believe Mateo took care of the problem for everyone, but killing a villain is never that easy.
Other Riviera Grand Musings
- Byron is back and he has Carolina wrapped around his finger… again. It’s highly unlikely that he doesn’t have ulterior motives. What decent and self-respecting man would go back to the woman who cheated on him the night before the wedding?
- Alicia is realizing that Danny was right about the hotel’s money problems after she confronts her father who admits their indebted to some dangerous people. There’s still undeniable chemistry between Danny and Alicia and once she realizes the only thing Danny didn’t lie about was his feelings for her, she’ll forgive him. Plus, he brought up a valid point: what would she do if someone in her family mysteriously vanished?
- Jason and Vanessa are cute, but they don’t have staying power. Ingrid’s jealousy was upsetting considering all the damage she’s already done to the people at the Riviera Grand, but thankfully, Mrs. P checked her real quick. Still, I see her and Jason becoming a couple very soon.
- Gigi had me just as fooled as she had Felix when she accompanied him to the Bahamas. But alas, she ventured out there simply to cozy up to him, drug him, and take the money he said he put into a bank account for her. Her intentions were always to help Santiago, but she was more inclined when she realized he was willing to risk the hotel to get back into her good graces. They’re stronger together.
- Danny’s a terrible spy. About 5 seconds into the party, I figured out what kind of party it was. Yes, eventually he saved a bunch of girls from sex trafficking, but I’m calling that a lucky break.
What did you think of this week’s Grand Hotel?
Be sure to tweet ABC to let them know you want to renew the series!
Avatar: The Last Airbender – Bringing Balance to Character and Plot
Character creation (as in the literal development of a character) can be challenging. A series should always try to balance the intrigue and personality of a character against the story that the series is trying to tell, and both pieces should naturally bring the best out of each other. A lead character should drive the plot forward, and the plot should bring out challenges specific to the lead character. The better a series can apply this rule to each of its characters, the stronger position the character and the series will be in.
Characters are not just defined by plot, though; they’re made to feel alive by clothing choices, their likes and dislikes, their vernacular, and their appearance and age. Part of Breaking Bad’s depiction of Walter White/Heisenberg relied on the visual differences (such as the pork pie hat) and vocal differences (anyone who watched the show knows the “Heisenberg” voice) between the two facets of Walt’s personality, providing a good example of the importance of the details in character creation.
There is nothing like the true synergy of a character’s personality influencing the plot as the plot perfectly challenges the personality behind the character, almost creating a perpetual motion within the story. Yin and yang – perfectly balanced – and few shows do this as well as Avatar: The Last Airbender.
Avatar: The Last Airbender has some of the most meticulously crafted personalities in all of television. Not only is each character’s personality designed around their storylines, but also around their connection to an element of Water, Earth, Fire, or Wind, and in some cases, specifically designed around their lack of connection to one of the elements.
Let’s dive into some of these characters to learn just how effectively they were developed for this story.
Aang, the protagonist of the series, is the titular “Last Airbender.” He has the ability to “bend” air (which basically means he can move and control air through his movements. Waterbenders, Earthbenders, and Firebenders can also each move their respective elements). Aang’s personality is light and fun – he’s adventurous and seeks out joy wherever he goes. On a base level, these traits line up with the concept of air quite well. Aang’s personality is, well, breezy. He just wants to be free to live as he pleases, and he hopes for the same for others.
But the show takes Aang a step further than that and makes him a pacifist, which makes sense when associated with the element of air since air is the least tangible element. Air on its own cannot hurt you – if it were to harm you in some way it’d most likely be through an object that has been affected by air, and not the air itself. To double down on Aang’s pacifist ways, Aang is a child in the series: only 12-years-old. Children have a much more idyllic view of the world, and Aang’s lack of experience and exposure to the outside world keeps him in a place of innocence and in a mindset that tells him that violence is never the answer.
