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'Métal Hurlant Chronicles' recap: Blurred lines

Season 2 | Episode 6 | “Back to Reality” | Aired May 12, 2014

We see a guy sit in a chair as he’s fed pills by another man. He then gets a funky head contraption placed on him, and we soon learn that he’s about to enter virtual reality. The man in charge of the business, Norman (Jimmy Jean-Louis), tells us in a voiceover that Stanley (Dominique Pinon) is like most men: the first time, it’s always about trying to find adventure and courage. After that, the customer gets hooked.

The second time is always about sex. Stanley’s next adventure brings him to … Oh, wait, we’re now back in the castle from “The Second Son!” There’s the king shouting for entertainment, and Tybalt and Byron going at it. Stanley is a guest at the wedding, watching and wanting lots of excitement — which he gets from one of the maids. He definitely seems to love using this contraption.

Norman’s next customer, Lana, uses the machine more for romance, including some sequences with Norman himself. They start kissing in the virtual world, but Norman starts taking advantage of her in the real world as well. Because that’s not creepy at all to make advances on someone while they’re not fully conscious.


Once you get it all in the virtual world, it’s hard to go back to the real world. Stanley is starting to realize this. He already hates his real life and his job, and he REALLY hates his boss, who berates him for no good reason. It’s no surprise, then, that for his next virtual experience, he has Norman send him to his office environment, this time armed with a baseball bat. Stanley enjoys busting down the door, taking his boss by surprise and beating him to a bloody pulp. But before he can relish this moment, the cops arrive. Wait, but this isn’t reality! So why isn’t Stanley waking up? It appears that virtuality and reality have intertwined, as we see Norman standing in the crowd and laughing that poor Stanley can’t tell the difference anymore.

Lana arrives for her next session, but is worried because she was Stanley’s coworker. She just saw everything and wants to forget it. To calm herself, her virtual session has her on a balcony overlooking peaceful waters … or is she standing on top of a skyscraper about to jump? Her time in the real world also comes to an end as she’s discovered on the pavement, dead. Norman just chuckles and walks away.

One more customer arrives; it seems that Norman is trying to get him to commit theft at his bidding. It’s like he’s just altering their virtual realities to fit his own. The new guy gets away with stealing and then killing, as Norman watches. However, before he can get away, a portal seems to approach him. The next thing he knows, the Métal Hurlant asteroid collides into him, destroying him.


It turns out that the joke is on him, as all this has been a virtual reality in Norman’s head. He’s been the test subject for a freedom simulator given to prisoners to see how they would react to certain situations. Sadly for him, due to the choices he’s made (murder by mental manipulation, assisted suicide, theft), he failed the test and his parole has been denied.


All of his customers and Stanley’s boss are part of the program; they look on as he gets taken away. Another prisoner gets brought in and is about to face the same treatment. With all the prisoners they have to test, it’s going to be a long night.

Next week is the series finale! Are you looking forward to seeing if there will be any more surprising connections to wrap everything up. I am!

TV Families | EW.com
Mark Harris
February 23, 1990 AT 05:00 AM EST

The Bradys are back, with a passel of 90’s hassles. Do they represent the typical American Family? Did they ever? Who does? Stare and compare!

Kind Of Family
TheBradyBunch 1969-74: Blended
The Bradys 1990-: Enormous
Married…With Children 1987-: Postnuclear
Thirtysomething 1987-: Extended
The Flintstones 1960-66: Modern Stone Age

Family Pet
The Brady Bunch: Tiger
The Bradys: Alice
Married…With Children: Buck
Thirtysomething: Grendel
The Flintstones: Dino

Typical Guest Star
The Brady Bunch: Davey Jones
The Bradys: There’s no room
Married…With Children: Sam Kinison
Thirtysomething: Carly Simon
The Flintstones: Ann Margrock

Expression Of Joy
The Brady Bunch: Groovy!
The Bradys: Ritual hugging
Married…With Children: ”Oh, great.”
Thirtysomething: ”Of course I’m happy for you. Really. But what about me? Why does it always have to be about you?
The Flintstones: ”Yabba-dabba doo

Expression Of Rage

The Brady Bunch: ”Hmmm…”
The Bradys: ”If you back away from something you really want, then you’re a quitter!” (the angriest any Brady has ever been)
Married…With Children: ”Aaagh, God, take me from this miserable life!”
Thirtysomething: ”I’m not angry, OK?”
The Flintstones: ”Willllmaaaa!”

