Archive for the ‘Television’ Category

A Review of The Walking Dead S4E9 – The Father, the Son, and the Zombie Slayer

By Seth Miller
Staff Writer, Part-Time Ninja

- So it looks a good portion of the remainder of this season will have different episodes focused on one or two survivors trying to live outside the prison. This could be a good chance to explore the characters some more without having to deal with a crisis. To start off, we focus on Rick and Carl trying to find a shelter, while Michonne is wandering through the zombie wasteland.

- Zombie Hershel head! Showrunners, you have put the fans through a lot and you do this; that is just cold-blooded.

- Michonne’s arc in this episode was the one I found most compelling. She made this effort to open herself up and reclaim her humanity, only to have it taken away again. She gets some new zombie pets and is willing to go out in to world to probably die.  We got some great development to her backstory with the dream sequence. We were able to see Michonne before she met the group, and she essentially wanders the world just like one of the zombies. The difference being instead of some outside force bringing her back, she resolves to live and find those that she has come to care about. She is still one of the most badass zombie slayers in the land, but she got that little bit of that humanity back that she lost long ago

- Kudos to Danai Gurira and director Greg Nicotero. Michonne’s story was filled with long stretches where she didn’t say a word. Gurira’s acting and Nicotero’s direction carry these scenes and they both do a spectacular job.  It also helps that her story climaxes with one the most incredible pieces of zombie killing I have ever seen on this show.

- While I loved Michonne’s arc the most, I also enjoyed Carl’s story throughout the episode. He starts of as petulant kid, and he still is to an extent. But what makes it not only tolerable, but also interesting, is that it comes from the tragedy of seeing his home destroyed, his family killed, and seeing Rick fail. He is trying to grapple with this idea that he will have to step up and survive on his own. He ends up finding the strength to survive for a short time. But in the end, he realizes he still needs his father, or at least that he would miss him. It was kind of a reset from the Carl at the end of season 3, who straight up murdered a kid and was brought back from the brink.

- Did anyone else find it hilarious that after Carl’s big speech about how he didn’t need Rick anymore, he got knocked down trying to smash a door? Don’t lead with your shoulder, kick the door the in!

- Zombie Apocalypse really sucks moment: The whole dream sequence that showed what happened in Michonne’s real life. Seeing this abridged version of her life before the zombie apocalypse really drives home that loss she felt and currently feels.

- Zombie Kill of the Week: Michonne’s slaughtering a whole zombie horde. I loved it, and really hope that someone out there is combining that scene with a Sterling Archer screaming rampage.

Front page image from zap2it.com. Image 1 from pennlive.com. Image 2 from screenrant.com..

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A Review of The Following S2E1 – Joe Carroll: Dead or Alive?

***WARNING: SPOILERS AHEAD FOR THE SEASON PREMIERE OF THE FOLLOWING.***

By Rob Siebert
Editor, Fanboy Wonder

I had a lot of negative things to say about The Following last season, which I still stand by today. However, given how low my expectations were coming into the season 2 premiere, I was pleasantly surprised. That being said, the episode definitely had its flaws.

One year after the murder of Claire Matthews, and the apparent death of notorious serial killer and cult leader Joe Carroll, former FBI agent Ryan Hardy’s life has seemingly returned to normal. But when a group of people are brutally murdered by a group of men wearing masks depicting Carroll’s likeness, the FBI begins investigating the possible reemergence of Carroll’s followers. Little do they know this attack occurred without the knowledge of Emma Hill, and many of Carroll’s original followers. In any event, Ryan Hardy is once again about to be thrust into a bloody conflict based around his old enemy Joe Carroll. An enemy who may, in fact, still be alive…

To be frank, I’m glad they killed off the Claire character. I didn’t so much mind her, despite how stupid and irresponsible she was at times. But after seeing the actress, Natalie Zea, have to deliver some of that God awful dialogue on Under the Dome  last summer, I’d prefer to keep her out of my sights for awhile.

Jumping ahead to the end cliffhanger, it’s surprising to see Joe has survived the fire and explosion from last season. It’s certainly a surprise to have it revealed this early. It would have been fantastic to leave that question hanging over viewers’ heads for half the season, with various characters concocting theories as to how he could have survived, where he might be, etc. Revealing his survival so soon might be a case of the show turning over too many cards too soon.

