Spoiler-Free Review of “Utopia” on Amazon Prime Video: Where is Jessica Hyde?

**This is a spoiler-free review so feel free to read on!**

“What have you done today to earn your place in this crowded world?”

Utopia is a new television series based on the 2013 UK series of the same name. Utopia stars John Cusack, Ashleigh LaThrop, Dan Byrd, Desmin Borges, Sasha Lane, Rainn Wilson and Jessica Rothe. The Amazon Prime Video series premiered on September 25th 2020 with eight episodes (approximately 50 minutes in length).

After a mysterious cult comic book is discovered, a group of devoted fans begin to bid on it. The comic book has predicted diseases in the past and it may be the key to stopping a new virus that is quickly spreading across the country. After many of the bidders wind up dead, the group realizes that the comic book may be based on truth, leading them deeper down the rabbit hole.

Here is the trailer:

Utopia may hit a little too close to home with everything going on in the world right now, but the mysterious puzzle pieces, conspiracy thrills, and dark trippy madness give it a lot of potential. Is Utopia worthy of your next binge-watch? Let’s find out…

The Pros:

Utopia Series 1

Images courtesy of Amazon Prime Video

A plot you can quickly lose yourself in.

There are a lot of Wonderland-esque underlines sprinkled throughout this show which worked to its advantage. The puzzle pieces and clues reel you in each episode and there is enough going on to keep you invested without being overly predictable.

Utopia Series 2

Images courtesy of Amazon Prime Video

Familiar faces and characters to root for.

John Cusack is the star of the show, but I was pleasantly surprised to see Happy Death Day’s Jessica Rothe as well. As each character is revealed, we learn more and more and I thought that there was a great dynamic between them all.

Some characters are more jaded than others and this show is not afraid to kill off characters, but it does a good job of balancing the shock value with consistent characters you want to see survive.

The Cons:

Utopia Series 3

Images courtesy of Amazon Prime Video

Weird timing.

I can’t ignore the timing of the release of this show and while I am fine separating it from the real events of the world, it does bring up a lot of conspiracy theories and ulterior agendas that may seem unwelcomed during this time. I think that as long as you can separate yourself from that and treat this as a work of fiction (which it is), you can still thoroughly enjoy the watch.

Extreme violence and torture shown.

This is not necessarily a con, but I think that sensitive viewers should consider passing on this one. Amazon Prime Video does a good job of putting up advisories prior to the episodes with extremely disturbing content and you should pay attention to those for sure. Beware the spoon…

So am I in or out?

Utopia Series 4

Images courtesy of Amazon Prime Video

I’m in!

Sure, there were some cringe-worthy scenes and some outrageous plot twists, but this show answered my call and then some with a fast-paced binge-watch. The show drew me in from the very first episode and held my attention the entire time.

If you enjoy conspiracy thrillers, Alice in Wonderland, and mysterious puzzles, you are in the right place!

I hope you enjoyed the review and feel free to post your own thoughts and theories on Utopia in the comments section below. Thanks so much for reading and happy viewing!

Best,

Amy Koto, TV Fanatic Girl

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Ranking the top 5 moments from “Once Upon a Time” season 7 episode 18: “The Guardian”

After watching ABC’s Once Upon a Time season 7 episode 18 last night, Rumple gives up his chance at true freedom to protect someone else from losing hers, proving that even he can show signs of a pure heart.  Well maybe not completely pure, but his love for Belle is certainly pointing his moral compass in the right direction.  Please note spoilers are ahead if you have not gotten a chance to watch yet.  In last night’s episode, “The Guardian,” Rumple tries to get to the bottom of Hansel/Nick’s mysterious death while Henry begins to question everything, desperately seeking something real and concrete.  Meanwhile, Regina pays Dr. Facilier/Samdi a visit and Tilly/Alice and Margot/Robin enjoy an adventurous first date.  My top 5 moments from Once Upon a Time season 7 episode 18 are:

5

Rumple crosses paths with Dr. Facilier in the past.

In this episode, we learn more about Rumple’s past.  He has still been trying to find a way to free him from the dagger so he can be with his true love, Belle but is running out of time.  Even though Belle is gone, he finds comfort in speaking to her and reveals his most vulnerable thoughts to her, clinging to a connection.  Rumple’s thoughts are interrupted when Dr. Facilier shows up, reminding us that these two are no strangers in Hyperion Heights.  Rumple and Dr. Facilier discuss how the new guardian must be “pure of heart” and that she will need to be tested if he ever wants to see Belle again.  Rumple approaches the potential guardian, Alice with a test, desperate to save himself no matter what the cost.  In present day, Rumple discovers Hansel/Nick’s body and knows that this was no accident.  He finds a voodoo pin on the floor and immediately blames Dr. Facilier.  When he discovers that the dagger has gone missing, he refuses to sit by and play by the rules.

