Julien Neaves, Caribbean Head Writer
Every great superhero needs a great villain, and in Episode 2 of Trinidad and Tobago series Magonolia “The Wrath of Lallane” the spotlight is shone up the titular sword-wielding, alien baddie.
Now before I get into my episode review I have to post this disclaimer. Magonolia creator Ancil Harris has been a personal friend and collaborator for many years. If you noticed I had Sommer do the review for the premiere of Magonolia just to avoid any appearance of bias. But due to extenuating circumstances she wasn’t able to do this one, so yours truly had to bite the bullet. I spoke with Ancil, however, and he knows I will be putting away my Friend Hat (it’s a fedora of course), putting on my Reviewer Helmet (think World War I) and giving my completely objective opinion. With that out of the way and a mild SPOILER ALERT let’s dive into it:
The episode picks up right where the last ended with the shocking appearance of Lallane (Khaliyah Jaggernath-Mills) to Magonolia (Aaliyah Ragoonath-Maharaj), our 16-year-old telekinetic superhero, and her friend Kimberly. The story then jumps back 20 years to a young Lallane on her home planet of Capernaum and tracks her rise to lethal warrior seeking to eliminate the “abomination” of half human, half Capernaum hybrids like Magonolia.
The series is a mix of a science fiction and teen superhero drama and the former employs a lot of visual effects to bring the alien ships and planets to life. And I must give kudos to Adrian Beauche for his visual effects work. It is not Hollywood standard (and you wouldn’t expect that on this budget) but it is vibrant, imaginative and polished. The special effects for Magonolia and Lallane’s powers were also pretty decent, though the sound effects could have been just a tad bit punchier. As we are on visuals I have to mention the locations. The episode visits four planets (excluding Earth) and other than the technologically-advanced Capernaum the rest are clearly in the same forested setting. A change in location would have helped to sell the different planets and do some visual storytelling. Opportunity lost there.
And speaking of storytelling, this episode packs a lot into its 24-minute run-time. We not only get Lallane’s backstory but we also meet new characters and learn of the Capernaum/Moor conflict. As a seasoned Sci Fi man myself I was able to keep up but it may be heavy for your more casual viewer. One aspect I thought was cool was the introduction of the Capernaum language. I hate it in television and movies when you have aliens talking English with no explanation, so I appreciated that they made up an actual language for the aliens and explained how they were able to speak English.
In terms of acting Jaggernath-Mills does well as the driven Lallane. The best villains are the ones who think they’re heroes, and both the performance and writing reflect that Lallane believes she is in the right even when slaughtering people. I also enjoyed Jumael James as Lallane’s stoic mentor Vaser Claw and Charli Griffith as her caring mother Lou-Cinda. The other performances were serviceable and the only one that fell flat for me was Vanessa Seunal as Lallane’s aunt Lura.
But Julien. What about the action? Hold on, hold on, I’m getting to it. Because there was so much story to unpack the episode is very exposition-heavy and action-lite. We do see Lallane using her sword on an alien planet but I would have appreciated a scene with her taking out a group of Moors like the bad mama jama she is. The episode does eventually swing back to the Magonolia and Lallane showdown and that does deliver some entertaining action. There is a scene, however, where Magonolia changes instantly from her civilian clothes into her superhero costume which she left home. But her powers (as far as I know) are telekinesis, not teleportation. How the heck did she pull that off? That one confused me.
All in all Episode 2 is a solid follow-up that further expands the interesting universe of Magonolia and provides insight into her deadly adversary. And I am interested to see what comes next in Episode 3 and 4.
Editor Jules’s Score: 6.5 out of 10
You can view both episodes of Magonolia by clicking this link here. For Sommer’s review of Magonolia Episode 1 you can click here. Or for Trini zombie web series Infection you can check out my reviews by clicking the following links: Episode 1, Episode 2 and Episode 3.
Julien “Jules” Neaves is a TARDIS-flying, Force-using Trekkie whose bedroom stories were by Freddy Krueger, learned to be a superhero from Marvel, but dreams of being Batman. I love promoting Caribbean film (Cariwood), creating board games and I am an aspiring author. I say things like “12 flavours of awesome sauce”. I can also be found posting about TV and movie memes, news and trailers on Facebook at Movieville. And to stay on top of all Redmangoreviews articles you can like and follow us on Facebook here.