What’s more, the end of season 1 seemed to indicate that Valorie Curry’s character Emma would be the big villain going forward. Putting Joe back into the mix may or may not throw a monkey wrench into that.

At the same time, the idea of rival groups devoted to Joe Carroll is certainly intriguing. It appears we have Emma leading one group, and these twins Mark and Luke leading the other. The chaotic scene with the three followers in the Joe Carroll masks was extremely compelling. I loved the “resurrection!” battle cry, and the Carroll masks are a nice play off of the uninspired, yet undeniably creepy Edgar Allan Poe masks from last season. Seeing this group feud with Emma’s group for a few episodes leading up to Joe’s eventual return could prove interesting, especially given the world believes Joe dead.

One can definitely argue that Sam Underwood was chewing a little scenery as the twin that had the all lines (Mark?). He might find himself in a dilemma similar to Valorie Curry’s last season, in that her dialogue made her performances eye-rolling as often as they were creepy. Still, he definitely has the twisted, psychotic killer thing down. And who knew he could dance?

Arguably the most impressive aspect of the episode was the handling of the Ryan Hardy character. Given what we know about him, and the guilt we know he feels over the people Carroll has killed trying to get to him, it makes sense for him to try and hunt down the remaining cult members on his own. The one aspect of it that’s perplexing, however, is that he would choose to involve his niece Max (played by Jessica Stroup). Given all the people Ryan has lost thus far, to even have Max involved peripherally seems like a tragedy waiting to happen. Still, it’s interesting to watch Ryan try and contain what he feels is this curse that’s upon him, and how that affects his relationship not only with his family and close friends (Well hello, Keith Caradine.), but with his old buddy Mike as well.

All in all, The Following has definitely gotten off to a strong start. But then again, it got off to a strong start last year as well, and eventually the number of cliches, the hokey dialogue, and some missteps from the writer’s room left us with a subpar product. Thankfully, there’s a lot of potential for the show to be better this year. But as The Following proved last year, you can’t make great television out of potential.

Front page image from tvmediainsights.com. Image 1 from seriable.com. Image 2 from zap2it.com.

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Star Wars News: Episode VII Rewritten? Fisher and Jones on Big Bang Theory

By Rob Siebert
Editor, Fanboy Wonder

Numerous re-writes to Star Wars: Episode VII have recently taken place, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

Since the departure of Michael Arndt as screenwriter, and the insertion of director J.J. Abrams and Lawrence Kasdan in his place, the scripted has reportedly shifted to focus more on Luke Skywalker, Han Solo, and Princess Leia. Arndt allegedly had the focus on their offspring. Episode VII will reportedly give the stars of the original trilogy a send off, while Episode VIII and Episode IX will allow their children to take center-stage.

Actors reportedly being considered for roles in Episode VII include Jesse Plemons, Michael Fassbender, Adam Driver, and Hugo Weaving.

Meanwhile, Bill Prady and Steve Molaro, executive producers of The Big Bang Theory, revealed to TV Line on the Golden Globes red carpet that Carrie Fisher (Princess Leia) and James Earl Jones (the voice of Darth Vader) will guest star on an upcoming episode of the show. The actors will be playing themselves, and crossing paths with Sheldon Cooper, played by Jim Parsons.

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Game of Thrones Season 4 Trailer Debuts

By Rob Siebert
Editor, Fanboy Wonder

The first trailer for season 4 of Game of Thrones premiered January 12. The new season debuts April 6 on HBO.

Based on the popular books by George R.R. Martin, the show stars Peter Dinklage, Lena Headey, Emilia Clarke, Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, Kit Harington, among numerous others.

Front page image from comingsoon.net.

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A Review of The Walking Dead Mid-Season Finale – A Battle With No Winner

By Rob Siebert
Editor, Fanboy Wonder

-The walker that they focused on at the end of the episode, that was the crazy woman from the woods in the season premiere. Nice way to bookend the beginning of the season with the midseason finale.

