Tuesday, October 31, 2017

My Review of Halloween 4: The Return Of Michael Myers (1988)

Written by Dhani Lipsius & Larry Rattner & Benjamin Ruffner & Alan B. McElroy
Directed by Dwight H. Little

Dr. Loomis (re Michael Myers and Jamie): "Ten years ago, he tried to kill Laurie Strode. Now he wants her daughter."

After the criminally underrated third movie decided to take a break from Michael Myers and unfortunately suffered the consequences of that decision, it was time for Haddonfield's most deadly to come out of a ten year retirement (in the movie's chronology of course) and wreck more havoc, only this time, Laurie Strode wouldn't be the target of his obsessive killing spree.

With Jamie Lee Curtis deciding to distance herself from the franchise until 1998, the target in question became Laurie Strode's younger daughter, Jamie Lloyd (Danielle Harris), recently fostered into the Carruther family and suffering terrible nightmares about her murderous uncle that soon become a reality when he escapes from the hospital and makes it back to Haddonfield a decade from his last visit to the place.

Of course while Laurie's a no show in the movie, Donald Pleasance is however back as Sam Loomis and he's every bit as doom sounding as he was in his previous appearances as he tries to get the local Sheriff to help him try and stop Michael from killing his only other blood relative along with other innocent people as well.

Outside of the first movie, this one definitely did a great job of building something of a bigger world for the franchise. Casting child actors isn't an easy task but this movie did well with Danielle Harris, who is great as Jamie, even if it does seem a little contrived that Laurie had a child that she then might or might have abandoned but at the same time, it's a continuation of the family linked that somewhat restricted the franchise to a point.

Jamie is technically the final girl of the movie as she does her best to avoid being killed by her murderous uncle (George P. Wilbur) with the help of Loomis and 'sister' Rachel (Ellie Cornell), the latter of whom even makes for a more compelling protagonist than even Laurie did in her later movies, until the movie ends on a note that shows that the apple doesn't fall too far from the tree.

The  movie deserves points for making Michael a little scarier than his second appearance, although none of the deaths, bar the opening kill are too shocking. I also like that Rachel and her friends are fairly dimensional characters before Michael picked off the majority of them and the various callbacks to the first movie actually work in this one's favour to boot.

- Danielle Harris would later go on to play Annie Brackett in the Rob Zombie remakes.
- Although it's not really revealed as such both Tommy Doyle and Lindsey Wallace from the first two movies are actually in this one.
- This movie along with the next two will then be erased from canon by the time Halloween H20: Twenty Years Later came out.
- The script was done in 11 days and it was also done while a writers strike was looming.

Halloween 4: The Return Of Michael Myers might arguably be the last great movie in the franchise until 1998 (and hopefully 2018) and it certainly helped to expand a world that would later be scrapped when the franchise decided to reboot itself but as a movie, it's a worthy entry into this particular universe.

Rating: 8 out of 10

My Review of Halloween 3: Season Of The Witch (1982)

Written & Directed by Tommy Lee Wallace

Daniel: "Witchcraft."
Cochran: "To us, it was a way of controlling our environment. It's not so different now... it's time again. In the end, we don't decide these things, you know; the planets do. They're in alignment, and it's time again. The world's going to change tonight, Doctor, I'm glad you'll be able to watch it. And... Happy Halloween."

Probably the most controversial thing you can do in the Halloween movie franchise was done back in 1982 when for the series third entry, they decided to take Michael Myers out of the equation and it went down like a lead balloon. However time is a great thing as this movie has garnered more affection over the last couple of decades and it's easy to see why.

Instead of seeing Laurie Strode getting terrorised for the third time by her knife wielding indestructible older brother, this time the action takes place in California where womanizing doctor Daniel Challis (Tom Atkins) finds himself embroiled in a dark conspiracy when a toy store owner ends up dying in mysterious circumstances at the hospital and with the aid of the man's daughter, Ellie (Stacey Nelkin), the two of them soon realise the trouble is in a small town, which harbours the Silver Shamrock factory, run by Cork man Conal Cochran (Dan O'Herlihy), who has his own sinister agenda for Samhain/Halloween.

This is certainly a dark movie and arguably even a little more scary without Michael Myers hacking up the main cast every five to ten minutes as well. Unlike the first two movies, this one has no problem with actually killing children as Cochran's grand scheme involves a jingle that activates the Silver Shamrock mask to murder kids and we're given one pretty graphic demonstration in the movie halfway through.

In the original script Cochran was meant to be a 2000 year old demon and it's certainly implied in his heated exchanges with our hero, Challis that he's been around for a couple of centuries alright. I'm not entirely sure if his scheme to murder people on Halloween and essentially replace them with robots (which significantly happens to Ellie towards the end of this movie) actually holds up but they're definitely menacing as we get to see some rather unfortunate people meet their demise at the hands of Cochran's robotic henchmen, including one particularly gory scene involving a drill.

The ending itself is also a rather suitably grim moment that also reminds you that even without a certain knife wielding maniac you're watching a Halloween movie and to be honest, much as I love Michael Myers (not morally obviously), it's a shame the idea of an actual anthology series with different stories didn't properly catch on as this was a great starting template for the idea.

