Thursday, May 05, 2016

My Review of Empire's 2x16: "The Lyon Who Cried Wolf"

Written by Joshua Allen
Directed by Millicent Shelton

Leah (to Lucious): "I was sick, now I'm sorry. Sorry I was too weak to kill you when I had the chance."

Okay, now I can see why Lucious was more than happy to let everyone else believe that Leah was dead. Andre might have meant well but he opened up the worst cans of worms by springing his grandmother back from Philadelphia and back into Lucious's life.

Lucious might be awful but that last scene where Leah is forcing him to eat cake and holding that knife, I did actually feel bad for him. With only two episode left, I don't see anything positive coming out of Lucious seeing his mother again. Andre just made things a lot worse and the promos are heavily implied some bad stuff is going down for the Lyons.

This week Lucious got Thirsty to get rid of Harper (she really should've left the city after last week's stunt) and we also learned during a conversation between Candace and Carol that the latter might have helped Lucious with some illegal activity (at least they didn't sleep together) and with the FBI looming around in the shape of a former friend/flame of Carol, it seems that things are going to out themselves pretty soon then.

I was surprised with the focus on Carol in this episode. She's not a character I care too much about but her guilt and desperation to want to do the right thing seemed genuine enough and between Candace telling her to keep quiet, Porscha comparing her to Cookie and that FBI agent sniffing around, she's clearly going to crack pretty soon.

Moving onto other plots though - Jamal got himself a new boyfriend of sorts in the shape of Acers producer, Derek 'D' Major. A minus point is that he's in the closet but he's certainly got a charisma that Michael lacks and the scenes with him and Jamal were pretty hot as well. With Derek on the scene, we really can put that Skye Summers plot well and truly behind us.

Meanwhile, is the show really going to have Anika as Rhonda's attacker? This week Rhonda was getting flashbacks and it did really look like Anika was going to be revealed as the culprit to boot. I really hope it's not her and that another suspect makes themselves known in the remaining two episodes.

Also in "The Lyon Who Cried Wolf"

When Lucious wasn't being threatened by his mother, he was also on a diet and Cookie seemed to be happy to remind him that she's co-runner of the company now.

Candace: "Nice place you've got here, Loretha."
Cookie: "What did I tell you about calling me by my real name?"

I don't think Candace is being that unreasonable by wanting Carol to start looking after her children again.

Derek (to Jamal): "There are ways to change my mind but ambushing me in the middle of my session is not it."

Lucious (to Andre, re Leah): "You have no idea what you've done."

I quite liked Becky's enthusiasm during Jamal/Hakeem's recording session and I loved her for telling Porscha to pull her weight now that she's been promoted. It also seems like Hakeem might be swayed back to Tiana, so bye bye Laura.

Leah: "You told your family bad things about me."
Lucious: "I was honest with them."

Standout music: Hakeem/Tiana's "No Competition", Jamal/Hakeem/Lucious "Chasing The Sky" and Mike Snow's "Genghis Khan".

Lucious (re his maid): "You can't send anyone away. She lives here, she works for me."
Leah: "Not anymore. Sit down."

Chronology: Not long from where More Than Kin left off.

Another excellent episode. The Lyon Who Cried Wolf had some truly excellent music, character moments, the right amount of sexiness and a tonne of hints in relation to some imminent peril for the Lyon family.

Rating: 9 out of 10

Tuesday, May 03, 2016

My Review of Gotham's 2x19: "Azrael"

Written by Jim Barnes And Ken Woodruff
Directed by Larysa Kandracki

Barnes: "You .... you're dead?"
Azrael: "Not anymore."

Well, this was pretty bonkers even by the high standards of sheer bonkers that Gotham already has in spades. At the start of this episode, I wasn't sure about the idea of Theo Galavan becoming Azrael but as the episode gathered pace and Hugo Strange unleashed him on the city, I found myself actively enjoying this more than I probably should've done to be honest.

Galavan's return is enough of a game changer to effect everyone here. For Strange, it's given him more incentive to continue with his monstrous experiments on the patients for Arkham and for Gordon and Bruce, it spelled trouble for them. However it spelled more trouble for Barnes who ended up on the ouch end of a blade this week.

Will Barnes make it into the next season? Truthfully I hope not. He's one of the few dull characters we have on the show and losing him wouldn't be a loss even though there was some interesting enough scenes with him and Gordon this week before Azrael made his attack on GCPD.

As for Gordon, Bruce and Oswald - their reactions to Theo being alive were priceless to watch compared to Tabitha's seemingly more muted (for now) reaction and Butch's not much of a reaction too. It'll be interesting to see what the show will do with the Azrael plot for the remaining three episodes as we've also got Fish's imminent return to deal with too along with Nygma posing a problem for Strange as well.

