Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Batman Beyond - Episodes 1-4 Reviews

And keeping with my summer Batman related animated shows. This time around we're delving into the future with Batman Beyond.

Episodes 1 & 2: Rebirth

It's the beginning of a whole new era. The year is 2019 and Bruce Wayne isn't quite the Batman he used to be. A new costume but it's clear that age is somewhat catching up with him and within the opening two parter, we see Bruce hand over the mantle of Batman (albeit reluctantly) to teenager Terry McGinnis, who is spurred onto taking over the role when his father died at the hands of Wayne Enterprises's rather corrupt Derek Powers (who gets something of an interesting transformation by the end of this story). It's an interesting passing of the torch with some cryptic hints about Bruce's former allies as well as a reminder of a certain menace with a rather annoying Jokerz biker gang as a recurring menace for the series. Oh and Ace, the bat hound. 7/10

Episode 3: Black Out

Terry's first proper foray into becoming a new Batman and it's a rather inky episode with the main villain being called Inque. For a new nemesis the character was off to a promising start, besting the new Batman at every turn but that was mainly because Bruce didn't exactly prepare Terry as well as he should've done and things certainly get a little too close for comfort when Inque makes it into the Batcave as well, only for a certain villain's gun to come in handy at the last moment. There's also some rather nice scenes between Bruce and Powers as well as a brief meeting of sorts between the new Batman and the new Commissioner Gordon as well. 7/10

Episode 4: Golem

Easily the weakest episode of the first four we've got here. The main plot centred on social outcast Willy being humiliated one too many time by his peers and overbearing father, taking control of the latter's golem and mostly going on a rampage during the school dance before heading to prison and standing up to more bullies there. It's not a terrible episode but just terrible predictable although the scenes with Terry and Dana were pretty decent. 6/10

Next blog will look at the episodes Meltdown, Heroes, Shriek and Dead Man's Hand.

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Recap/Review: Penny Dreadful's 3x04: A Blade Of Grass

It's that again where nearly every other character takes an episode off and we get an extended look into Vanessa Ives and once again, it's certainly something to behold.

Written by John Logan
Directed by Toa Fraser

Day Or Night: Last week we learned that Caliban was an orderly at the same asylum that Vanessa had been committed to during flashbacks in the first season and with the exception of Seward from time to time, this was an episode purely for both Eva Green and Rory Kinnear as the two played off each other so well. We never learn the name of Kinnear's orderly or how he even died in the first place but everything else that happens between him and Vanessa in this episode is pure gold.

A Little Makeover: The orderly's relationship with Vanessa seems to be one out of genuine concern for her. He's never cruel as such, even when he had to force feed her and remove a blanket and there's a rather interesting scene where he removes her gag in order to put some makeup on Vanessa and brush her hair. In other shows, that would've been creepy but here there was a point in trying to make it an act of kindness as the orderly tries to appeal to Vanessa to either get better, fake it or end up becoming lobotomised. There's also some brilliant discussions into the others respective lives as they develop a bond between each other and then this moment happened ....

Leaving The Job: Towards the end of this episode, we then learned that the orderly decided to leave his job. He told Vanessa a story involving his son and a boat to Scotland but a part of me did wonder given that he went from following to deliberately breaking the rules (he shared a kiss with Vanessa at one point in this episode) if maybe he had gotten the sack instead but chose not to tell Vanessa that in case it set her back. The connection between the pair in this episode was beautifully done and it's really going to be interesting to see how it plays out when Caliban also remembers his past with Vanessa too.

Battle Of The Brothers: Rory Kinnear gave one of his best performances in this episode but he was also on triple duty as well. Not only did we see him shine fantastically as the unnamed orderly, but Kinnear also got to sink his teeth into playing both Lucifer and Dracula and did so with relish as both brothers clamoured for Vanessa's body and soul during her incarceration. What neither of them banked on though was that Vanessa's own darkness was enough to scare the crap out of the both of them and that was pretty satisfying to watch.

Bringing Her Back: Ah, Patti LuPone. The only other actor in this episode aside from Green and Kinnear and though as great as the both of them, Seward's role was mainly to get Vanessa to remember and then later to get out of her state, both of which Seward accomplished. We did see a softer side to the character when she got Vanessa to open up about Joan Clayton and Seward did seem to believe her about Dracula now as well, which should be interesting as the season progresses.

Next week, we're delving into Ethan's history as Malcolm gets closer to finding him.

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

My Review of Gotham's 2x22: "Transference"

Written by Bruno Heller
Directed by Eagle Egilsson

Lucius: "Are we alive?"
Gordon: "So far so good."
Lucius: "Had to be sure."

The one thing I love about Gotham nowadays is that it's now but all abandoned it's initial attempts of being a small screen variation of the Nolan Dark Knight trilogy and has fully embraced the madness, no more so than in the second half of this season as this Indian Hill comes to something of a chaotic conclusion.

Hugo's determination to blow up his own creations at the behest of that not so mysterious Council would've gone a little better had Fish not put a spanner into the works by working her new found powers on Peabody but also because having Gordon, Bruce and Lucius in the place wasn't such a bright idea after all.

While he did manage along with Nygma to deduce that the three of them didn't know as much as his Council feared they did, the three of them also had Selina in their corner, who in turn also managed to get Firefly back in hers too. Not to mention the fact that Hugo unwisely got in between Mr Freeze and Firefly going after each other as well.

I'm glad that Strange made it out of the episode alive but I'm also rather certain that prison is going to be the least of his problems. The grey woman doesn't seem to suffer fools gladly and given that Strange's experiments are now loose in the general populace, he has more reasons to worry than he did beforehand.

Speaking of the monsters, we didn't get to see too many close ups of them, other than Fish leading them to freedom and a homeless woman unfortunately opening the back door of the bus after Butch and Oswald caused it to crash. The reveal of that Bruce clone (or Thomas Wayne Jr) was a good one to end on but the episode had plenty of good moments.

Fish taking control of Hugo's contingency plan was a highlight along with her brief encounter with Oswald, who looked horrified to see her. I'm surprised Fish didn't kill Oswald there on the spot but I'm also relieved that he didn't get a chance to kill her either. Their dynamic next season should be interesting to see unfold.

