Review: The Middleman 1.02 "The Accidental Occidental Conception"
Karen L. Newman
Karen L. Newman has been a published writer since 2004 in the horror, science fiction and fantasy genres. Over two hundred and fifty of her short stories and poems have been published both online and in print. Her books include EEKU (Sam’s Dot, 2005) and ChemICKals (Naked Snake Press, 2007) and her work has been nominated for a Dwarf Star Award. She won the 2005 Mary Jane Barnes Award and two of her poems received honorable mention in The Year’s Best Fantasy and Horror. She edits the online magazine Afterburn SF, which publishes speculative short stories, and is the editor for the print poetry magazine Illumen. She also write reviews for Dark Discoveries. Her reviews have also been featured in Noneuclidean Cafe, The Dream People, Night to Dawn, and Gothic Review.View all articles by Karen L. Newman
The second episode of The Middleman, entitled "The Accidental Occidental Conception", fleshes out the character of Lacey Thornfield. The following sentences contain spoilers. In this episode Wendy reports to work exhausted, having had to bale Lacey out of jail for protesting nude at a sushi bar. This new case involves the death of a Chinese restaurant owner by mudslide. Further research at headquarters reveals that the mud is a reanimation of a terra-cotta warrior seeking a new modern-day ruler.
Meanwhile, Lacey decides to protest fur and heads to a fashion house run by Roxy Wasserman, reformed succubus, as is everyone who works for her. Before Lacey can say anything about the fur, Roxy asks for an opinion on a dress. Lacey, as usual, speaks her mind and is offered employment at the fashion house just as the Middleman and Wendy arrive to ask for an antidote for the destruction of the terra-cotta man from Roxy.
The Middleman and Wendy return to the fashion house where Roxy performs a drum-laden ritual to send the heroes to the underworld. While there, Wendy has an opportunity to discover if her missing father’s dead. The Middleman cries for her to use the new antidote before she can determine anything.
Lacey loses her new job, but not before having Roxy give her the furs, which are then distributed to the needy by Lacey and a male friend from the fashion house.
Again, the casting is superb. Having the underworld the lobby of a hotel is clever. The special effects for the terra-cotta warrior are realistic. The main flaw, again, is the Noser character. He’s not entertaining, and the music he refers to can be obtuse for some viewers. This show deserves it PG-14 rating, for sexual innuendo. I’m not sure that’s really needed for the plot. The Middleman would attract more viewers if the rating were closer to PG, which I think can be done without losing core content.
Still, I recommend this program – very entertaining and a perfect summer escape.
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