4

Tilly/Alice and Margot/Robin go on a first date.

Undeniable sparks have been flying between Tilly and Margot as soon as Margot arrives in town.  Margot even tells her mother, Zelena/Kelly that she wants to stay behind because of the potential budding romance.  When Margot asks Tilly to join her for a day on the town, she means business, as she even comments that she is wearing lip gloss for the occasion.  After a sugar-rushed treat, Tilly opens up and decides to show Margot her world.  She brings her to a bookstore and tells her how much she loves it because she can go anywhere in the world without moving from this very spot.  After Tilly has a minor breakdown, Margot reminds her that she is there for it all, including the bad.  She gives Alice a bracelet similar to the ones she collected around the world and tells her, “This felt like an adventure to me.”

3

“Don’t make me ask you a third time.”

After Rumple discovers that the dagger is missing, he immediately blames Dr. Facilier and tells Regina about his concerns.  He asks Regina for the magic she got from Dr. Facilier but she reminds him that this is the only thing in the world she has to try and save her son and his grandson, Henry.  Regina tries to do what is right and confronts Dr. Facilier who admits to killing Hansel/Nick but not to taking the dagger.  Regina takes him at his word, but is she being blinded by her unresolved feelings for him?  Rumple refuses to trust him, however; and steals the magic from Regina.  Later on when he realizes his mistake, he explains to Regina that he did what he had to do.  Regina is beyond angry, however; and tells him that he hasn’t changed a bit and that she’s done with it.  She tells Rumple, “you and I…we’re through,” and it looks like she means it.

2

Rumple makes the right choice.

After testing Alice, she passes with flying colors and is about to take on the responsibility of being the new guardian.  Rumple has a change of heart, however; and stops her from doing this.  He explains to her that “immortality is just another tower” and he can’t do that to her.  This moment is touching and leads to one where even Nook thanks him for doing the right thing and shakes his hand.  Rumple promises Belle that he will find another way for them to find each other again and it looks like his decision brought him one step closer to that.  Even though it may not seem that way, Rumple’s decision to choose goodness will lead him to his happy ending.  Only it just might take a while to actually achieve it.  In present day, Tilly/Alice is hearing a buzzing in her head and shows Rumple that the dagger appeared in her bag.  Rumple knows that Tilly is the true guardian, previously thinking it could have been Anastasia, but takes the dagger back and hides it away for now.  Will Rumple make the same right choice now in Hyperion Heights?  We’ll have to stay tuned, but Rumple’s path toward redemption is not over just yet.

1

Henry questions everything.

Henry doesn’t know what to believe after seeing the medical blood test report.  He goes down to the station to talk more to Hansel/Nick, but is shocked to learn that he is dead.  He asks Nook/Rogers if he can look around Nick’s apartment, which is clearly breaking the law and tampering with evidence, but Nook agrees all the same.  Henry is not the only one questioning everything around him, as Nook/Rogers reveals that a medical report showed that Hansel/Nick was stabbed in the heart from the inside which is simply not possible.  He asks a very important question, “What the hell’s going on in this town?” but it looks like we will need to wait for him to find out more.  At the end of the episode, Henry shows the blood test results to Jacinda and tells her that he even called the hospital to confirm their authenticity.  Henry finally realizes that Lucy was right all along and blurts out, “I am her father.”  It looks like it will only be a matter of time before everyone wakes up and realizes that they are stuck within another curse, but will they be able to break it without consequences?  Stay tuned!

I hope you enjoyed the list and feel free to post your own thoughts and theories on Once Upon a Time in the comments section below.  Happy viewing!

Best,

Amy Koto, TV Fanatic Girl

@TV_Fanatic_Girl

Ranking the top 5 moments from “Once Upon a Time” season 7 episode 14: “The Girl in the Tower”

After watching ABC’s Once Upon a Time season 7 episode 14 last night, the words of Lewis Carroll seem more than appropriate, reminding us that all the best people are mad and I completely agree.  One can really sympathize with Tilly/Alice who feels invisible in the world around her, desperately trying to find someone to connect to.  Whether it be to Nook or an unconventional silent friend, Tilly/Alice is hanging on by a thread and desperately needs someone to believe in her.  Please note spoilers are ahead if you have not gotten a chance to watch yet.  In last night’s episode, “The Girl in the Tower,” we learn how Alice is able to break free from the tower with the help of a giant troll and we see the first time that she meets Robin.  Meanwhile, Rogers/Nook puts everything on the line to help Tilly, Ivy/Drizella takes off to find her sister, Regina and Lucy put “operation hyacinth” into motion, and Zelena tries to find out what her sister is hiding.  My top 5 moments from Once Upon a Time season 7 episode 14 are:

5

Ivy/Drizella goes to find Ana.