As for Gordon, he spent the episode being drugged while Clayface did a poor but OTT impression of him that Barbara of all people had to rumble. However when he wasn't defusing bombs with Lucius, he realised that he loved Lee and basically left town in order to get her back as well. Right now, that's probably the best thing Gordon can do for himself.

Also in "Transference"

Did we just see the Mad Hatter in the GCPD during one scene?

Nygma (to Bruce/Lucius): "Who runs Indian Hill? You have one guess. Think carefully fellas or die."

Oswald still has Grace's head. I did find his rapport with Barbara slightly amusing in this episode.

Fish (to Peabody): "Your mama may be number thirteen but I'm a human being. I'm Fish Mooney, bitch."

Strange: "Who controls Gotham, Jim? You've never heard of a secret council?"
Gordon: "Secret council? No!"

They've more or less confirmed Bullock as the new commissioner/captain now. I doubt we'll see Barnes at all next season.

Clayface/Gordon (to Alfred): "Complicated police business."
Bullock: "He's got a touch of the flu."

Fish (to Strange): "You would've made a great pimp."

Going into next season, I do wonder if they should scale some of the cast back. Nygma and Babs as recurring characters, Lucius as a guest (which was the actor made a regular when little has been done with him, etc?) and so on.

Barbara: "So now you like me again?"
Clayface/Gordon: "What's not to like?"

Oswald: "Impossible."
Fish: "Nothing is impossible."

Chronology: Pretty much from where A Legion Of Horribles left off.

Transference was pretty satisfying as a finale. It didn't so much resolve the Indian Hill storyline but more intensified it with a replica of Bruce on the loose and Fish also up to some mischief as well. It'll be fun to see where they'll go next season with the Court of Owls stuff too.

Rating: 7 out of 10

Saturday, May 21, 2016

2016-2017 TV Season: Shows To Watch

Over the last several days, we've gotten the upfronts from the upcoming 2016-2017 television season and here are some of the shows that have piqued the most interest.

1: 24: Legacy (FOX, Mondays 9pm, mid-season)

With Kiefer Sutherland retiring as Jack Bauer and playing president on ABC's Designated Survivor, the mantle of top CTU guy now falls into the hands of Corey Hawkins, who takes on the role of Eric Carter in this 12 episode series, which also includes the likes of Jimmy Smits, Miranda Otto and Teddy Sears. The trailer suggests nothing too new that we haven't seen Bauer deal with in nine previous seasons but whether or not this show can work without Bauer will remain to be seen.

Trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sOWpUB_Xdqs

2: Conviction (ABC, Mondays 10pm)

This last week has been a mixed fortune for the lovely Hayley Atwell. On one hand, Agent Carter was axed after two seasons by ABC but on the other hand, the network also commissioned this legal drama where Atwell will take on the role former First Daughter and all round party girl, Hayes Morrison, who now finds herself working for a New York law firm to make up for her misdeeds. While we're not exactly short on legal dramas, this could be ABC's answer to the now ended CBS rival, The Good Wife though and certainly looks slick and polished.

Trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KJqg6J4JeLg

3: Designated Survivor (ABC, Wednesdays 10pm)

He may not be Jack Bauer anymore but Kiefer Sutherland thankfully has not abandoned television and this time around, he gets to play the President. When the current one is killed, it's up to Sutherland's character, Tom Kirkman to assume the role but with his own reluctance and a staff that seem openly sceptical of his abilities in the role, it looks like it's going to be a tough one for the guy. I'm not sure it'll be something I'll stick with but at the same time, it's still nice to have Kiefer back on the small screen.

Trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N_f1v0Nx5Sw

4: MacGyver (CBS, Fridays 8pm)

Another television season, another reboot of a cheesy show with a slightly gritty-ish but not really remix to it. Can this version of MacGyver succeed where the likes of Charlie's Angels and Knight Rider failed in previous years? Oddly, I doubt it but I found the trailer actually fun and whether or not Lucas Till can truly capture the role like Richard Dean Anderson did back in the day remains to be seen. There's some decent support from former CSI actor George Eads as well.

Trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Gt8E6X6-744

5: Midnight Texas (NBC, mid-season, TBC)

From Charlaine Harris, the author of the Sookie Stackhouse books in which HBO were able to get seven seasons out of, courtesy of True Blood, NBC have roped in the writer from Alias and Charmed (Monica Owusa Breen) for this supernatural series set in the titular town, harbouring vampires, witches and the occassional hitman or so. The cast for this show includes Fran├žois Arnaud, Dylan Bruce, Parisa Fitz-Henley, Arielle Kebbel, Sarah Ramos, Peter Mensah, Yul Vazquez and Sean Bridgers. In terms of supernatural shows, aside from Grimm (currently entering a sixth season), NBC haven't had too many long lasters. Hopefully this show can break the trend. It also might help if the station released a trailer for it too. The series will run for 13 episodes.

Twitter Account: https://twitter.com/NBCMidnightTX/with_replies?lang=en

6: Powerless (NBC, mid-season, TBC)

One of the strangest new shows to be debuting within the next year, this one is set within the DC comics universe but it's a comedy that seems to be more focused on the damage caused by superheroes more than anything else. Starring Vanessa Hudgens, Danny Pudi and Alan Tudyk, this will air during mid-season. Again, accessing the trailer seems to be a difficult task here as NBC have taken it down. A 13 episode order has been made for the show. It does look funny enough as a series but if this does better than Constantine, I'll be shocked.

Trailer Breakdown/Easter Eggs: http://moviepilot.com/p/easter-egg/3923782

7: Prison Break (FOX, Thursdays 9pm, mid season)

And they're back. If you enjoyed seeing Wentworth Miller and Dominic Purcell during their recent stints on both The Flash and Legends Of Tomorrow, you can now enjoy them all over again as they reprise their most famous roles as Lincoln Burrows and Michael Scofield for this revival series. I have to admit to being sceptical about this particular show being brought back but after seeing the trailer and most of the old gang (Sara, T-Bag etc), I guess maybe there is room again to see the brothers breaking each other out of prison yet again.

Trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x9T-9fZn_oA

8: Riverdale (CW, mid-season, TBC)

Based on the long running Archie comics and produced by Arrow verse master, Greg Berlanti, the CW have the perfect mid-season show here. From the leaked/quickly deleted trailer, Riverdale, starring KJ Apa as Archie seems to have a creepy blend of Twin Peaks meets Pretty Little Liars as the titular town harbours many secrets and lies, the majority of which are threatening to surface. Also in the cast are Luke Perry, Madchem Amick, Marisol Nicholls and Cole Sprouse while Casey Cott will be playing the role of openly gay teenager, Kevin in this series.

Trailer Description: http://ie.ign.com/articles/2016/05/19/cw-riverdale-trailer-description-plus-frequency-and-no-tomorrow-trailers

9: Shots Fired (FOX, Wednesdays 8pm, Spring 2017)

And for something more topical. With ABC generating mass acclaim for American Crime, this upcoming events series will tackle the aftermath of a racially motivated crime. Starring Helen Hunt, Sanaa Lathan, Stephen James, Richard Dreyfuss and Stephen Moyer, this certainly looks like it could be the jewel in FOX's crown and pairing it with Empire as well could be a very smart move too. It certainly looks harrowing and I can see the Emmys tripping over themselves next year to nominate it for all the awards.

Trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1RmkAihHeJg

10: Star (FOX, Wednesdays 9pm , mid-season)

Now this one I am most looking forward to. Created by Lee Daniels and Tom Donaughy, this series will inevitably draw many comparisons to Empire and far as I'm concerned, it might as well be set in the same universe where the Lyon family exit. Not only will it be taking the show's timeslot for a few months but the premise sounds like they took the Mirage a Trois plot from the second season and did something a bit more compelling with it. The show will focus on Star (Jude Demorest), her sister Simone (Brittany O’Grady) and  and her Instagram bestie, Alexandra (Ryan Destiny), and together, the trio journey to Atlanta to become music superstars. Rounding off the cast includes Queen Latifah as the girls manager/godmother Miss Carlotta and Benjamin Bratt as washed up agent Jahil with Lenny Kravitz also guesting in the show.

Trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T2snL9QUIZI

11: Star Trek (CBS/CBS All Access, mid-season)

One of the most anticipated new shows going and we're still months away from both the casting being announced and filming to begin. With Star Trek: Beyond due to make it's way into the cinemas pretty soon as well, former Hannibal showrunner Bryan Fuller will certainly have to make sure the television can truly enter the 21st century and learn from the mistakes of previous spin-off series, Enterprise. CBS released the logo during the upfronts this week and it looks rather traditional but great though. Can't wait to see it in January when it properly launches.

Logo: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xXpPweAooeE

12: Time After Time (ABC, mid-season, TBC)

Now this one is unusual. A series with HG Wells (Freddie Stroma, Game Of Thrones) versus Jack the Ripper (Josh Bowman, Revenge) from the creator of Dawson's Creek and The Vampire Diaries? Throw in some present day chaos as the former friends turned enemies then rock up in present day New York and this could be a show that could be truly inspired or an absolute mess? The trailer showed elements of both (beautiful steam punk, gorgeous costuming, brilliant battle of wits between Stroma and Bowman but some moments of generic-ness as well). An interesting addition, although the television schedule seems to have a fair amount of time travel themed shows this upcoming season.

Trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VN4C4Ar5BLo

Those are my picks for the upcoming US television season, what are yours?

Friday, May 20, 2016

My Review of Legends Of Tomorrow's 1x16: "Legendary"

Written by Greg Berlanti & Chris Fedak & Phil Klemmer & Marc Guggenheim
Directed by Dermott Downs

Rex (to the gang): "My name is Rex Tyler. I'm a member of the Justice Society of America."

And as this episode finally did us a solid and finally got rid of Vandal Savage, it also made sure we came for seconds with the arrival of Hourman. If you follow me on Twitter, that particular character was someone I did mention in relation to Patrick J. Adams heroic mystery character and I'm rather pleased with being right.

The more interesting part was the fact that Rex Tyler rocked up because it was Mick who called for his services instead of Rip and also the fact that Rex seemed adamant that none of the gang stepped inside the Waverider. All in all, a little scene lasting less than two minutes set up a lot to look forward to in relation to the next season.

As for this season, well it certainly ended on an interesting note. Vandal Savage hasn't been the great of villains (marginally less terrible than Non, way behind on Damien Darhk and Zoom) but this episode not only upped his lunacy but it also brought about his much deserved downfall. Having Mick, Sara, Kendra and Rip in the periods of 1958, 1975 and 2021 band together and kill the villain off three times over was the best way of getting rid of Savage.

As a villain, Vandal certainly won't be missed and despite some frustrating moments, this was truly an excellent exit for the character. However, it wasn't the only exit as Kendra and Carter ultimately decided to leave the Waverider as well. It's a shame the characters didn't work out as well as they should've done but I think their exit was for the best and with two new regulars stepping in next season and a whole new mission statement, we'll probably see the two of them again along with a certain chilly anti-hero/total hero as well.

Of course when this episode wasn't resolving the Savage storyline and setting up next season's plot with Rex's arrival as well we had some more emotional content to deal with. Mick struggling with losing Snart was nicely handled as well as Clarissa and Jax persuading Stein to pursue his wanderlust. Of course, Sara's reaction to learning that Laurel was dead from Quentin was heartbreaking but it was something we needed to see. I liked that Quentin also encouraged Sara to keep travelling as well.

- We got see Leonard in a brief scene where Mick told him he was a hero. Mick also considered Rip a friend too. How brilliant has Mick's characterisation been this season?
- The CW originally considered doing an Hourman series a few years ago. That's partly why I suspected we were going to get Rex Tyler on the show.
- Thanager invasion was somewhat set up as well. Looking forward to that next season.
- Loads of times here - 1944 France, 1958, 1975, 2016 (January and May) and 2021.

There has been some up and downs and all that but in the end, Legendary served as a truly satisfying way of ending the first season, putting to bed the Savage arc while setting up more interesting ones for the next season. We might not have everyone back full time next but we still have plenty of reasons to tune in again though.