I liked that putting Nygma into Arkham hasn't destroyed his spirits. He might be desperate to get out of the place but it didn't take him long to manipulate most of his fellow inmates and he's certainly clever enough to pose a threat to Hugo Strange as well. I also loved how he was able to use his wits in order find Strange's lair. That being said though he's probably ended up doing himself some bad there as I can't see Strange taking too kindly to Nygma outsmarting him.

Also in "Azrael"

Strange really amped up the creepy factor but manipulating Theo into thinking he was his father. Peabody's snark continues to make me smile though.

Strange (re Theo): "Strong as an ox, fast as a snake."
Peabody: "Mad as a hatter."

A Mad Hatter hint this week and then we saw Strange actually reading from Alice In Wonderland as well. I'm hoping they save that character's origin story for Season 3 though.

Gordon: "Thank you."
Strange: "For what?"
Gordon: "I can read tells too."

Nygma (to Strange): "My point is, everyone has a story and they just need to be listened to. My God, I should be the shrink."

The way Barbara made Butch nervous in this episode actually amused me. Is it me or did Babs seem to have the more crazier aspects of Selina Kyle from Batman Returns in this episode down a little too well?

Peabody: "Generations? That sword was made yesterday."
Strange: "It doesn't matter."

Strange: "So many stories to choose from. I feel like a child on Christmas morning."

No Selina or Leslie in this episode again. At the former is back next week though.

Barnes: "You can go to hell."
Azrael: "I've been there. You go."

Butch (re Barbara): "She scares me."
Tabitha: "Don't be a baby, she's harmless."

Chronology: Not long from where Pinewood left off.

For a series as bonkers as this one can be, it really did feel like Azrael somehow managed to top the show's usual craziness by quite a bit. Theo's gloriously OTT in his new persona and seeing the chaos unfold in his wake certainly worked a treat as well.

Rating: 8 out of 10

Saturday, April 30, 2016

When We Rise - More Cast Added To Miniseries

The casting for When We Rise really does keep getting more and more impressive.

Whoopi Goldberg whose recent TV appearances have included voiceover work for Once Upon A Time In Wonderland and appearances on shows such as Glee and Blue Bloods has bagged a recurring role in the seven part miniseries. Goldberg will take on the role of Pat Norman, the first openly gay employee of the San Francisco Health Department.

Rosie O'Donnell, recently seen in a guest appearance in the second season of Empire will be taking on the role of Del Martin, co-founder of the first Lesbian organization in the country.

Denis O'Hare, best known for his roles on True Blood and American Horror Story will be playing the role of Jim Foster, openly gay Democratic party organizer. Filling out the cast includes Frasier's David Hyde Pierce as Dr. Jones the father of Guy Pierce's character, Cleve, while Ivory Aquino is transgender activist Cecilia Chung and Michael K. Williams will play African American Community Organizer Ken Jones.

Press Release:

When We Rise is currently filming and is rumoured to be airing on ABC from 2017.

Friday, April 29, 2016

My Review of Legends Of Tomorrow's 1x13: "Leviathan"

Written by Sarah Nicole Jones & Ray Utarnachitt
Directed by Gregory Smith

Savage (to Rip): "I see so you still think there is hope then for your family? Time will tell, Captain. Time will tell."

Oh boy. Thirteen episodes in and this one might have been the first genuine disappointment we've had. Sure, we've had the odd clunky episode here and there but this episode gave us a chance to finally see the gang take Savage out once and for all, only for Kendra to balk when she had the perfect killing blow lined up.

The writing for Kendra has not always been the strongest on the show but this was some pretty writing nonetheless. Having a future version of Carter pop up with no memories as one of Savage's co-horts could've been a decent twist had the show not decided to have Kendra spare Savage. Now we're still stuck with him for the remaining three episodes. On the plus side, at least his progeny is a more interesting character.

Taking on the role of Cassandra, Jessica Sipos turned in a likeable performance as Vandal's faithful daughter whose faith then took a nosedive upon being kidnapped by Snart and Rory and then by the former giving her a crash course into what her father was really like. The plus side is that along with betraying her own father, Cassandra now lives to fight another day so maybe we'll get to see her again.

As for Savage, they didn't kill but he's now a pernament guest on the Waverider along with the no memory version of Carter so I assume that's another disaster waiting to unfold for the gang fairly soon. Ugh, the fact that they didn't kill him is such a frustration in an episode that should've been a lot better than it turned out to be.