- Jamie Lee Curtis actually has an uncredited voiceover role while Nancy Loomis (Annie) also plays Challis's ex-wife for a scene or two.
- Yup, there's also the scene where a tied up Dan is actually forced to watch the original Halloween movie before he escapes. At least Cochran didn't butcher the word Samhain like Sam Loomis did in the previous movie.
- The movie's tagline "the night no-one came home" is one of the best taglines I've seen for a movie. I'm just throwing that out there.
- You're going to hate me for this, but here's a link to Silver Shamrock to enjoy .... https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W7-uC0LDllM

Halloween 3: Season Of The Witch might be the oddity of the franchise but in it's own right, it's a genuinely great movie, ripe with memorable moments from start to finish and a bloody great antagonist in Cochran. This is definitely a movie that deserves more love than it's gotten in the past.

Rating: 7 out of 10

Saturday, October 28, 2017

Shazam! - Zachary Levi Cast In Title Role

With the DCEU announcing so many movies, I was wondering if we were ever going to get some casting on Shazam and finally we did. The guy playing the role has been revealed as ....

Zachary Levi. Yup, the guy known for roles such as Flynn Rider in Tangled and the title character of Chuck, which ran for five seasons on NBC will be our Shazam!/Billy Batson for the DCEU and to be honest, it's interesting casting choice. Zachary seems to be adept at heroic roles given that he was also in the Heroes: Reborn revival series and also appeared as Fandral in Thor: The Dark World and Ragnorak recently. Casting for the younger Billy Batson though has yet to be confirmed but after months of very little to go on, it's nice that we now have our title hero cast. The character of Billy Batson an adult superhero by saying the name “Shazam!”, which is an acronym for ancient gods and historical figures Solomon, Hercules, Atlas, Zeus, Achilles, and Mercury.

Of course every hero needs their villain and while the casting for Black Adam has been known for ages, need I remind everyone again that it's Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson for the role. The Fast & Furious actor was cast a while ago with rumours of him getting his own solo movie as well. Other DC movies in the lineup include sequels for Wonder Woman, Suicide Squad and Justice League, Justice League Dark, Flashpoint, The Batman and Batgirl along with rumoured movies for Joker/Harley, Deadshot and Deathstroke while Aquaman is also finished filming, due for release in December 2018.

Press Release: http://deadline.com/2017/10/zachary-levi-dc-shazam-new-line-1202196486/

Filming for Shazam! will begin filming in Spring 2018 with a release scheduled for April 2019.

My Review of How To Get Away With Murder's 4x05: "I Love Her"

Written by Sarah L. Thompson
Directed by Lexi Alexander

Bonnie (to Isaac, re Annalise): "I miss the house. I miss our family. She made me feel safe. Even when I hated her. I didn’t have anyone until her. Then she just threw it away."

I was going to use Nate's mention of Bonnie being a Single White Female as my quote for this episode but I decided to be a bit more fair to Bonnie because while her vendetta with Annalise has gotten rather tiresome, this episode on the other hand was absolutely fantastic.

Back in Season 2, we got some rather graphic details about Bonnie's backstory when Annalise told Asher about her abusive father. This episode went to 2002 where Bonnie was giving evidence against one of her attackers and Annalise was defending the guy and thus their fates soon intertwined with each other as Annalise's guilt over Bonnie led to her trying to help the troubled waitress out by bringing her in as a student for her own law firm and introducing her to Sam as well.

I loved the flashbacks, dodgy wigs to one side and I certainly think the episode did a fantastic job into delving into Annalise and Bonnie's fascinating but toxic relationship with each other. In the present day, Bonnie was mulling over her 'break up' with Annalise to Isaac before the latter eventually figured out who she really was while at the same time also sabotaging Annalise's latest mission, both things which didn't exactly put Bonnie in a particularly great light this week.

I do think Annalise handled the fallout of Bonnie's actions better than expected, considering the last time Bonnie went for the kill, Annalise nearly went for her. It also helped that she still had Claudia on her side and that Connor also got roped in to help her. I'm glad they're teaming Connor and Annalise up. Aside from them being my two favourites, I'm also done with Connor just moping around the place and this episode finally gave him the kick up the backside he's needed this season.

Keeping with the kicks, are we really doing a whole 'who's the daddy?' story with Laurel's baby? It seems so as this week, it turned out that Laurel actually did cheat on Wes with Frank and that the baby might be his. Much as I do like Laurel, this episode really wasn't her best as she was kind of vexing with everyone this week, especially Oliver and Michaela who hacked into Caplan & Gold's files to get more information on Trent but they also nearly got caught by Simon, who was less annoying than usual this week.

As for Asher, he was shown in the present day to be growing increasingly insecure and frustrated with Michaela's long working hours but when Bonnie showed up at Caplan & Gold in the flash forward moment, Asher was also seen crying in a cell. Has Asher someone else and if so, who?