Rating: 8 out of 10

Thursday, May 19, 2016

My Review of Empire's 2x18: "Past Is Prologue"

Written by Lee Daniels And Ilene Chaiken
Directed by Sanaa Hamri

Rhonda: "You wanted that devil's child to be the only heir to the throne, didn't you? Didn't you?"
Anika: "You're damn right I did, you bitch."

Okay, so every season is going to see Anika getting her ass handed to her and even season is going to involve either her and/or Rhonda in a violent altercation and this episode had two of them. First of all, Rhonda made it pretty damn clear that she believed Anika pushed her and proceeded to slap her silly in front of Lucious and Cookie, only for everyone to take Anika's side over Rhonda (including Andre as well).

Then we had Anika threatening to jump off the Empire building due to her fear of being called to testify against Lucious and when her fears were later confirmed and she got served, Lucious stepped in to protect himself and married Anika, which managed to kill any good feeling he might have generated with Cookie in the process.

Unfortunately during the aftermath of the least romantic wedding ever, Lucious did make it abundantly clear to the audience that Anika actually pushed Rhonda, which disappointed me a lot more than it should've done. Then we had one final and violent confrontation between Rhonda and Anika and it really did look like both of them went over the edge while Andre watched on in horror. Are both of them gone for good? I doubt it but would they really kill off a pregnant woman? Rhonda on the other hand might not fair so well.

As for the rest of the episode, Hakeem's wedding to Laura predictably went to hell when an unwanted guest from Lucious and Cookie's dodgy days caused mayhem but to be honest, no-one was really rooting for the pair anyways so if this is the last we'll see of Laura, I can't say I'll miss the character that much. Hakeem wasn't ready for marriage to begin with.

As for Jamal, the great news is that Freda didn't kill him but he was largely dispirited in this one and while he did get a bit of his groove back when trying to organise music for Hakeem and Laura's non wedding, he also seemed desperate to break his family's toxic cycle with no success. As for Freda - well she's in prison and Lucious got some music out of her but it seems like we might not be done with her just yet.

Keeping with the reveals, I was intrigued that we learned about Lucious's father in this episode and that Tariq is actually Lucious's half brother as well. Nice soapy revelations there and with Leah sticking around, it seems more on Dwight Walker is going to come out.

Also in "Past Is Prologue"

Anika willing to murder a child is pretty dark, even for this show but Rhonda then tried to the same thing as well here.

Lucious (re Jamal): "He doesn't want to do music."
Cookie: "Yeah, that's what concerns me."

Xzibit guest starred in this episode as the rather troublesome Shy. I have a feeling he'll be back next season as well.

Lucious: "What the hell is wrong with you?"
Rhonda (to Anika): "I know you pushed me, bitch."

Andre (to Hakeem): "Come on, man, when was the last time Lucious went out of his way to help anybody, especially his own sons?"

Lucious's father being a cop I didn't see coming but I like it as a reveal. I hope we learn some more of Cookie's past too prior to meeting Lucious next season.

Cookie: "Anika, I know we have bad blood between us but you are carrying a life, my grandson so you'll never be alone, you hear me cos I know what that feels like. You're a Lyon now okay. I know that's what you always wanted, huh? To be one of us."

Cookie (to Lucious, re Anika): "I didn't save this bitch's life so she could ruin mine. There's gotta be another way."

Standout music: Veronika's "Hourglass", Jamal's "Hemingway" and Freda's "Turn Around".

Lucious (re Rhonda): "I know you pushed her."
Anika: "Excuse me for a minute please."

Chronology: A while since the events of Rise By Sin.

For a while, Past Is Prologue certainly delivered on the action. It was definitely a good way of ending what was ultimately a bit of a hit and miss season in parts. I still intend to watch next season but we'll need some less boardroom stuff though in parts and more into Cookie's past as well as a stable love interest for Jamal as I can't see DMajor lasting too long.

Rating: 8 out of 10

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Recap/Review: Penny Dreadful's 3x03: Good And Evil Braided Be

Back a bit more of a structure here. I'm gonna try and do these reviews Wednesdays from now and while this was a slower episode, it certainly wasn't lacking a good reveal or two.

Written by John Logan
Directed by Damon Thomas

Tapping Into Memories: Oh Vanessa. This episode really wasn't her week, was it? Thanks to Dracula/Sweet's overzealous minion, Vanessa was put on high alert that the Master is out to get her once again and this week when she wasn't screaming at Seward over her past supernatural encounters, she was getting the good doctor to tap into some old memories. We saw the padded cell but more importantly, we also learned that Vanessa and John Claire/Caliban actually have a past connection too. I really liked that reveal. It wasn't predictable and it feels like it makes sense too and with Caliban back in London, it can only lead to some great scenes in the near future.

Retracing The Past: With Vanessa unlocking some memories, it was actually fitting that Caliban upon returning to London started to do the same as well. I've said it in past blogs that Caliban works better away from Victor and delving into his past (losing his family etc) certainly has propelled him better as a character. His plotline seemed to move a little better but I'm more interested in seeing how he and Vanessa will deal with their own past once they see each other again.

Bloody Justine: Quite literally as this episode treated us to a bloody threesome between ingenue Justine and killer power couple Lily and Dorian. I'm liking their little 'taking over the world' storyline and so far they're not actually harming anyone undeserving either. The parallels between Lily and Justine as well as the commentary on oppression, feminism and suffragettes are far from subtle but they are effect and do work well within the narrative. I also find it interesting that in some ways, Dorian is essentially sitting back and watching Lily run the show as well.

Kill First, Question Never: Hecate is still a bit of a divisive character for me. As much as I like Ethan (and I really do), I find her obsession with him a little too stalkerish for my liking and while it doesn't seem like Ethan is deliberately enabling her, neither is his actively trying to distance himself from Hecate either. On the plus side, she's proven to be handy in a fight and with Malcolm and Kaetenay taking an eternity, I guess Ethan really does need someone in his corner. Unfortunately, it's obvious that Hecate seems more interested in bringing Ethan to her own level than actually helping him though.

Showing Some Hyde There: We didn't get too much with the lovely bromance between Victor and Jekyll this week but we did get to see Victor questioning the guy that Jekyll helped make sane from the previous episode while Victor also got to see the tiniest flash of Mr Hyde as well. We're only three episodes into the season so I can understand why we're not seeing Hyde in full form just yet but I hope when we do, it's genuinely explosive now that Once Upon A Time have also gotten in on the Jekyll and Hyde action as well.