While it appears that Ivy/Drizella is finally trying to do the right thing, no one said that this would be an easy task.  Ivy/Drizella is learning that and realizes she needs to go and find her sister, Anastasia on her own and continue to make amends.  She confides to Henry that she wishes she had met him before and maybe she would have made better choices as a result.  While Ivy/Drizella cannot go back and change the path she took, it’s not too late for her to break off into a new one that could lead her to good.  However, after seeing the preview for next week’s episode, it looks like she may not be ready to help Regina, so is this goodness short-lived?

4

“Nobin” and “Tower Girl.”

While we know that there is a romance between Alice and Robin at some point in time, we get a glimpse into their very own “meet cute.”  Robin points an arrow at Alice, who is spying on her father, Nook from afar.  After Robin reveals the reasoning behind Nook’s new nickname, Alice playfully suggests that they call her “Nobin.”  “Yea don’t call me that,” Robin says, clearly not a fan of her new nickname.  In return, she calls Alice “Tower Girl,” and the two head off to find the troll that is destroying villages.  Alice tries to defend the troll and explains that he is her friend, but Robin is determined to prove that she can live up to the legend of her father.

3

“Sometimes you just have to look up and face your problems.”

After getting captured, Robin escapes to go kill the troll and Alice follows quickly behind, proving that she can improvise with a hairpin as well.  Just as Robin is about to take the shot, Alice intervenes to protect her friend.  Robin turns on the men she came there with and explains that she would “rather be a troll lover than fight beside a bully like you.”  Robin makes the right call and chooses friendship over pride.  The famous “yellow bug” car makes a cameo appearance as well, bringing fans back to the days of Emma Swan.  Robin and Alice try and stop the troll and Alice realizes that she created him during her loneliness.  She is able to successfully turn him back into a statue, now understanding what true freedom means.  Robin has now returned to Hyperion Heights in present day and she meets Tilly who is in desperate need of some advice.  Robin tells her that “sometimes you just have to look up and face your problems,” before revealing that she is reading “Alice in Wonderland,” which is her favorite book.  Tilly takes her advice literally and realizes that the troll statue has a camera hidden in his eye, providing her with the alibi she needed to prove her innocence.

2

Rogers/Nook tries to help Tilly/Alice.

After last week’s episode, it seemed like Nook would never be able to see the blaring clue right in front of him that Tilly/Alice is his daughter.  While he still has not realized this, Rogers/Nook finally makes the right decision and tries to help Tilly.  He hides her out at Henry’s apartment and tells her, “I believe you now.”  Even after Tilly discovers that no one in the town remembers her and the pieces of hair show up in her backpack, Rogers/Nook does not abandon her.  He continues to help her and at the end of the episode, he asks Tilly to stay with him, which is beyond heart-warming.

1

Step 1 of “Operation Hyacinth.”

While Lucy doesn’t seem thrilled about the idea of “walky-talkies,” she is ready to go to work and help Regina find out what Doctor Facilier is doing in town.  Initially, Regina keeps this from Zelena, however; and takes Doctor Facilier on a decoy date while Lucy breaks in to see what she can find.  Zelena interrupts the date and asks her sister why she is lying to her.  Regina explains what is going on and tries to warn Lucy who is able to get out in just the nick of time, but not before finding the tarot cards revealing the death card.  Doctor Facilier proves that he is not easily fooled and drops by Regina’s place with Lucy’s hat.  He tells her that he is here for The Dark One’s dagger and shows Regina her own fortune cards, revealing that love is still a possibility for her.  But at what cost?  Regina finally tells Zelena everything, including about her feelings for Doctor Facilier.  When Robin comes in to see her mother, Zelena hates that they have to lie to her and Regina tells her, “welcome to the club sis.”  While Regina was able to get some important information out of Doctor Facilier, is he being completely truthful with her?  Will Regina tell Rumpel what is going on?  Stay tuned to find out!

I hope you enjoyed the list and feel free to post your own thoughts and theories on Once Upon a Time below.  Happy viewing!

Best,

Amy Koto, TV Fanatic Girl

@TV_Fanatic_Girl