- Connor nearly went off with a guy on Humpr but chose to talk to Annalise instead while Simon more or less confirmed he was gay to Oliver.
- I really like that Tegan seems to actually like Michaela, so I'm bracing myself for their relationship to go south pretty fast now.
- Annalise and Sam were trying for a baby in flashbacks during this episode. I was a little surprised to see Sam this week but his appearance worked well enough.
- Chronology: Two weeks until the big mid season finale moment. In the show's chronology that is. Mostly 2002 in flashbacks though.

A brilliant episode. I Love Her delved successfully into Annalise and Bonnie's relationship, the flashbacks were fantastic, present day stuff interesting and more facets to the main mystery added on pretty well. Kudos, show.

Rating: 9 out of 10

Friday, October 27, 2017

My Review of Gotham's 4x06: "Hog Day Afternoon"

Written by Kim Newton
Directed by Mark Tonderai

Professor Pyg (to a cop): "Oink, oink, little pig."

Okay, one of the creepiest and most recent Batman villains finally got added to the show's roster of Rogue Gallery members and this was an episode that despite not being overtly gory (funny, considering the main baddie in question), did however managed to be suitably creepy while at the same time providing a disappointing if not surprising revelation about Bullock to boot.

First of all, props to guest actor Michael Cerveris for being utterly menacing as Pyg. We never get to see what he looks like outside of that pig mask he wore but all of his scenes, including that chilling last moment where he was actually feeding the pigs really struck a note for me that there's more horrible stuff to come.

Pyg as a character in general is genuinely horrifying and has gone from the comics to the Arkham games and Beware The Batman animated series in recent years. This live action foray into the character is off to a promising start with him kidnapping and killing corrupt cops and putting pigs heads on their faces to boot.

The use of opera music, the creepy sing song style rhyming, just everything about Cerveris's performance just sold Pyg as a dangerous villain but the fact that he was willing to spare Gordon, whom he viewed as a good cop was interesting while he failed in his attempt to murder Bullock though. Speaking of Bullock, this wasn't his best episode yet.

I'm not really surprised that he was revealed as being under Oswald pay packet and I almost can get his reasons for doing so but it came across as a rather predictable move and do we really need yet another reason for Gordon to get on high horse? The answer would be no and you know it's going to put a strain on their friendship for the next few episodes.

As for the rest of the episode, this plot in the Narrows with Leslie, Butch/Grundy and Nygma has gotten pretty interesting too. While these Fight Club storylines most genre shows seem to do nowadays usually tend to be rather boring, there at least a few dimensions to this one as both Leslie and Nygma interacted quite a lot here.

I like that Leslie tried to look out for Grundy with Nygma barely containing the fact that he was using the latter for his own end while at the same time having some fun at Ed's expense before agreeing to help him out. The subplot with Cherry allowing Leslie to run a free clinic in exchange for helping out with her boxers made a lot of sense. Basically this Narrows storyline is probably a lot better than most of what Leslie had going on last season.

As for Oswald, once again we had a situation where it looked like he was finally going to catch Sofia out, only for things to be turned on their head and for him to fall further under her thumb for good measure. Sofia this week revealed that she opened up an orphanage and to be honest, I think Zsasz's reaction really summed it up. I get that the Nygmobblepot shippers are hating this storyline but I'm finding it rather fascinating to be honest, though I do hope they don't go down the romance route here.

- Leslie's in the Narrows as it was the worst affected by the Tetch virus that she feels guilty over being released.
- I'm hoping the show does a bit more with Cherry before this Narrows storyline is over with. So far, she's done not too much other than being concerned about money and making sure Leslie keeps to her side of the bargain.
- No Bruce, Alfred, Selina, Lucius, Ivy, Barbara or Tabitha this week.
- Chronology: Not long from where the previous episode left off.

Hog Day Afternoon with a bit of a tweaking would've made for a good Halloween episode. It was certainly creepy enough and we have yet to see the show properly acknowledge the holiday considering that this season is meant to be influenced by The Long Halloween. A good introduction for Pyg and some great subplots as well, nicely meshed together.

Rating: 7 out of 10

Thursday, October 26, 2017

My Review of Legends Of Tomorrow's 3x03: "Zari"

Written by James Eagan & Ray Utarnachitt
Directed by Mairzee Almas

Zari: "Really? You saved the world."
Ray: "Twice."
Zari: "Then why does it still suck?"

I have to hand it to this season so far. When it comes to female characters, sometimes the show felt on a rather uneven tone with Sara, Kendra and Amaya making up the ratio for the first two seasons but with Gideon getting more personality (and hopefully another physical appearance at some point) and the debuts of Ava and Kuasa in the last two episodes, it seems like the show is getting the male/female ratio on a more even tone.

Of course, Kuasa is one of our antagonists for the season and Ava is more of a thorn for the Legends so when it comes to female characters actually joining the Waverider, Zari Tomaz (Tala Ashe) is the one to step into the plate but not quite so simply, which does suit this show to a tee.

Nope the episode opened with Kuasa on a mission to kill Zari and the rather hapless Gary forced to work with the Legends in order to keep the computer hacktivist out of harm's way. Of course, Zari isn't really that impressed with the Legends but they're useful in getting her into ARGUS under the belief they're helping to rescue her brother. The reality on the other hand turned out to be that Zari wanted to get her brother's totem, which not so funnily enough was also the same thing that Kuasa was looking for as well.