Next week, Vanessa's finding herself being tempted by a certain someone.

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

My Review of Gotham's 2x21: "A Legion Of Horribles"

Written by Jordan Harper
Directed by Rob Bailey

Fish (to Strange): "My name is Fish Mooney, bitch."

And she's back. It literally took nearly this season and despite the fact that Hugo has been reviving and become responsible for a hefty chunk of some of the villains of late, I have to admit that I was looking forward to seeing Fish Mooney back among the land of the living.

Did we need her back as a character? Truthfully not really. Fish had a great-ish arc in the first season and her previous encounter with Oswald saw a fitting enough end for her character. What can the show do with her now? It seems maybe more than expected if she can get an orderly to make her a grilled cheese sandwich without applying too much pressure on the bloke.

Strange's experiments have been erratic at best but Fish is something of a true success for him. Not only did she come back with her own memories intact but she might have some powers as well to boot along with some brain abnormalities. I'm a little surprise we didn't get a reunion with her and Oswald but given the trailer for the finale, that is certainly coming pretty fast though.

As for Strange, once again, he managed to outsmart Gordon, Bruce and Lucius as their attempts of rescuing Selina saw them being captured instead. While Nygma got to have fun threatening both Bruce and Lucius with a slow death, Strange really upped the ante by having a very earlier version of what was Clayface be morphed into Gordon in order to keep the GCPD out of their hair.

I have to admit that I've loved Strange during the second half of this season and he certainly seemed to be holding all the cards except for the fact that he's got a masked woman/superiors to answer to as well. I do wonder if this lot are going to be the show's answer to the Court of Owls or whatever but either way, I think we've just gotten a glimmer of the next half season threat for the show will be.

As for Selina, she managed to escape a fiery death courtesy of a brainwashed Bridget but only because she went along with playing the role of servant. I bet anything it's going to be Selina and 'Firefly' who'll end up saving Gordon, Bruce and Lucius next week.

Also in "A Legion Of Horribles"

Along with the introduction of the Basil Karlo version of Clayface and Fish's return, we also got to see Ivy once again.

Reporter: "How long are you acting Captain?"
Bullock: "Until literally the second that anyone else wants the job."

I really do think the show is going to go there and make Bullock the next Commissioner. Again, it's a great move if they do.

Strange (re Fish): "How much more damage can she possibly do? She's dead."

Strange: "So you want a reason. Someone to blame."
Bruce: "In their case, I think there was someone to blame."
Strange: "Oh, so do I. Sugar?"

I think Peabody might have a darker streak that Strange. She's certainly showed that in her scenes with Nygma and Lucius this week. Strange also used cuttlefish on Fish during his attempts to revive her.

Lucius: "You're doing good so far."
Peabody: "I'm so relieved. This way."

Fish (to an orderly): "You wanna make yourself useful, make me a cheese sandwich."

No Oswald, Butch, Tabitha, Barbara or Barnes this week. I wouldn't be surprised if one of those characters is killed off in the finale.

Nygma (to Lucius): "You were always a smart cookie, Foxy."

Gordon: "You belong in your own asylum, Strange."
Strange: "And you James Gordon belong in the past."

Chronology: Not long from where Unleashed left off.

A Legion Of Horribles was a good set up for the finale. While it's unlikely that Bruce, Gordon, Selina and Lucius are in serious danger, I am going to miss this Indian Hill/Strange arc when it comes to it's natural conclusion as well.

Rating: 8 out of 10

Monday, May 16, 2016

Review: Eurovision 2016

Well, it was that time of year again and with Ireland not being allowed play again (not bitter, our song was bland as anything - no offence, Nicky Byrne but it really was), the Eurovision dominated Saturday and US viewers got to see the action courtesy of Logo as well. So what went down exactly ....

And the winner is .... Ukraine. Jamela's politically themed song 1944 bagged the last minute victory with an impressive 534 points, thanks the new voting system. Up until that point, it really did look like Australia were going to have this in the bag but in the end Dami Im's Sound Of Silence came in second with 511 points.  I have to admit that the Ukraine wasn't one of my favourites of the night and their win did seem a little sudden but saying that we've had worse winners but also better ones too.

Meanwhile Russia in spite of some controversy did manage to come in third place with 491. Sergey Lazarev certainly had the bonafide popstar appeal about him and You're The Only One was a pretty decent number though the visuals had some similarities to the previous winner. I did feel a little sorry for the guy but while his song was one of the strongest of the bunch, we also had some great numbers from France (Amir's J'ai Cherce, 257 points, 6th place), Malta (Ira Losco's Walk On Water, 153 points, 12th place), Sweden (Frans's If I Were Sorry, 261 points, 5th place) and Bulgaria (Poli Genova's If Love Was A Crime, 307 points, 4th place).

To be fair, there were not really any songs that were truly dire (though Georgia's entry left me a little cold) but a part really was hoping for the Australian victory. They've only taken part in the contest twice and they truly know how to play the game and make some good music as well. However with the US now watching and Justin Timberlake popping up to plat his new song as well, could they also be future contenders as well?

However with some pretty great music and a sense of coming together (the overriding theme this year), the actual highlight was the presenters. I found it a little unusual at first that Mans Zelmerlow was on hosting duties (when he wasn't singing both Heroes and Fire In The Rain) but he turned out to be quite a revelation as a presenter and along with the unflappable Petra Mede, they were quite the dream team in terms of hosts. They naturally played off each other brilliant and the skit about what makes a Eurovision record with Love, Love, Peace, Peace was absolutely hysterical to say the least. Those two really should host it every year and next year's hosts are going to have really up the ante as well. One of the best years we've had for the event.

Love, Love, Peace, Peace: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aMgW54HBOS0

See you next year for Eurovision 2017.

Saturday, May 14, 2016

Heading Into New Terrain

I know I need to try and make these jumble blogs a bit more frequent but I've been caught up with some regular reviews. However here is a look at the last batch of things I've been watching.