- Now that was one rough episode. The battle for the prison is over and everybody lost. The prison has essentially been wiped out, Hershel’s dead, the Governor’s dead, and the girls Carol had been looking after became certified badasses. They also abandoned baby Judith to the walkers, the group is separated, and the group has a psychopath among them. This episode wiped the slate clean of many things the survivors have used for structure in this crazy world and sets up a more chaotic second half of the season.

- Hershel, you wise old bastard. I didn’t really like him at first (he left walkers in a barn), but he grew on me as a character. Scott Wilson gave a marvelous performance. He was the heart of the group, kept them together when things went to hell, and he was their best doctor. The thing I’ll remember most about his final moments was the way he was smiling in the end.  When Rick was giving his speech about how you can come back from the things you have done, Hershel got this look of pride, and some hope that someone might be able to carry on that hope in his absence.  n honor of the life you led Hershel, I will be eating spaghetti on Tuesday (or Wednesday), and punch the first man I see wearing an eye patch.

- They kind of rushed through some of the stuff with the Governor. They spent two whole episodes building him up and trying to make him seem less like a completely psychotic bastard, but still the antagonist. But in the end, most of the encounters he had with Rick were essentially the same as they would have been in season 3. The Governor had some good bits in the beginning, but all the things that gave him better motivations for the final fight were almost non-existent once he showed up at the prison.

- MICHONNE KILLED THE GOVERNOR, YAAAAY! If anyone deserved to take him down, it was her. Rick may have gotten in a few punches, and Lilly finished the job. But it was Michonne who stopped him.

 -I officially like Tara. She may have come on too hard when we first met her, but she has grown on me in the past couple of episodes. While others just went charging into the prison, she had enough sense to realize the guy leading them just sliced a man’s head of with a sword. I hope she comes back to join the regular group of survivors.

- Lizzie and her sister would have made Carol proud. They grabbed some guns and ended up saving Tyreese. Rob Siebert brought up the point that Carol, by virtue of teaching the girls to be strong, saved Tyreese’s life and that they are square. That has some merit, but Carol still probably killed Karen, and the kids apparently abandoned Judith.

- Coming into this week’s episode, I had a feeling Hershel was going to die, as well as baby Judith. I know she died in the comics, but it still hurt like hell. In the comics, she was shot by a sniper while being carried in Lori’s arms. That was terrible, but the idea she was snatched by zombies and eaten is a hundred times worse. We didn’t see a body, so there is a chance that Judith survived. But I’m not optimistic.

- On top of that, a walker that was buried in some nearby mud killed Meghan. She may have been in the Governor’s camp and thought of him as a father, but she was still an innocent kid caught up in a madman’s rampage.

-Daryl fans certainly got more to cheer about this week. He called out Rick on his decision to banish Carol, got everybody ready to fight the Governor, used a zombie as shield, blew up a tank, and then shot Mitch with his crossbow.

- In the middle of all this craziness, Tyreese stumbled upon a flayed rat. I guess this means the psycho who was feeding rats to the walkers is still around. Who could it be? Where is he/she now? Will he/she continue their crazy agenda? Some have said that it is one of the he girls that Carol adopted and she was covering for them, this would certainly put a kink in Rick’s banishment of Carol.

- “Zombie apocalypse really sucks” moment of the week: The zombie hiding out in the mud by the river.  Sad fact about the zombie apocalypse, the living dead are just going to pop out of nowhere.

- Zombie kill of the week: Daryl killing the walker with a piece of rebar, and then using it as a shield.

Front page image/image 1 from businessinsider.com. Image 2 from hypable.com. Image 3 from comicbook.com

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A Review of The Walking Dead S4E7 – Where the Man Meets the Monster

By Seth Miller
Staff Writer, Part-Time Ninja

Thoughts From The Walking Dead, Season 4, Episode 7:

-How is there still alcohol in the post-apocalyptic world? I’m assuming that one of the first resources to be depleted would be booze, because who wouldn’t start drinking at the end of the world?