For an introduction episode to our newest regular, this did a great job with Zari. Her moments of sarcasm and defiance with the Legends never made her unlikeable and the show talked about her being Muslim pretty well to boot. I also find it interesting that Zari and Amaya are now connected with their respective totems as well as Kuasa also leaving Amaya a hint of their own connection.

Speaking of Amaya, while she was mainly out of the action until the last confrontation with Kuasa, I am enjoying this storyline with her totem. Given how quickly she encountered Kuasa in this episode, I guess it won't be long before she realises that Mari isn't her only granddaughter. Kuasa didn't say a lot in this one but she's certainly acquitted herself as an interesting foe for the Legends while Zari looks like she's going to be a great addition to the team.

As for the rest of the episode, there was some good comedy at the expense of Nate being high and Gary still being a dweeb (along with Mick's general awesomeness) but at the same time, we might need a breather or two from Sara and Ava's usual antagonistic/flirty banter and even I thought that Stein was being a little patronising over Amaya's totem problem despite meaning well. Jax also had some good moments. As for Ray, well there's another story.

I liked his scenes with Zari but the pirate/biker look was pretty ridiculous to be honest. The interesting part though occurred at the episode's end as we saw a younger version of him hiding from bullies and encountering something in a tunnel. Now that was a good set up for the next episode.

- I'm really not shocked that ARGUS went the way it did in 2042. It was a totally predictable outcome to be honest.
- Loved the trippy sequences with Amaya back in Zambesi during her vision quest. Gideon's reaction to Ava as well was fantastic.
- No mentions of Mallus this week.
- Chronology: 2042 Seattle and 1988 Ivy Town.

Zari added our latest player into the mix and did it pretty well. I think I enjoyed this episode a little more than last week and as much as the premiere episode. I also liked the set up we've got for next week's Halloween episode too.

Rating: 8 out of 10

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

My Review of American Horror Story: Cult - Winter Of Our Discontent

Written by Joshua Green
Directed by Barbara Brown

Kai (to everyone): "Let's all welcome our newest member."

Okay, so the final twist wasn't actually shocking considering what happened throughout the episode but it more than delivered the punch it set out to do nonetheless. Yes, people, Ally has officially joined Kai's batshit crazy cult and the look on Ivy's face really made the moment all the more powerful as well.

I haven't been keen on Ally and her never ending crying for most of this season but this episode was the one where she finally got a spine and delivered. When she found out from Rudy that he was related to Kai and Winter, she flipped her shit and then sold Rudy out to Kai and by doing that, obviously earned herself a spot in the original member dwindling cult.

Speaking of Rudy - I was relieved to find out that he was an actual innocent in all of this. I had thought that maybe Kai was stealing his information and it's nice the theory panned out. It was also nice that Rudy apologised to Ally and tried to make things right for both her and Kai but at the same time, it also resulted in his death, which even Winter seemed horrified by this week. With Rudy dead, Ally is the only one who take Kai out now, unless Winter and Ivy step up to the plate.

I've found Winter to be something of a polarising character this season but this episode (along with last week's to a certain extent), she's finally become interesting with Billie Lourd putting a really great performance here. Winter was determined to defend Kai's intention with Ivy and Beverly (the latter she sold out to Kai) but by the end of this episode, she was certainly done with Kai.

Kai really overstepped the mark when he tried to get her and Samuels to conceive a messiah child and when the latter later attempted to rape Winter, she shot him in the head and blamed Beverly for it. Despite being complicit in the cult's activities, the episode actually managed to generate a lot more sympathy for the character than expected and I wouldn't be shocked if Winter, Ivy and Ally end up making it out of the season alive.

As for Samuels, I really do like Colton Haynes as an actor but if any character deserved to die in this season (aside from Kai), it's certainly him. He went from being a dull, blank slate for most of the season only for his backstory to reveal his corruption as a detective, closeted homosexuality and overt misogyny in one fell swoop. Character wise, he won't be missed at least not by me.

- The 2015 flashback where Kai and Winter took out a Christian guy who was torturing 'sinners' showed that Kai originally had good intentions. That Ricky Springfield cameo though.
- Where the hell has Oz been for the last few episodes? Both Ally and Ivy haven't been looking after him.
- Standout music: All 4-One's I Swear during that horrible near sex scene with Winter, Kai and Samuels.
- Chronology: Three weeks since the previous episode.

Winter Of Our Discontent has just skyrocketed to being my favourite episode this season. It's great that after such a shaky start, this season has well and truly found it's feet and now that Ally is in the cult, things can only get more interesting.

Rating: 10 out of 10

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Doctor Who - Series 11 Companions Cast

We've been waiting ages for some news on the future of Doctor Who and now we've finally gotten some as the remaining cast members for Series 11 have been announced.