Arrow: Well, we've got two episodes left, a super powered to the hilt Damien Darhk and Laurel is still dead (though we'll see a version of The Flash next week). We've also got the show running around in circles with more dull flashbacks, Malcolm doing his usual self serving antics and Thea being taken out of the main action. On the plus side, I did like seeing Diggle taking out his annoying brother, Lyla being delightfully snarky and helpful and even watching Felicity working with her criminal father was better than expected. Oh and Oliver, you might want to up your game a little with Damien. Just saying and all.

Game Of Thrones: It's been three episodes in and so far, this show has had something of a creative rebirth. With the show now officially surpassing all of George RR Martin's books (as well as ignoring/merging other plotlines), Season 6 is so far on a really strong note. Even Arya's storyline has picked up tremendously and Ramsay is continuing to even outdo Joffrey for the most despicable character on the show while Daenerys is experiencing a bit of a comedown and Jon wisely decided to abandon the Night's Watch as well. Even the flashbacks to young Ned Stark are adding more to the show. So far this season really is firing on nearly all cylinders.

Marvel's Agents Of SHIELD: Two seasons ago we had Ward turning to the dark side and it did wonders for the characters. Now we've got Daisy being under the influence of HIVE and it doesn't really feel like she's done anything too bad (aside from taking Malick out). Other than that, it doesn't feel anything really exciting is happening. Hive's story is going too slowly that it's losing momentum but on the plus side, at least the show pushed Fitz and Simmons together.

Once Upon A Time: What a way to resolve things. Hook's back from the dead, Arthur got taken down and redeemed and Hades was killed by Zelena. Oh and Robin died. I wish I could be upset by that one but I never really shipped him and Regina to begin with. The last few episodes have had some interesting moments and I have enjoyed most of the flashbacks not to mention the fact that the Underworld storyline was such a step up from the disastrous Dark One/Camelot plot in the first half of the season. I just hope the finale gives the season a satisfying ending though.

Supergirl: I've really enjoyed the first season of this show and with news that it's been picked up for a second season (more on that in a bit), the last two episodes certainly packed a lot into them. I liked the team up of Indigo and Non and I liked seeing Cat and Maxwell even playing their parts to save the day in a way. I also loved every scene Kara had with the rest of the characters and the cliffhanger was a great way to hype things up for next season. This show has proved in the space of twenty episodes that Kara has more than stepped out of the shadow of her more famous cousin.

The Flash: While I'm still enjoying the show a lot more than it's parent series, I am tiring a tiny bit of the Zoom storyline. With two episodes left though, at least Barry finally has an advantage against his faster nemesis and with hints that he won't be the only good speedster on the show (the writers are laying it on thick with Wally and Jessie), and more Earth 2 stuff to look forward to, it does seem like things are progressing rather nicely.

- ABC have cancelled Agent Carter but Hayley Atwell will be starring in Conviction for the network. They've also decided not to pick up Most Wanted as well.
- ABC have also axed Castle, Nashville, The Family, The Muppets and Galavant to name a few. Scandal will also air mid season.
- Supergirl has been renewed for a second season but will now air on the CW instead of CBS and will film in Vancouver instead of Los Angeles.
- Grimm will have a shortened sixth season on NBC. The network have also picked up Charlaine Harris's Midnight, Texas as a series while Heartbeat and Telenovela have been axed.
- FOX have picked up both Star and 24: Legacy as series while cancelling Bordertown, Grandfathered and The Grinder.
- Colton Haynes will return for multiple episodes in Arrow's fifth season while a new character named James will be the antagonist next season.
- Wentworth Miller will not be a regular in Legends Of Tomorrow's second season but will recur in the Berlanti TV universe according to a new contract for the actor.
- Sleepy Hollow has been renewed for a fourth season.
- CBS have cancelled CSI: Cyber after two seasons.
- Riverdale has been ordered to series by the CW.

Friday, May 13, 2016

Recap/Review: Penny Dreadful's 3x02: Predators Far And Near

I know the reviews so far have been a little later but I wanted to see this episode a second time before I did a review for it. 

Written by John Logan
Directed by Damon Thomas

The Ice Truck Killer Is Bloody Dracula: In the most blatantly predictable of twists, the rather lovely Dr Sweet not only got closer to Vanessa this week by her actively and romantically pursuing him (coffee offers and movie trips) but he was also revealed to be Dracula during the closing moments with the hooked Renfield. I'm not disappointed by the twist. I really like it and the Vanessa/Sweet dynamic works so well because of the chemistry between Eva Green and Christian Camargo as well. Speaking of chemistry ....

Chops, Spuds & Bedlam: While I'm still not keen on the idea of Victor getting Jekyll to help him 'tame' Lily (seriously man, she's just not that into you), the chemistry between the two reunited friends has been a lot of fun to watch. This week we learned a bit more about Jekyll's family situation (a father he despises, dead mother) and we got to see some of his work this week, which impressed Victor along with that massive laboratory. We also learned that Jekyll has Victor on a healthier diet to try and curb his other addictions. 

Taking Out The Johns: This week also saw the return of mildly evil duo Lily and Dorian whose only 'bad' act was to slaughter a group of abusive johns and rescue a young prostitute named Justine. Justine seemed to be understandably wary of her rescuers, even though Lily did manage to get Justine to her way of thinking fairly sharpish. I like the complexity with Dorian and Lily's plan and that they're not being depicted too broadly as monsters. I also enjoyed the rather bittersweet scene where Lily told Victor to move on. Victor really should heed her advice.

Everyone Wants The Wolf: Ethan Chandler/Talbot really is a popular man. You've got Rusk who is determined to make sure that he's brought into justice, Hecate who offered her help during a rather violent situation (still mixed on her but she's less annoying without her mother around) and of course, both Malcolm and Kaetenay are also on their way to 'rescue' Ethan as well. The scenes in America continue to be gorgeous and offer new scope to the series and I'm also enjoying the connection that Ethan and Kaetenay have along with Malcolm talking about his own complicated relationship with Vanessa as well. 

A Record Of Our Voices: The therapy sessions between Vanessa and Dr Seward continue to be a masterclass in acting excellence between Eva Green and Patti LuPone. I love how merciless to a degree that Seward is with Vanessa while at the same time, is actually helping her too. There's some great moments with the two but I do wonder how much bigger Seward's role will get as Renfield is under Dracula's spell and the Count himself has Vanessa coming to her of her own free will.