This is where the perfect synergy of character to plot starts to perpetuate. Aang’s personality is perfectly suited to the element he’s associated with, but the plot challenges that personality in the most vigorous way possible. Aang is alive during a war, as the Fire Nation has attacked and is trying to spread its influence, and Aang is the “Avatar” designed to bring balance to the world. The responsibility of peace is placed on Aang’s shoulders. Aang is a good person at heart, so of course, he agrees to help the world and stop the Fire Nation, but what he has to do to help is in direct contrast to his principles and personality. The closer Aang gets to fighting the Fire Nation, the stronger his internal conflict to remain a pacifist becomes, creating a perfect synergy between plot and character.
Once again, Aang’s age doubles down on this synergy. He’s just a kid; he doesn’t want the world’s responsibility, and quite frankly it shouldn’t have to fall on him. He gets easily distracted along his journey and sometimes avoids fights and training to try to have some fun. Aang is the perfect protagonist because he has to grow and mature to fulfill his role in the war, providing satisfying character growth, but also because his childlike nature and pacifist ideals place value on peace. Combined, this allows for a deep exploration of the association between peace, violence, and responsibility.
We find similar development techniques behind the other major characters in the series. Katara the Waterbender is kind and caring and acts very motherly towards the group. Water’s ability to nurture and heal fits along with this characterization nicely, but it also fits with Katara’s tendency to be stubborn and single-minded. While she’s willing to flow and adapt, sometimes Katara’s personal ideals blind her from other perspectives and she forces her will onto others, like a strong current in the ocean sweeping innocent swimmers away.
Of course, the overarching plot once again perfectly challenges all of Katara’s strongest traits. As Aang and Sokka grow more and more independent on their world-spanning journey (with Aang eventually surpassing Katara’s ability to Waterbend), her motherly instincts and position as the “mature” one become less of a boon and more of a source of conflict, forcing her to reevaluate exactly what it means to be nurturing and caring. Her strict moral code is also challenged by the complexities of war, and as she learns more about the complicated lives and difficult decisions other people have to make, her vision of what’s always “right” is challenged. Yet through all of this, part of what makes the entire team successful is Katara’s singular vision and ability to keep a focus on their goal, helping to continually push them, and the plot, forward.
Sokka is the only lead character without an element bending ability, and – shocker – his character is created around this idea. Sokka is a teenager who always looked up to his father, who was a great warrior. When Sokka’s father left to fight in the war, he attempted to assume the mantle as the defender of his small tribe. Sokka is desperate to prove his worth as a leader and warrior, constantly taking on bigger battles than he can handle. This character motivation spirals perfectly with his lack of bending ability, as Sokka is consistently an underdog amongst the several other characters who can control elements. Compared to his companions (and many enemies) he isn’t as well equipped to participate in a battle of the elements, which often sidelines him in battle. This only creates a further complex within him to prove his abilities and establish his place in the war. Once again, this synergy creates a perpetual motion, as the further into the plot we get, the stronger all the characters become, and the stronger Sokka’s internal conflicts manifest, forcing him to grow, which pushes him to take more initiative, which helps push the plot forward – and the cycle continues.
Zuko, the dishonorably banished teenage son of the Fire Lord (the man who leads the Fire Nation and commands the war), is a young teen burdened with insecurity and anger. His goal is to capture Aang the Avatar to regain his honor and return to his home nation. He was an emotional child and didn’t receive the emotional support he needed from his father, who constantly put him down and propped his sister up as better than him. This results in an adolescent unable to properly express his rage, which matches the element of fire perfectly. The fact that he was banished from his home country makes Zuko an “outsider” to the Fire Nation, and his position as an outsider meshes with his position in the narrative.
Zuko’s hunt for Aang pushes Zuko further and further away from his home nation, causing him to see more and more of the damage that his nation has done to the world. The more Zuko sees the flaws in the Fire Nation, the more complicated his journey for acceptance becomes. If he doesn’t belong in the Fire Nation, where does he belong? Will he be accepted by those he has fought against, or should he rejoin the Fire Nation once he gets the chance? These questions are brought up in the narrative naturally by Zuko’s specific personality while allowing the show to explore acceptance and what makes a person truly honorable — be it honor to their nation, their friends, or themselves. Every facet of Zuko’s character is meticulously designed to open the story up to these themes. Imagine instead if he had never been banished and was solely on a quest to please his father – the plot remains exactly the same, but the story of banishment and what it means to belong and exhibit honor completely disappears.