With Jodie Whittaker already confirmed as the Thirteenth Doctor back in July, there were rumours of whom her companions were going to be. The most persistent one being that Bradley Walsh was one of them and on Sunday, the BBC confirmed that Walsh, whose credits include Coronation Street, Law & Order: UK and hosting popular ITV game show, The Chase would be one of the companions. Bradley who also appeared in the second series of The Sarah Jane Adventures as the villainous Elijah Spellman will be taking on the regular role of Graham but in an interesting move, Bradley is one of three new companions to be added to the upcoming eleventh series.

The other two companions, named Yasmin and Ryan will be played by Mandip Gill and Tosin Cole, both of whom have previously worked with each other on Hollyoaks a few years ago. Mandip has also appeared in episodes of Cuckoo and Good Karma Hospital while Tosin appeared in Star Wars: The Force Awakens.

Nothing is known about any of the three new companions other than their names and casting details but it's interesting that like Doctors such as William Hartnell and Peter Davison, Jodie Whittaker will be starting her run with three new companions, following the departures of Bill Potts (Pearl Mackie) and Nardole (Matt Lucas).

Also joining the cast for Series 11 will be Sharon D. Clarke. The Holby City actress has bagged a returning role for the upcoming series, which could mean anything (is she playing a former character on the show?) but casting aside, there was more information to be had about next year. First of all, the eleventh series will not air until Autumn 2018 and that it will be 10 episodes, with the opener being feature length and the rest being 50 minutes long. It certainly confirms all the rumours of a shake up and given that the show has needed a shot in the arm for a while, this all looks pretty promising.

Press Release: http://www.bbc.co.uk/mediacentre/latestnews/2017/doctor-who-cast?ns_mchannel=social&ns_campaign=bbc_press_office&ns_source=twitter&ns_linkname=corporate

Series 11 of Doctor Who will air in Autumn 2018 on BBC1/BBCAmerica respectively with filming beginning next week. Meanwhile Series 10 will be released on DVD from November 13th while Twice Upon A Time airs on Christmas Day.

My Review of Empire's 4x04: "Bleeding War"

Written by Diane Ademu-John & Jamie Rosengard
Directed by Sanaa Hamri

Cookie: "Show me how you fight!"

Okay, in what universe does a one year old have a Prince themed birthday party? I appreciate Empire for wanting to celebrate the late singer but like Glee with some of it's themed episodes (remember when Gwyneth Paltrow sang an Adele song during an episode about neglected artists?), this wasn't the place for it.

Don't get me wrong - I loved the costumes and I loved Jamal and Hakeem's take on Let's Go Crazy but having it for Bella's birthday jarred a little bit though. Of course, it wasn't too heavily focused and the main thing was Anika having the cheek to apply for sole custody of Bella, thanks to Angelo getting his Lyon hating groove back on this week.

While Hakeem is hardly father of the year, Anika absolutely doesn't deserve custody of Bella either considering what she did to Rhonda. Speaking of Rhonda - how terrible was it that Andre actually had to remind his entire family that it was a year since her death as well? I know they weren't close to Rhonda but that came across as rather callous to me. Even the new detective was more sensitive to Andre's plight than his family. Personally I was disappointed that Andre didn't get to take Anika down a few notches but hopefully someone will this season.

When the episode wasn't remembering both Bella and Rhonda, Lucious himself was also unsure about wanting to be the man he used to be for Cookie. He was able to listen to her prison stories but found himself put out by her ruthlessness over the 2020 showcase that ate up into a lot of this episode as well.

Much as I enjoy Cookie's fiery side, even I found her a bit too blunt in this episode with most of the artists competing for a spot at times, so I liked that Lucious called her out on it a little. However it seems that Claudia has certainly sank her claws a little further into Lucious's vulnerable as the episode ended with something of a past reminder for the latter as well.

As for the rest of the episode, Jamal did a love duet with Warren, which sounded nice but at the same time, Warren is still gloating to Diana about getting information out of Jamal, which Diana went to the media about. Then again we did see Warren showing some guilt as well when Diana was at her most smug over Lucious's current state, so there's that.

- Just noticed Porsha's new hairstyle in this episode and Cookie herself had a few different looks throughout this one. Cookie's prison flashbacks were excellent as well.
- Again, who has a Prince theme for a one year old's birthday party?
- Standout music: Has to be Love Is A Drug from Jamal and Warren this week.
- Chronology: From where the previous episode left off.

Bleeding War had it's moments - good music, great flashbacks but I am starting to wonder how much longer Diana can be sustained as a villain and surely we're at the point now where Lucious's memories should resurface, right? Other than that, this was pretty enjoyable though.

Rating: 8 out of 10

Saturday, October 21, 2017

My Review of How To Get Away With Murder's 4x04: "Was She Ever Good At Her Job?"

Written by Michael Russo
Directed by Mike Smith

Tegan (to Michaela, re Annalise): "Was she ever good at her job?"

For those of you wanting an episode where four incredibly strong female characters got to show their true brilliance, well this one was for you and everyone else. Annalise and Michaela this week were forced to put their differences to one side in order to work with Tegan and help Hargrove get custody of her kids from her estranged husband.

Having Caplan & Gold more central to the episode seemed appropriate by the end flashforward but within the episode, it was about Michaela finding her place in the new firm while at the same time feeling threatened that Annalise's presence would also disrupt things. Not that Michaela wasn't entirely wrong to be worried but Annalise was more interested in helping Hargrove than she was antagonising Michaela though.