As for the rest of the episode, well I did get a kick out Mick and Kendra briefly working together, I quite liked seeing Sara and Kendra talk again and there was the surprisingly fun team up with Ray and Jax while the episode ended with Savage taunting Rip over the fact that he'll fail to save his family, which going by Rip's reaction is only too true.

- For the briefest of moments I actually they were going to actually kill off Stein in this episode. I'm really glad they didn't though.
- Surprised the show didn't properly go for Scandal instead of Cassandra for Savage's daughters. Then again, Arrow gave Nyssa more prominence over Talia and that worked out brilliantly.
- Ray versus the Leviathan robot really did look and feel like a scene out of Power Rangers.
- Chronology: London 2166 for this episode.

I really wanted to love this one but Leviathan was such a cop out as an episode. The show had the perfect chance to take out Savage and then came with a way too convenient and annoying plot contrivance in order not to do so. Plus side, at least Cassandra was great.

Rating: 6 out of 10

Thursday, April 28, 2016

My Review of Empire's 2x15: "More Than Kin"

Written by Eric Haywood And Michael Spellman
Directed by Sanaa Hamri

Lucious (to Cookie): "You and me finally working together side by side. I wouldn't have it any other way. Congratulations baby."

I didn't expect that particular outcome but I actually really, really like it. Lucious and Cookie running Empire together has the potential to the best decision ever or the start of the bloodiest war known to man. It really is an outcome that could spectacularly go either way and instead of dragging this storyline out, it came to a natural and believable conclusion.

Lucious when he puts the effort can be charismatic and charming as hell and even when trash talking his own sons (mainly Jamal this week, Acer stuff, yadda yadda), he was still able to woo everyone by bringing a 'human' face to mental illness. Yeah, the hypocrisy was strong with Lucious, even more so when a vengeful Harper made it her mission to make sure that Andre knew that his grandmother was alive and residing in a home in Philadelphia.

Then there was Cookie. Last week, she prevented bloodshed between Lucious and Hakeem and this week, she was also doing more peace keeping, promotion and schmoozing between bitchy barbs with Harper and not being horrible to Anika (more on that in a bit), so by the end of this episode it actually made a tonne of sense for the board to want her as co-CEO as well. Like I said, there's great potential with this storyline.

Speaking of Anika, this week we had her in hospital with a health scare for the baby which not only introduced audiences to her mother but it saw both Cookie and Lucious showing some sympathy for Anika while Hakeem decided to step up as a soon to be father (a good thing, considering how dull the opening scenes of his hedonism were) while Laura seemed conflicted about being with a man who got another woman pregnant.

Elsewhere while Jamal spent too much of the episode sniping at Lucious, we did get some moments of his past in this one. One was that cafe that he used to perform in prior to his fame and another was meeting up with Michael once again. This episode was probably Michael at his most likeable in a while but at the same, what does this show want to do with him? Will we see him again as both him and Jamal seemed to have cleared the air?

Also in "More Than Kin"

The logo sequence now has a golden disc instead of either Lucious or Hakeem.

Lucious: "I'm ready to play, are you ready to play?"
Jamal: "I was born to play."

Michael has become a waiter since we've last seen him. Rafael De La Fuente will also be in ABC's LGBT miniseries When We Rise.

Cookie (to Lucious, re Harper): "Are you trying to save your company or catch an STD?"

Hakeem: "You don't care that I got Anika pregnant?"
Laura: "What?"
Hakeem: "Nika got pregnant before we got together."

Jamal and Freda seem to be maintaining their friendship. I'm guessing she's going to find out about her father pretty soon though.

Cookie: "Hakeem will kill me if something happens to this baby."
Anika: "You mean your grandchild."

Hakeem (to Anika, re Lucious): "What did he do?"
Cookie: "What boy? It's your father. What hasn't he done?"

Standout music: A new version of Jamal's "Good Enough", Jamal/Fantastic Negrito's "Lost In The Crowd" and Hakeem's "Got That Work".

Lucious (to Harper): "I didn't know anything sweetheart but I like to share my stories."

Chronology: Not long where Time Shall Unfold left off.

A solid episode. I liked the outcome of the CEO situation that More Than Kin laid out, Michael's brief return (the guy was only in two scenes) was nice enough and seeing Hakeem trying to step up to the plate is never a bad thing either.

Rating: 7 out of 10

Monday, April 25, 2016

Doctor Who - Series 10: Pearl Mackie Is The New Companion

Three weeks ago, we learned about the casting for upcoming BBC3 online spin-off, Class and last weekend during half time at a football match on BBC1 we were finally introduced to the new companion for Series 10 of Doctor Who.