And then there is Toph, the Earthbender, a blind child who was holed up by her parents as a precious gem for her entire life. The thing about Earth, though, is unlike Air, Water, and Fire, it doesn’t move, it doesn’t change – you can’t reshape a mountain in whatever image you’d like. Toph as a character is designed and implemented with this in mind – they could have introduced her in any number of ways, but the decision to show her refusal to be molded by her parents represents the element of Earth more strongly than most plot lines would. All of the characters I’ve mentioned above change and develop, but Toph is mostly a static character, matching her element and providing the series with a “rock.” The further they get into the complications of war, the stronger Toph’s resolution becomes.
Static characters can be boring when done poorly, but when implemented for a purpose they can improve a series by reflecting how other characters are changing. In such a complicated world, there’s a freshness to Toph’s solid outlook on everything. Her principles nor personality ever shift to fit the world around her. She helps provide Aang a foil, or should I say a balance, between what the world wants him to be and what he wants to be. It’s not a coincidence that Aang ends the war in his own non-violent way immediately after using a technique taught to him by Toph, further emphasizing his unwillingness to sacrifice his principles to save the world, just as Toph refuses to change to fit the world around her.
This is incredibly specific character work, and I cannot imagine the work it took to develop these characters behind the scenes. Each one is so perfectly suited to explore different themes within the story on so many levels that it’s almost hard to keep track of all the ways their personalities reflect the stories and elements within the series. Each character creates and perpetuates their own conflicts and plots while working together to make a seamless world, resulting in organic growth and development for the personalities and the story, which is why there is hardly a slow spot throughout the entire run of Avatar: The Last Airbender (except for “The Great Divide,” but let’s just fly past that one).
Not every television character needs to be designed so meticulously to be great. Some shows are less character-driven or have simpler universes to explore. A comedy, for example, may require a greater emphasis on how characters interact with each other than how they interact with the world around them. There is also always an aspect of character adaptation when it comes to a television series as writers often find disposable or new facets of their characters as a series progresses.
But for a series that relies so heavily on world-building, mythology, and thematic resonance, the better crafted your characters are at the start, the better the foundation to explore that world will be.
Avatar: The Last Airbender is a peak example of this, as there are few shows whose characters are as accessible, deep, and intrinsically tied to plot. The Avatar is designed to bring balance to the world, and the series itself represents that methodology by bringing perfect balance to its character and plot. This is a huge part of why Avatar: The Last Airbender is such a phenomenal series that’s still being watched and discussed 15 years after its release.
‘Manifest’ Season 3 Teaser Focuses on Tail Fin in the Water – What Happened to Flight 828?
When NBC renewed Manifest for a third season, Manifesters jumped for joy. Celebrations only intensified when it was revealed the season would return as part of NBC’s fall 2020 lineup in September (or late October given COVID delays).
The trailer released by Manifest hones in on the question we’ve all been asking ourselves for way too long: what happened to the passengers aboard Flight 828?
Pieces of the second season are spliced together to amp up fans, but there’s a huge focus on the specific and major cliffhanger of the fishermen finding the tail fin of the plane in the water. My guess is that tail fin finding is going to propel the series into new and unexpected directions.
There's more to the mystery of Flight 828. ✈️
Posted by Manifest on Tuesday, June 30, 2020
Here’s what we know to be certain – Flight 828 landed five years after it took off from Jamaica. Upon landing, it exploded in front of all the passengers. Therefore, it’s very unlikely that there would be a tail fin floating around in the water.
There’s a huge assumption that the tail fin is part of the plane, but it could also be a decoy plane used by the government since we obviously know the government is involved. Maybe they wanted people to think the plane sunk? And they took the real thing to inspect? The government wouldn’t be reckless enough to dump the real thing in the ocean.
Users pointed out that when the plane exploded, it didn’t actually show the tail fin getting destroyed, so it could be the real thing.