I did like seeing all four women banding together as they worked out the best way to help Soroya while at the same time, we got more of an insight into Annalise's effect on Dr Isaac as well. The fact that she's some kind of trigger for him intrigues me a lot and then there's also the fact that Bonnie is also one of his patients under the name of Julie Barden.

I'm not sure I like Bonnie trying to ruin Annalise and even Nate this week told her to back off but at the same time, I did like the end flashforward where both Bonnie and Oliver were at Caplan & Gold with investigating police and a bloody mess. Right now, that's two more people we can assume are still alive but there's still the issue of where Annalise and Laurel's baby have gotten to.

Speaking of Laurel, that scene with Frank in the car did not come across as particularly pleasant for either of them. That along with her own dogged determination and she's starting to attract the wrong attention. Denver certainly looked suspicious of her this week and by roping Oliver into hacking at Caplan & Gold as well, other people are clearly going to be suspicious too.

Of course when the show wasn't adding more to the future, there was also a focus on the present with Connor's dad, Jeff and the latter's husband, Ted. I liked Jeff and Ted as characters and I do hope we see them again and while Jeff made some fair point that clearly Connor took to heart, I don't really like the idea of Jeff's words also causing some potential damage to his relationship with Oliver. I'm guessing another break up might be imminent now.

- While Connor might be heading somewhere story wise this season, Asher is still in something of a funk. Just get him an internship somewhere already.
- Bonnie seems to be convinced that Annalise sabotage Virginia in the previous episode to get the latter's job. Tegan on the other hand actually offered Annalise a place at Caplan & Gold.
- Are we going to be meeting Oliver's father now that he's been mentioned?
- Chronology: A month and a half from whatever is going to happen in the mid season finale.

I really liked this one. Was She Ever Good At Her Job? certainly had it's moments with the Hargrove plot and the meeting of Connor's fathers and I'm still invested in the main mystery this season. Despite his absence this week, is it possible that Simon will be the Caplan & Gold death or someone else (not Tegan though)?

Rating: 8 out of 10

Friday, October 20, 2017

My Review of Gotham's 4x05: "The Blade's Path"

Written by Tze Chun
Directed by Scott White

Grundy: "Solomon Grundy, born on a Monday."

From now on, I will be referring to Butch Gilzean as Solomon Grundy because that's who he is now and if this episode is anything to go by, I am in total support of that. I've never really commented on Drew Powell's acting on the show and Butch has been a character I've liked but not been as invested in as I have been with others. After this episode though, he got more interesting.

The idea of having Solomon Grundy under our noses all this time instead of adding a new actor into the mix to take on the role was a good move on the show's part. This episode started with Butch being callously dropped into a toxic waste swamp and then emerging a lot worse for wear, no memory at all and adopting the Grundy name after hearing the rhyme on a gramophone and pissing off a bunch of homeless guys.

Of course the best part of Grundy's debut though was having him come into contact with Nygma, who couldn't even rob a pharmacy this week without being easily duped. Last season, Ed and Butch were hardly the best of friends and now this season, it seems like Nygma and Grundy are going to be buddies and it's a rather inspiring dynamic as the pair of them look out for each other while also getting involved in some underground boxing club run by a strange woman named Cherry.

The other aspect of this story turned out to be that the doctor involved in the underground club was Leslie, sporting a Deadpool style look. The reveal was hardly shocking but I guess the show had to reintroduce Leslie at some point and here seemed to be the right place to do it. I'm also hoping for now, it means her interactions with Gordon will also be kept to a minimum for now.

Speaking of Gordon, this week both him and Alfred banded together to try and stop Bruce from killing Ras, only to completely fail on that one. Ras clearly played Bruce like a fiddle this week and I don't believe for one moment that Bruce actually succeeded in bumping Ras off (the latter clearly had some contingency plan with his weird interaction with Barbara this week) but the latter did manage to succeed in getting under Bruce's skin and doubting his whole mission plan with what felt like very little effort. I don't doubt Ras will be popping up later in the season again though.

As for Oswald, the dynamic with him and Sofia definitely intensified this week. I've seen certain shippers literally crap themselves in fear about a possible romantic angle with the pair but going by their interactions this week, it seems more like Sofia is coming at Oswald in the same way Fish had Liza go after her father back in the first season.

Playing an almost maternal type role (the goulash, tending to his foot etc) is certainly a clever tactic on Sofia's part. You can see Oswald knowing she's up to something and trying to work it out while at the same time, succumbing to her 'kindness' and it's rather fascinating to watch. For shippers, I don't think you have anything to worry about there.

- Gordon and Bullock came into conflict over the Pax Penguina thing. Oswald's only been getting 86% results though, which maddened him this week.
- Grundy's transformation still had an Indian Hill link like nearly all of our Rogues on the series.
- No Selina, Tabitha, Ivy, Zsasz or Lucius this week.
- Chronology: Could it really have been a Monday when Grundy emerged from the swamp? Let's pretend it was, shall we?