Pearl Mackie, whose credits have included an episode of Doctors and a recent performance in the West End production, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night Time has been cast in the role of new companion, Bill. A two minute scene debuted the character alongside Peter Capaldi's Twelfth Doctor as the pair of them flee a Dalek chase. The scene is titled Friend From The Future, which can be seen on the official BBC site and YouTube channels.

Going by the press release for Mackie's casting, Pearl herself has described Bill as "wicked", as well as describing her character as "cool, strong, sharp, a little bit vulnerable with a bit of geekiness thrown in". It's also possible from Bill's attire that she might not be a completely modern companion with speculation that she could be picked up from either the 1980s or 1990s. I also liked in the minisode/trailer/whatever you want to refer to it as that Bill seemed pretty unaware of the Daleks and that mostly she was a total contrast to previous companions in Moffat's era such as Amy, River and Clara. The rapport between the 12th Doctor and Bill certainly has shades of the 7th Doctor and Ace, which I find quite amusing. As for the character's name - any chance it's short for Billie, Wilhelmina, Sybil or something else altogether? It could also be a nod to either Billie Piper who played Rose Tyler or possibly even William Hartnell who played the First Doctor but either way, I cannot wait to see this particular TARDIS team in action come 2017.

Press Release:

Series 10 of Doctor Who will begin filming next month. A Christmas special will air in December and the series will air in Spring 2017.

Friday, April 22, 2016

My Review of Legends Of Tomorrow's 1x12: "Last Refuge"

Written by Chris Fedak & Matthew Maala
Directed by Rachel Talalay

Stein: "You'd murder a child?"
The Pilgrim: "I'd murder as many children as necessary to accomplish my mission."

Anyone else get the impression that this week's episode seemed to be a mashup of The Deadly Assassin and Father's Day? If you didn't, you probably should've as this week, the Time Masters really did highlight how ruthless they actually were by sending out their deadliest of assassins - a woman named the Pilgrim (Faye Kingslee) to go back in time and snuff out each of Rip's team members as quickly as possible.

First there was meeting a younger Mick on the night his house burned to the ground and then there was Sara, prior to getting on the boat with Oliver who was also having a work day with Quentin sort of thing going on. I have to admit seeing Mick and Sara's younger selves interact with each other was amusing but then things sort of changed up a little here.

The Pilgrim went after Ray as recent as 2014 and with Kendra's reincarnation abilities making her a pointless target, the show then focused on grabbing baby versions (yes, really) of Snart, Stein and Jax which forced the Pilgrim into kidnapping some actual loved ones from the gang. Onscreen we saw Jax's father, Lance and Clarissa as well as some images of Lisa and Anna. As a villain, she meant business and yet again proved to be a far more interesting antagonist than Vandal Savage has emerged to be.

Of course, the Pilgrim did underestimate Rip and in a moment where one of the latter's plans actually worked out, she ended up being bested by little Michael. It was a little strange meeting Rip as a youngster and also rather interesting that his backstory isn't entirely dissimilar to the ones we've seen with with Mick and Leonard. However it wasn't the only backstory that took a surprising turn in this episode.

Jax himself finally got some brilliant screen time as he finally met and saved his father from the Pilgrim and I have to admit, it really helped to flesh his character out a bit more. Watching his scenes with his father were every bit as affecting as Sara's scenes with Quentin, Mick's with his younger self, Stein's brief moment with his wife, Ray/Kendra's back and forth (they ended up engaged) and even Rip's scenes with his own adoptive mother.

Of course with the gang's younger selves still being tended to by Rip's mother at the refuge, the need to kill Savage just got bigger and now it seems like Rip is willing to actually risk going into the 22nd century in order to take down Savage once and for all. Well, there are four episodes left to go now.

- Rip's adoptive mother was played Celia Imrie and is called Mary Xavier. Doctor Who connection wise, she appeared in The Bells Of Saint John while this episode's director, Rachel Talalay has directed the episodes Dark Water/Death In Heaven and Heaven Sent/Hell Bent.
- Now that Ray and Kendra are engaged, it seems like they're setting up the latter to meet Carter again.
- Also, was the episode unable to get the actresses for Anna and Lisa to make an onscreen appearance?
- Chronology really did vary this week with jumps into the 1950s, 1972, 1993, 2007 and 2014 to name a few.

I liked this one a lot. Last Refuge gave us a strong guest assassin with the Pilgrim, some much needed backstory for Jax, more insight into both Rip and Mick's pasts and a reminder of how far Sara has come as a character too. The Ray/Kendra scenes could've been plotted a little better but other than that, this was great.

Rating: 8 out of 10