Next week, Ethan teams up with Hecate, Vanessa confesses some more and Lily and Dorian strike out with Justine.

My Review of Legends Of Tomorrow's 1x15: "Destiny"

Written by Marc Guggenheim & Phil Klemmer & Chris Fedak
Directed by Olatunde Osunsanmi

Snart (to Zaman): "There are no strings on me."

Okay, I knew there was going to be a death coming as we got towards the final hurtle of the series. I assumed for some reason we could be done with the Hawks and Savage (though that should be next week) and even thought after the weeks of evolution that it would be Mick who would've perished and for a moment, it actually looked like that was going to happen. Then Snart decided to save the day with alarming consequences.

I guess I should've seen Snart's demise coming in a way. Like Mick and Sara, he's had one hell of a character evolution throughout the series and this episode finally gave shippers a nice kiss between Snart and Sara before the former decided to make his big heroic sacrifice and give the Time Masters one hell of a disadvantage.

For me, losing Snart seems like it could be a hit for the show. I love Jax/Stein and don't hate Kendra/Carter but truthfully, the show could've lost any one of those four characters and it probably wouldn't affect it in a big way. I know Wentworth Miller has signed a deal that means he can still appear within the Arrow universe but not having him as a regular on this show is going to be a massive loss next season.

I did however overall enjoy the episode and I loved the gang's reaction to Snart's death nonetheless. Rip realised that he failed, Sara tried to hide her sorrow, Ray wanted to remember him as a hero and openly comforted Mick, who also wanted vengeance on Savage to boot. With one episode left and Kendra/Carter in his captivity, it really is time for this show to finally lose the character once and for all.

As for the rest of the episode, I quite liked the timey wimey stuff with Jax and Stein. It was a bit of a convenient to add Jax back into the mix but it worked really well and considering that everything has manipulated by the Time Masters so far and we've lost Snart, the gang really do need to pull themselves together and take Savage out once and for all.

- I was surprised that Carter wasn't in this episode but I certainly didn't miss him though.
- The Oculus reminded me a little of Doctor Who's Eye Of Harmony for some reason.
-  This was one of the few times we've seen Sara fully in her White Canary costume.
- Chronology wise, we did go back to both 2016 and 2166 in this episode.

Destiny certainly added the right sting before we get to the finale. I hated that we lost Snart in this episode but given that Miller will be remaining with the series universe, it'll be interesting to see where else they can go with his character. As for Savage - please go now.

Rating: 8 out of 10

Thursday, May 12, 2016

My Review of Empire's 2x17: "Rise By Sin"

Written by Ayanna Floyd Davis And Jamie Rosengard
Directed by Paul McCrane

Cookie (re Freda): "That bitch shot my baby."
Hakeem: "She shot at Lucious and Jamal just stepped in front of the bullet."

We all knew the moment that Freda realised that Lucious killed her father that things were going to down chaotically. Hell, it was even predictable that it would happen in a very public setting so the episode finally showing the ASAs actually seemed appropriate for it but what I didn't expect was for Jamal to end up on the ouch end of a bullet though.

Despite some of the most horrific things said to him this week by his father, Jamal actually risked his life to save Lucious from Freda's very public wrath. Personally I don't think the show will kill him off but this was not exactly the kind of plot line I was hoping for Jamal this week, especially considering that everything else wasn't going smoothly for him either.

His relationship with Derek is already marred with the latter's insistence on being in the closet, which even Lucious knew was a lie and then there was Lucious dialling up his homophobia to even more repugnant levels than before. I know Jamal threw Leah into his face but Lucious started the whole thing and to be honest we're past the point where Jamal simply needs to knock his father's bigoted ass out.

Keeping with Lucious, when he wasn't bouncing his vile homophobia towards Jamal and then expressing regret at the hospital, we did see him doing his best to worm his way back into Cookie's affections. These two will always have insane chemistry with each other but I don't know if I can ever really root for them as a pairing.

Speaking of Cookie, I'm glad she blew up on Carol this week. Carol continues to be quite stupid at times as a character and her refusal to show some caution with Tariq caused some deep seated between Cookie and Carol to come to the surface. It was also Carol and her big mouth that set Freda off on Lucious as well.

As for the rest of the episode, it's looking like maybe Anika did push Rhonda that fateful night as the latter openly quizzed the former about her shoes while Lucious wisely went to some lengths to keep both Andre and Leah away from the ASAs. However following the last scene of this episode, Lucious's desperation to keep his mother a ghost just went out the window.

Also in "Rise By Sin"

Both Lucious and Jamal lost out on the ASAs and Hakeem is starting to realise how mediocre Laura actually is too.

Leah (re Lucious): "He's always been a liar. Boom faced liar."

Instead of avoiding her, why didn't Lucious just send his mother somewhere else then?

Leah (to Andre): "So many maids and people working in this house, it's like Gone With The Wind."

Cookie: "Oh Lucious, don't nobody want your fat ass."
Lucious: "I'm only fat where it counts."
Cookie: "In the mouth."

We learned in this episode that Cookie stole two of Carol's previous boyfriends and that the latter met Lucious before Cookie did. We also learned that Jamal is 26.

Jamal (re Derek): "You knew?"
Lucious: "A real dog can always tell a fake bitch."

Standout music: Jamal's "Hemingway", Jamal/Freda's "My Own Thang" and DMK's "Fabulous".

Lucious (to Cookie): "I knew we'd get here. I didn't know it was gonna take this long."

Chronology: Not long from where the previous episode left off.

Rise By Sin almost could've been a finale had there not been one or two things more things to resolve. Did Anika push Rhonda and will she rat out the Lyon family to the feds? Will Jamal survive (yes, he will)? Are the show going to have Cookie and Lucious reunite and who the hell is getting married? We'll know next week, folks.

Rating: 9 out of 10

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

My Review of Gotham's 2x20: "Unleashed"

Written by Danny Cannon
Directed by Paul Edwards

Oswald: "Jim, a little tip for next time - always bring the right tools for the job. See you in hell, Theo."