The Blade's Path continues on what has been an extremely strong start for the season. Right now, it seems that Bruce's crusading and Ras are being put on hold but with the birth of Grundy and another rogue about to show up next week, I think the show can afford to hold things off for a bit there.

Rating: 8 out of 10

Thursday, October 19, 2017

Titans - Further Casting Revealed

I wanted to wait for a bit but now with the casting for the upcoming Titans series pretty much complete, here's a round up of who else to expect on the show.

Alan Ritchson has been confirmed for the role of Hank Hall/Hawk in a recurring role for the series. This isn't the first time the Blood Drive actor has taken on a heroic role in the DC universe as he previously played Arthur Curry/Aquaman in Smallville in a recurring capacity as well. Hank is being described as offensive, aggressive bruiser who fights crime with his partner and girlfriend. Speaking of whom.

The role of Dawn Grainger/Dove will be played by Charlie's Angels actress Minka Kelly. The actress will appear in a recurring capacity along with Ritchson and has been described as a strategic, defensive and lithe vigilante who fights crime with her partner and boyfriend Hawk.

Elsewhere the role of Garfield 'Gar' Logan/Beast Boy - one of the four regular roles for the series has now been confirmed as Ryan Potter (Big Hero 6). Previously there was an online campaign by certain DC fans for the actor to play the role of Tim Drake/Robin in the DCEU but it seems that the actor will be taking on another heroic role.

Meanwhile Lindsey Gort (The Carrie Diaries) has been cast in the role of Amy Rohrbach, who has been described as a police detective who is the new partner of Dick Grayson (Brenton Thwaites). Presumably Amy will be the only character not to don a costume for the upcoming series.

More Casting Information: http://deadline.com/2017/10/titans-ryan-potter-cast-as-beast-boy-in-dc-live-action-series-digital-service-1202190537/

Titans will be released on the DC streaming service in 2018. The series is currently filming.

My Review of Legends Of Tomorrow's 3x02: "Freakshow"

Written by Keto Shimizu & Grainne Godfree
Directed by Kevin Tancharoen

Ray (to PT Barnum): "You had me at circus."

Um, didn't American Horror Story cover the old freak show concept three years ago? Yes it did but for this show we've got an equally just as chaotic take on things to boot.This week, we're in the 1870s and our celebrity history figure is PT Barnum and the freak show has come to town with our Legends getting caught in the mix.

First of all, I have to say that I like Billy Zane as an actor so having him pop up as Barnum was a nice treat. He worked pretty well in the episode, even if his role became more antagonistic and he managed to capture Ray, Nate, Amaya and Jax and try and use them all for his show while Sara was distracted by Sharpe and Mick and Stein had to come to the rescue.

The freak show scenes themselves were executed well enough, with some comedy at the expense of Ray and Jax being forced to pretend they were conjoined twins while a sabre tooth tiger also managed to get loose and cause some havoc on the Waverider as well. Of course while this made for a satisfying enough A plot, it was the subplots that were a bit livelier.

Nate and Amaya's relationship in particular came under the microscope as we saw their break up in flashbacks while in the present day Nate managed to act like a complete jackass before being the one to help Amaya, who now seems to be unable to control her totem. The plus side was that she revealed this to the gang pretty fast and they were all determined to help her and she rejoined the team. I do have a feeling though that this season might end up seeing the character depart but I'm also hoping to be wrong on that one.

The other subplot included the Time Bureau also being a reminder that the Legends are still being monitor. The rather cute but utterly hapless Gary spent most of his time being knocked out and tied up while Ava and Sara were content flirting and fighting with each other before the former dropped a cryptic hint about Mallus which the gang failed to take seriously.

Speaking of Ava, aside from the inevitability of her and Sara hooking up, did anyone else get the impression that she was the Mallus follower who summoned Kuasa at the end of this episode? I'm probably wrong but I can't shake off the theory for some reason though. Either way, Kuasa is now in the game and the show has been clamouring for a female antagonist for a while, plus her connection to Amaya will certainly make their inevitable meeting interesting to boot.

- The Titanic jokes in this episode were greatly appreciated. It's just a pity we didn't have a proper scene with Victor Garber (Stein) and Billy Zane (Barnum).
- We saw Mari in this episode on the news to begin things and then ended with Kuasa coming out of the water. There was also another DC hero in Barnum's freak show as well.
- I liked the picture Sara had of herself with Laurel and Oliver. I'm really hoping she faces off with Black Siren soon too.
- Chronology: 1870 Wisconsin for most of this episode. Also Central City 2017 as well.

Freakshow wasn't the best episode we've ever had but it was a lot of fun and I do like that they're seeding in the Mallus threat pretty well and didn't waste time in having Amaya rejoin the gang as well. That along with Mick's scenes with the clowns and the shrunken tiger were amusing.

Rating: 7 out of 10

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

My Review of American Horror Story: Cult - Valerie Solanas Died For Your Sins: Scumbag

Written by Crystal Liu
Directed by Rachel Goldberg

Valerie: "You've taken my art, you've taken my life. You've taken my motherfucking legacy."
Andy: "Who are you kidding? Shooting me will be the only thing you'll be remembered for. I am your legacy."