Typical Problem
The Brady Bunch: Marcia and her rival both want to be the prom queen.
The Bradys: Bobby gets paralyzed.
Married…With Children: Al doesn’t buy his family Christmas presents.
Thirtysomething: Nancy gets cancer.
The Flintstones: Fred and Barney are staying out too late.

Typical Solution
The Brady Bunch: The prom committee decides to have two queens.
The Bradys: Bobby gets married.
Married…With Children: They hate him.
Thirtysomething: If only we knew…
The Flintstones: Wilma and Betty decide to follow them.

House Style
The Brady Bunch: Conservative but mod, circa ’69
The Bradys: Conservative but mod, circa ’90
Married…With Children: Roach motel
Thirtysomething: Enviable
The Flintstones: Suburban cave

Clothing Style
The Brady Bunch: Early Osmonds
The Bradys: Made in the USA
Married…With Children: Flammable fabrics
Thirtysomething: Eclectic earth tones; nice ties
The Flintstones: One-piece

Most Annoying Character
The Brady Bunch: Alice’s cousin Emma, the substitute housekeeper (too strict)
The Bradys: Marcia’s husband, Wally (chronically unemployable)
Married…With Children: Steve (supercilious)
Thirtysomething: Ellyn (goes through Hope’s drawers, babbles, changes hairstyle every other week, generally mistreats her friends)
The Flintstones: Mr. Slate (bossy)

Attitude Toward Sex
The Brady Bunch: Never heard of it
The Bradys: Omigod — even Cindy does it!
Married…With Children: Peg: Yes. Al: No.
Thirtysomething: They didn’t get all those kids by accident.
The Flintstones: Prehistoric

How Spouses Fight
The Brady Bunch: They don’t.
The Bradys: Infrequently, but it happens
Married…With Children: Tooth and nail
Thirtysomething: They stop talking
The Flintstones: Fred and Barney go bowling while Wilma and Betty max out their charge cards.

How Kids Get Into Trouble
The Brady Bunch: Greg takes a puff of a cigarette.
The Bradys: Carol’s grandson steals her business cards and sticks them in the spokes of Bobby’s wheelchair.
Married…With Children: By committing felonies
Thirtysomething: Ethan plays with a forbidden toy rocket.
The Flintstones: They don’t.

How They’re Punished

The Brady Bunch: ”It’s not what you did, honey — it’s that you couldn’t come to us.”
The Bradys ”Next time, ask.”
Married…With Children: By the authorities
Thirtysomething: It blows up in his face.
The Flintstones: They’re not.

What Family Does For Fun
The Brady Bunch: Takes special three-part vacations to Hawaii and the Grand Canyon
The Bradys: Has flashbacks
Married…With Children: Exchanges insults
Thirtysomething: Talks
The Flintstones: Attends showings of The Monster at the Bedrock Drive-In

Unsolved Mysteries
The Brady Bunch: How exactly did Carol’s first husband and Mike’s first wife die?
The Bradys: What’s with Marcia’s new face and Bobby’s blonde hair
Married…With Children: What kind of hair spray does Peg use?
Thirtysomething: Why did Nancy take Elliot back? What do Gary and Susanna see in each other?
The Flintstones: How does Barney’s shirt stay on if he has no shoulders? Where do Fred and Wilma plug in their TV?

Worst Behavior
The Brady Bunch: The Brady children once made Alice feel under-appreciated.

The Bradys: Marcia’s son Mickey watches Bobby’s car-crash tape for fun.
Married…With Children: The Bundy’s kill their neighbor’s dog.
Thirtysomething: Elliot has an affair and talks about it.
The Flintstones: Characters don’t wear under-clothes.

Best Reason To Watch
The Brady Bunch: This is what life should be.
The Bradys: They’re all grown-ups now!
Married…With Children: Terry Rakolta hates it.
Thirtysomething (Tie) This is your life. This isn’t your life.
The Flintstones: This is what life might have been.

Best Reason Not To Watch
The Brady Bunch: Blurred vision from rerun overdoses.
The Bradys: You’re all grown-ups now.
Married…With Children: She has a point.
Thirtysomething: After a while, you think it’s real.
The Flintstones: The Simpsons

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