- And he’s back! The Governor is back and he is going to attack the prison! After being spared by Martinez, the Governor joined Martinez’s group of survivors and life seemed to going okay.  But Martinez, and then Pete, asked the Governor to step up and be the leader. I loved what this two-episode arc has done for the character, and the new motivation that his surrogate family provides for him going into his next fight with Rick’s group.

- This episode wasn’t just about the Governor’s rise to power in the camp, but how he became the leader of Woodbury. He had a daughter that made him a better man, the world went to hell, he was called upon to lead, his daughter was killed, the darker parts of himself took over, and he still believed that he was doing the right thing.  I wanted to believe for a minute that maybe he wasn’t the same man that he was in Woodbury. But then I saw zombie Pete at the bottom of the lake, and I knew the evil S.O.B. was back.

- Was the Governor always going to take control over this group, or was he simply forced to because of mistrust? I think it was a bit of both. This dark side of the Governor has always existed, but his family controlled it. Then the apocalypse happened, and he lost his family. Without those safeguards, the Governor who killed and tortured people came to be. When he discovered Lilly and her family, he saw it as a chance to be who he was before. But being asked to lead a group of people forced him to become the Governor again. He knows this too. He will do anything to protect this new family, but what they want is to stay in the camp where it is safe. This causes all the old evils to come to the surface but now he has a living family he will do anything to protect them. This is the worst possible scenario for Rick and the people in the prison, because there is nothing worse than a villain who thinks he is righteous.

- In terms of the Governor’s family, Lilly is an X-factor. The Governor’s wife died before the zombie apocalypse, and wasn’t there to offer any sort of counsel or peace from the rigors of leadership. I don’t know if Lilly’s presence will change anything for the better, but it is a variable that was not there before.

- Martinez may have been able to get a group of people together and keep them alive, but he was doomed the moment he spared the Governor. He was able to put the past behind him and start building toward something good. But when the Governor showed up, he lost focus.  He probably could have made it if he just remembered not to be a dick around him, not ask for his help, and act like a leader. But he just couldn’t forget about Woodbury.

- Damn fine job by the effects department on the walkers who are trapped in the mud.

- While I was on the fence about Tara last week, I liked her this week. She didn’t seem to be trying too hard to be tough this week and she found a girlfriend. It’s always nice to see some romance in the middle of an apocalypse.

- “Zombie apocalypse really sucks” moment of the week: Objectively, it has to be the moment when the Governor goes back to find the camp they were going to raid has already been hit by other people. But personally, I have to go with Pete being killed.  He was a good man who just can’t survive in this world.  Also, he was played by Enver Gjokai of Joss Whedon’s Dollhouse and I love seeing Whedon alums getting roles on good projects.

- Zombie kill of the week: When the Governor shot the zombie trying to eat Megan.  Not for style, but that was the moment when the last shred of the Brian identity died.

 Front page image and image 2 from hypable.com. Image 1 from craveonline.com. Image 3 from comicbook.com.

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A Review of The Walking Dead, S4E6 – The Madness Returns

By Seth Miller
Staff Writer, Part-Time Ninja

Thoughts on The Walking Dead, Season 4, Episode 6

- What the hell is it with people in the zombie apocalypse? They screw each other, and yet are completely oblivious to the other people around them! I get that people can use some companionship after the world has ended, but you could at least try to not do it in an enclosed space with a kid just a few feet at most away from you? Also, that little girl had to see her grandfather’s head bashed in, and now you are throwing in seeing her mom and new dad going at it! That is a recipe for one really messed up kid…

-In my recap of the Season 3 finale, I hated the fact that the Governor survived. One of the reasons I was against it was because I couldn’t see how the writers could introduce him to a new group without him being a complete psychopath, much less getting people to trust him enough to assault the prison again. But introducing an isolated family that has no idea about his identity has turned out to be a pretty good way to solve that problem. Getting a second chance with a new family has allowed us to see the Governor at his best, and David Morrissey is good at selling the idea that the character might have changed. The problem is that we know this is temporary and the evil bastard will return.

- This episode reminds me of an issue of Daredevil during Ed Brubaker’s run. The storyline followed the Kingpin after he has lost his entire criminal empire, living out his life in a Spanish fishing village with a mother and her two kids. Eventually, a group of ninjas kill the family and the Kingpin returns to the world of crime. But what will turn the Governor back to the dark side is the Governor himself. The parts of him that desire control will eventually trump any noble aspects of his personality.