However, another interesting point is that the tail fin being pulled out of the water and the one from the exploding plane look different. It could be another side of the fin, it could be a filming continuity error, or it might not be the same tail fin at all.
There’s a chance it’s from a different plane. Personally, it looks like it would be from an older model aircraft, so maybe it’s from a plane that crashed prior?
Or maybe it’s a plane that the survivors will board to try to defy the death date?
The fishermen are fully aware that Flight 828 returned, so we know that this timeline exists alongside the passengers and in the same dimension.
There’s also the possibility that this is the “silver dragon” from the storm episode, which pointed to the possibility of this mystery happening once before in a “lightning always strikes the same place twice.” Maybe that Calling was showing them that this is where the plane went down — an “X” marks the spot kind of moment.
Series creator Jeff Rake had this to say about the tail fin, if it offers you any insight: “We saw that plane land in New York. We saw that plane blow up on the tarmac at the end of the pilot. So how can a plane have landed and been exploded and then also be found at the bottom of the ocean? Once the entire world finds out about this tail fin, that’s going to re-trigger the global scrutiny and paranoia about Flight 828 and its passengers.”
Could it be that the passengers aren’t even real? Rake has considered it: “Does this mean that the passengers are not the passengers? And if they’re not the passengers, who are they? That’s going to be a season-long, science-based, science meets mythology investigation. For those who have been feeling that the episodes have become a little science-light or investigation-light, they have a lot of good material coming down the pike.”
We’ll have to wait a few more months to get to the bottom of this mystery.
Until then — share your best theories in the comments below!
7 Wild Facts We Learned from the Netflix Documentary ‘Money Heist: The Phenomenon’
Money Heist (La Casa de Papel) has risen the ranks as Netflix’s most popular show, but if you’ve watched the series, it’s not entirely a surprise. The Spanish-language series is one of the streaming service’s best offerings filled with charismatic characters, wit, plot twists, and passion. However, it wasn’t always a Netflix Original, and the worldwide success has been an unexpected albeit pleasant turn of events for the creators, writers, and cast.
The Netflix documentary “Money Heist: The Phenomenon (La Casa de Papel: El Fenomeno)” explores what makes the show such a thrilling addiction that has resonated with people all over the world.
What I found most interesting is that the series broke down everything that went into creating this world, these characters, and a storyline that captivates audiences. In the same way that the Professor could anticipate every move that would be executed by the police, the creators of the series have been able to tap into what audiences will connect with, what they want to see, and what will make this their favorite series.
Here are some of our favorite fun facts from the documentary — SPOILERS from all seasons ahead:
1. The show was a flop
It’s honestly hard to believe that Money Heist didn’t find immediate success in Spain considering how good the series is. According to the documentary, the series started off strong with 4.5 million viewers, but with each passing week, viewership waned until it was down to 2 million.
For that reason, the series was canceled by Spanish channel Antena 3, which explains why season 2 had such a satisfying and fitting ending. Everything was wrapped up with the idea that the series was over and done with. And then Netflix came along and added to series to its list of programming.
Here’s where you learn about the power of word of mouth — Netflix didn’t promote the series at all but somehow (and rightfully so), it began picking up steam. People from all over the world began to discover just how brilliant the Professor was; they connected with a rogue group of robbers on a personal and intimate level. Eventually, Money Heist became the second most-watched series next to Netflix’s mainstay Stranger Things, and, of course, the streaming service was ready to capitalize by reviving the series and proposing the show creators another season. The rest, is, well, history.
In fact, the series is the most viewed Netflix series in France, Italy, Argentina, Chile, Brazil, and Portugal.
2. They consulted real-life experts to make things very realistic
Money Heist doesn’t half-ass anything because the world is so far-fetched that it has to feel real. And it does. You’re completely enveloped in every aspect of the Professor’s plan and often find yourself wondering, “how are they going to pull that off?” The team putting together the series felt the same way and thus, when it came down to plotting how they are going to infiltrate high-security places and what they’re going to be stealing, they decided to consult the real-life experts to get the answers.