And so it came to an end. Technically, Theo's storyline should've remained ended during the events of Worse Than A Crime but these last two episodes with him as Azrael have undoubtedly been so entertaining that his slightly prolonged existence was justified for them alone. Of course, Azrael's days were numbered the second Oswald became aware of his existence and this episode didn't fail to deliver on that note.

With Tabitha's attempts of reasoning with her brother resulted in her being comatose after revealing Theo's mission with Bruce Wayne, Oswald decided to play on Butch's love for Tabitha (how sweet was Butch at her bedside by the way?) by getting him to take out Azrael with a bazooka of all things outside Wayne Manor.

It's moments like this where this show clearly revels in it's OTT manner and it's also where it delivers them so well. After watching Theo's convoluted way in trying to kill Bruce yet again and Gordon being a somewhat ineffective rescuer of sorts, having Oswald and Butch come to save the day/wreck vengeance was bloody fantastic to see. A fitting end for Theo's storyline overall and a sign that Oswald is back to resume his King of Gotham title as well. Butch was never really cut out for the role anyways.

Keeping with the Strange events - even Bullock was openly threatening Hugo Strange this week and while Hugo was able to outsmart him and Gordon this week, Bullock did manage to inspire the rest of the cops to avenge Barnes (not quite dead yet). Could they possibly be hinting at Bullock becoming commissioner? I bloody hope so. I'd love to see Harvey take on that role.

Elsewhere this episode gave us another treat in the moment where an escaping from Arkham Nygma briefly interacted with a breaking into Arkham Selina met, snarked a bit at each other before attempting to help the other out as well. Of course, Nygma's attempts of escape didn't pan out for him and Selina's attempts of rescuing Bridget saw her being introduced to Firefly instead as the episode ended on a literal fiery note. How the hell is Selina going to get out of this one?

Also in "Unleashed"

With both Barnes and Tabitha placed in comas, at least one of them is likely to die in the next two episode. Butch also kicked Barbara out of his place.

Priest: "I don't have any weapons."
Azrael: "Oh, then what good are you?"

Oswald got him a bird themed cane in this episode prior to his confrontation at the hospital with Butch.

Bullock: "So your brother's gone nuts."
Tabitha: "You tell me. Theo convince you he was Azrael last night or was he acting?"

Bullock (re grave robbing): "I'm sure we're breaking more than a few laws right now."
Gordon: "Really? This is where you draw the line."

I'm pretty sure we just got a very glimpse of Killer Croc when Selina was heading into Strange's laboratory in this episode.

Nygma: "Alive people, dead people, dead alive people. It's horrible."
Selina: "Okay, how do I get in there?"
Nygma: "It's like I'm saying things and you're just not hearing them."

Butch (re Tabitha): "If you touch her, I will kill you."
Oswald: "I like this new side of you. Soft, sentimental. He has to pay, Butch."

Next week, it seems another should be dead person is back in the mix and we've also got another rogue gallery member to gawk at.

Selina: "Bridget, no!"
Bridget: "Don't call me that. My name's Firefly."

Chronology: Not long from where Azrael left off.

I loved this one. Unleashed was another bonkers, over the top joy of an episode with a satisfying end to the Galavan plot once and for all while Strange continues to have more tricks up his sleeve than before.

Rating: 8 out of 10

Friday, May 06, 2016

Recap/Review: Penny Dreadful's 3x01: The Day Tennyson Died

I caught this episode a little later than usual on SkyAtlantic and can I say, it's great that the show is back on the air. I had forgotten how much I missed the series until I saw the opening episode.

Written by John Logan
Directed by Damon Thomas

A Bonding Over Scorpions: As part of her attempts of breaking out of a depressing pattern now that she's solely on her own, Vanessa went to an exhibit of sorts and met the rather charming Dr Alexander Sweet (Christian Camargo) and seemed bowled over by his candor as the pair discussed scorpions and other unloved things. Then this episode on an interesting note with a slew of vampires terrorising secretary Renfield into gathering information on Vanessa for their master - the one and only Count Dracula. We don't actually get to see Dracula in the episode but his makes a very vocal appearance and to be perfectly honest, if he doesn't turn out to be Dr Sweet, I'll be genuinely surprised but either way, Vanessa's got some unwanted company coming her way.

Alienism: Following last season's much loved guest appearance from Patti LuPone, I'm not surprised that the show wanted to bring her back for a much larger role this season. Any scene between LuPone and Eva Green is sheer golden and seeing the former as an uncompromising American therapist intrigued by Vanessa's behaviour was certainly a highlight in this episode. I also liked the fact (though it wasn't needed) that the episode decided to add a link to both Dr Seward and the Cut Wife/Joan Clayton though right now it's hard to tell whether or not Seward will be an actual friend or foe to Vanessa. We can also thank Lyle for putting Vanessa and Seward into each other's cross hairs as well.

Old Friends Reunited: Keeping with the new characters this week, we had Shazad Latif join the series, both as Dr Henry Jekyll (with his Hyde side kept in control) and also as a former classmate and friend of Victor Frankenstein. The latter wanted Jekyll's help in killing Lily but the former decided that perhaps domesticating her would be the better solution. The funny thing is that I spent most of the time wondering whether or not Frankenstein and Jekyll were former lovers because some of the dialogue and interactions between the actors did seem a little suggestive at times but either way, Jekyll intrigues me and he seems to be a worthy addition to the show.

Higher Purpose: In case there had been any ambiguity about Sembene, this episode confirmed that he was dead and that Malcolm buried him in Africa. We also then had scenes where Malcolm came under attack, only to be rescued by a mysterious stranger named Kaetenay (Wes Studi), who then told Malcolm that he had a higher purpose and couldn't die and that he needed to also catch up with Ethan. Speaking of whom ....

Once Upon A Time In Mexico: I quite like the fact that this season, we're exploding a little outside of London. First with Malcolm in Africa and also with Ethan in New Mexico. Granted a portion of his scenes were mostly on a train until Hecate and her crew seemed to rescue him (mixed on Hecate still being around to be honest) and then Ethan was also told that he was going to be reuniting with his father pretty soon, which may or may not be interesting. As for Caliban, not really a whole lot happened with him this week, though there was a little flashback moment that piqued some interest but compared to the rest of the characters, he had the least amount of screen time.

Next week, Dorian and Lily are back and they're recruiting.