- I was so glad that the Governor’s henchmen abandoned him in the middle of the night. The fact they stuck with him through most of the stuff he did in season 3 strained credulity. It was good to see the writers realized there was no way in hell they would stick with him.

- I’m on the fence about the new character, Tara. She has one or two moments where she seems like a decent character, but there were times when I found her a bit annoying. And if you hurt your ankle on an empty road because you don’t tie your boot all the way, your odds of survival are pretty damn terrible.

- “Zombie apocalypse really sucks” moment of the week: Seeing Megan after her grandfather was killed. It’s easy to forget that not all kids are like Carl, and this is some seriously disturbing stuff for her to see.

- Zombie kill of the week: The Governor popping a walker’s head off with a bone.

Front page image from hypable.com. Image 1 from amctv.com. Image 2 from independant.co.uk.

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A Review of The Walking Dead S4E5 – Hershel’s Hope

By Seth Miller
Staff Writer, Part-Time Ninja

- Important lesson about the zombie apocalypse: Things don’t go bad, they go freaking horrible. The infected in the prison start dying, the fence is collapsing, walkers are everywhere, and Glenn got infected/zombie blood in his mouth.

- After this episode, I don’t think the group could survive without Hershel. Not only is he a doctor, but he is the only one who still tries to hold on to some sense of the dignity from the old world and keep the harsh reality from bringing the group down. He knows how bad things have gotten, but he will do his best to shield these people from everything that’s happening. He still won’t give up on them. That kind of hope and resilience in the face of the apocalypse is just as important as survival skills, and I don’t think anybody else in the group can match it.

- I am really worried about Lilly. Since the beginning of the season, she has treated walkers in a really unusual way. I’m not sure whether she was trying to lure that walker away, or if she somehow thought of it as pet. With Carol gone, I am scared about this kid’s future.

- This episode had what was probably my favorite action sequence the show has ever produced. Everything that could have gone wrong just happened in the span of a few minutes, and everybody stood a good chance of getting killed. It had everything. Guns, zombie hordes, arm breaking, fences snapping, and a fair amount of badassery. There were also some good character moments with Rick bringing Carl back into the fold, and Maggie potentially choosing her father over Glenn by shooting the intubated zombie.

- I am so happy that Sasha survived the plague. She has so far come across as a cool character, and Tyreese has lost too much at this point.

- Speaking of Tyreese, how does everybody think he is going to react when he learns Carol has been banished? Will he accept Rick’s decision, or will he want more justice? Also, how is Daryl going to react?

- While Tyreese and Sasha came out on top this week, Glenn got the shaft multiple times. He is sick and near death for the entire episode. Then an infected person coughs in Glenn’s mouth and he starts to suffocate.  Thirdly, he had to get an intubation tube stuck down his throat.  I also hope that Hershel gave Glenn a fresh tube or sterilized that other tube.

- Rick has decided to bring Carl back into the zombie killing life. I can’t decide whether or not Rick fully trusts Carl after he shot that teenager in the woods, but he at least is willing to let him fight to protect the prison. It’s also gratifying to see Rick come back to farming for a bit. In the season premiere, Rick was told by the crazy lady in the woods that you can’t come back from the things that you have done. Rick has been pushed in these last few episodes, but by the end of this one, he seems to have found a nice balance between the Sheriff Rick and Farmer Rick. I hope it can last.

- How many people actually made it through both the plague and the walker massacre? I know the core group and the kids Carol was looking after made it. But are they the only ones left, or are there others? Either way, the virus is apparently gone, and the fences can be rebuilt; the group may just make it out of this and…aw, crap…

- THE GOVERNOR HAS RETURNED. Is he the one behind the zombies on the fence? Where has he been? What happened to the other two guys who were with him? With all the activity outside the prison, how did nobody see the Governor skulking out there?

- “Zombie apocalypse really sucks” moment of the week: This entire freaking episode!