Personally, I was in awe of how technical the second heist was from removing the gold from the underwater vault and melting it down. The research included hiring a marine engineer to help with the construction of the antechamber that it used to go into the vault and remove the gold.
When it came to the melting down part, a father-and-son metalworker duo served as advisers on how to properly melt down 90 tons of gold into little pellets that could easily (we use that term loosely) be smuggled out. The experts were even used as extras to ensure the process was done correctly. The only difference is that they used copper instead of gold in the scene since it’s cheaper!
3. There’s a lot of movie magic
You didn’t actually think they used real gold in the underwater scenes, right? There’s plenty of movie magic that goes into bringing the world of Money Heist to life, and a lot of it is fixed in post-production. Take for example the gold, which was just styrofoam coated in a gold color that began to concave after being submerged in water and needed to be edited piece-by-piece, frame-by-frame.
However, there are elements that are truly crafted in a way that keeps everyone on their toes. The team built a set that they then submerged underwater so it would look realistic and make it seem like water was rising once they broke in.
The scene where the blimp flies over Spain at the kickstart of the second heist and all the money falls from the sky really happened, though, it wasn’t real money falling onto hundreds of extras — that would require production to stage an actual heist. The scene may have been minor, but it was necessary to get it just right in order for it to have the desired effect, which meant collecting and throwing the money over and over for several takes as the crew struggled to get it to fly in the right director. Eventually, it began raining and the paper money began melting. Moral of the story is that things go wrong just like in the Professor’s carefully crafted plan.
And the boat scene where the gang reached international waters was not filmed on a chilly and gloomy day. In fact, it was shot during a scorching hot day in the Philippines and everyone was sweating and ready to pass out from the heat. They pulled it off, right!?
4. They take risks
The idea of “no risk, no reward” definitely comes into play here. When you watch the series, you’re constantly on the edge of your seat wondering what’s going to happen next, if the plan will go off without a hitch, and what obstacle will come crashing down on the team. The thrill is a product of the cast and crew’s desire to keep you on the edge of your seat. They wanted to make a series that’s unpredictable, and the only reason to do that is to take big risks with every storyline and every character. We see that with their decisions to kill off beloved main characters because it’s the only way to keep the storytelling authentic.
Which…. leads us right into this next point (see below)!
5. The show is written on the fly
There’s a general plan for the series but unlike the Professor’s carefully thought out and meticulous plans that anticipate every move, the series is written in the “heat of the moment.” That means that very few scripts are written in advance. The writer’s team is always working as the cast is filming to add in scenes, switch up dialogue, or change the direction of the series completely.
If you think about it, it’s kind of brilliant because not only are you unsure of what’s going to happen next since it leaves the actors in suspense, but it allows the characters to react authentically to what is happening.
Obviously, this requires everyone to have their head in the game at all times but also adds a lot of pressure and stress. The show creator Alex Pina says he wakes up and is terrified going into work everyday. Essentially, that’s the anxiety the robbers would be feeling in a real life heist.
6. It has some very famous fans
Plenty of celebrities have jumped into the red jumpsuits and joined the resistance including Stephen King and Brazilian soccer player Neymar, who was so obsessed with the series that he snagged a role in the series as a monk! Who would have thought?
7. The imagery is part of the resistance
When you think of Money Heist, there’s some imagery and symbolism that comes to mind including the red jumpsuits, the Dali mask, and, of course, Bella Ciao. There’s no way you watched the series and didn’t get the song stuck in your head for days on end.
Remember how I said show creators and writers knew what they were doing? Yeah, that was purposeful. The series uses the color red as it is usually associated with blood and passion. Red has become the show’s signature color. The song, which was sung by Italian anti-fascist partisans in World War II, has become the anthem. It was first sung when Moscow hits dirt in the Mint of Spain and the whole cast erupts in a euphoric celebration in season 1.
It’s later juxtaposed with a somber rendition by the Professor and his brother, Berlin, which allows the song to take on new and deeper meaning. It eventually becomes synonymous with being the symbol of the resistance and rebellion against the government. The song is being sung all over the world during protests, riots, and more.
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