- Zombie kill of the week: Tie between Hershel snapping Doctor Caleb’s arm, followed by knife to the eye; and Maggie for tagging a zombie in the head while avoiding the bag Hershel needed to intubate Glenn.

Images from comicbook.com. 

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A Review of The Walking Dead S4E4 – Released From Prison

By Seth Miller
Staff Writer, Part-Time Ninja

- This is an open question that I’m just throwing out there: Would anybody really pick a Hyundai as his or her vehicle of choice for the zombie apocalypse?

- After the events of the past three episodes, this show focuses on two groups searching for supplies, and takes a step back from the flu pandemic at the prison. Rick and Carol go for supplies in the suburbs, while Daryl, Michonne, Tyreese, and Bob finally get to a veterinary school to get supplies to stop the pandemic. This was necessary to decompress from all the insanity at the prison and address the fact Carol straight up murdered two people. In the end, Daryl and the others got the medicine, and Rick banished Carol from the prison for killing Karen and Dave.

- The episode opened with Carol talking to Lizzie in quarantine and at one point Carol told Lizzie not to call her “mom.” Then at the end, Carol told Rick to think about the girls that she had adopted. These two things make me wonder about why Carol really killed Karen and Dave. Has the loss of Sophia had a deeper psychological effect on Carol than we previously believed? Carol lost her daughter in probably the worst possible way. Following her loss, she did a complete 180 and became a post-apocalyptic badass. But after the zombie outbreak in episode two, she became the surrogate parent of two girls. Faced with the prospect of losing a child again, she made a drastic decision to protect them. It has blown up in her face, and now she has deal with being separated from them.

- Carol will probably show up again in some other community (maybe running it) or living in the wilderness on her own. Personally, I hope  she comes back Road Warrior style as the leader of a band of nomadic outlaws, driving a massive truck with a pair of walkers strapped to the hood.

- Rick may have started the Ricktatorship up again.  Carol was guilty of murder, but if Rick really believed in the prison council he would have brought her back so they could have made a decision.

- I think that the survivors Rick and Carol found in the suburbs became a test for Carol, at least in Rick’s mind. He asked the three questions, and didn’t quite trust them, but he decided to have faith in them when Carol did. But the girl ended up devoured by walkers, and the guy was nowhere to be found. Rick trusted Carol, but she was apparently wrong. Thus, she’s banished.

- It has been confirmed: Bob is an alcoholic. There were some suspicions after the supermarket incident, which he felt guilty about. But he nearly risked the lives of his cohorts for a bottle of booze this week. Daryl seemed to have some sympathy for the guy (probably because Merle was an addict as well), but Bob put his needs above the family that Daryl has wanted for so long. Daryl told Bob he wasn’t alone after his confession about the supermarket, but in the end he was alone again.

- I still have some sympathy for Bob. He has been with, and maybe grown close with two previous groups only to see them all get killed. There is only so much one person can take before they snap. Bob being an alcoholic is the least terrible thing he could have become.

-“Zombie apocalypse really sucks” moment of the week: The gas station workers killing themselves with antifreeze to escape from the zombie apocalypse.

-Zombie kill of the week: Giving it to Michonne this week when she decapitated two walkers at once in the vet school.

Front page image from rickey.org. Image 1 cinemablend.com. Image 2 from comicbook.com. Image 3 from thewalkingdeadseason3.net.

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Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. to Cross Over with Thor: The Dark World

By Rob Siebert
Editor, Fanboy Wonder

Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. will be doing a crossover episode with Thor: The Dark World later this month.

After the film is released on November 8, the November 19 episode of S.H.I.E.L.D., titled “The Well,” will pick up where the events of The Dark World left off.

The episode synopsis reads: “In the aftermath of the events chronicled in the feature film Marvel’s Thor: The Dark World, Coulson and the Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. pick up the pieces–one of which threatens to destroy a member of the team.”

While no cast members from The Dark World are scheduled to appear in the episode, numerous guest stars have been announced: Peter MacNicol as Professor Elliot Randolph, Michael Graziadei as Jakob Nystrom, Erin Way as Petra Larsen, Toby Wilson as Neils, Alex Neustaedter as Maynard, and Sylvia Brindis as Elena.

Source: Entertainment Weekly

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