Okay, this was an episode I was not particularly looking forward to watching or even reviewing. I'm far from the biggest fan of Lena Dunham, who I think it's fair to say is at best, a rather divisive and polarising figure, so having her on the show as infamous radical feminist Valerie Solanas in this rather flashback heavy episode was the sort of thing you've could've made a drinking game out of and ended up with liver failure as a result.

In flashbacks we get the famous moment where a dejected Solanas shoots Andy Warhol (played by Evan Peters rather skillfully) and automatically become a cult icon in her own making as we're briefed on her backstory (abused by stepfather, prostitute, given children up, etc) as she forms her own group of psychotic man haters that would even make the worst of the Tumblr crowd shudder a little (or give them some bad ideas).

Of course with Dunham somewhat dominating proceedings in her guest appearance, the episode also brings back Frances Conroy as a cigar smoking radical feminist, who is quickly revealed as an older version of Solanas's lover, Bebe Babbot who decides to round up Winter, Beverly and Ivy and give them a harsh lesson on how men tend to shaft women once again.

Throughout the flashbacks we got to see Valerie's cult of man hating murderesses in action as they apparently were the real Zodiac killers going about knocking off couples in a bid to make Valerie's SCUM (Society for Cutting Up Men) Manifesto into a reality while the two token gay men involved were forced to degrade themselves in an attempt to prove their worth only for one of them to get hacked to bits anyways.

I have to admit that I nearly lost the will to live sitting through Valerie's scenes and I honestly wondered if the episode was deliberately going out of it's way to take the piss out of radical feminists and the more woke male feminists to boot. It certainly did more to make me feel less sympathy for Solanas rather than any, although I will admit that Dunham excelled herself during the moment where Valerie lamented about her tainted legacy while Evan Peters being on rather top form as Andy Warhol, which should bode well when he plays other cult leaders in later episodes.

As for the present day stuff, the episode did have some surprises. Less so with Beverly suddenly rebelling against Kai but more that the latter was a few steps ahead once again. In a handful of scenes he was able to manipulate the girls into murdering Harrison while also revealing that Bebe is working for him as well. With Kai's cult status growing, he's certainly proving to be more and more dangerous as his own original cult dwindles.

- Ally was missing for this episode but we know that she was released and Meadow was announced as Kai's would be killer.
- Men Lead, Women Bleed? No wonder Winter was more than happy to kill Harrison, who did admittedly seem somewhat misogynistic anyways.
- The return of Jamie Brewer in this episode along with Dot Marie Jones was a nice surprise here even if they were a part of Solanas's cult.
- Chronology: From where Mid-Western Assassin left off along with 1960s and 1970s flashbacks for Solanas's story.

Well, this was certainly a divisive episode. Valerie Solanas Died For Your Sins: Scumbag for it's intentions for being a feminist episode, did more to highlight the more destructive side of it that social media has been doing for a while now. I will admit that there were some good performances and shocking moments but other than that, it's a bit of a frustrating one.

Rating: 7 out of 10

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

My Review of Empire's 4x03: "Evil Manners"

Written by Matt Pyken & Carlito Rodriguez
Directed by Bille Woodruff

Diana (to Cookie): "It's time we put these hostilities behind us."

Big difference between what one says and what one does, huh, Diana? This week Diana seemed more determined to continue on her mission to take out the Lyon family while Angelo seemed to prefer to drink himself into a stupor and call Warren a whore and add nothing else of value to an otherwise enjoyable episode.

Diana got a minor victory at the start when her cousin the bank clerk guy was able to reject Cookie for money but she ended up having to save face when Cookie was able to charm those women at the photoshoot they all shared. I hope Cookie is smart enough to see through Diana's "let bygones be bygones" facade because Jamal is sinking further in Warren's clutches.

Jamal really had all the hit and miss material this week. On one hand, I loved that he was honest to Lucious about their past and I enjoyed all their scenes together but he was unable to stop Shyne from figuring out that Lucious has memory loss and he certainly was reckless in telling Warren about Lucious, which mean Diana has one more trump card she can now play with.

Of course when Jamal wasn't revealing things he shouldn't have, the episode gave us some interesting flashbacks to Cookie's time in prison where it seemed like the women were more keen on being her friend than an enemy. They tied in fair enough to her current situation at the photoshoot and again, I liked that Cookie was honest to Lucious about being in prison for seventeen years.

As for the rest of the episode, when Shyne wasn't vying for more albums and settling for five, Andre and Detective Rose seemed to be playing mind games with one another while Hakeem seemed determined to keep Anika away from Bella as best as possible with Tiana taking on a more neutral role. Both plots were decent enough but the best stuff was with Jamal, Cookie and Lucious this week.

- Who was that woman that Diana had to mess with Andre? By the way, Diana views Andre as the Scarecrow, Jamal as the Tin Man and Hakeem as the Cowardly Lion.
- No Claudia, Tory or Porscha this week.
- Standout music: Rantionale's Tethered, Hakeem's Shut Up and Jamal/Hakeem's Chase The Sky.
- Chronology: Not long from where the previous episode left.

I enjoyed the episode. Evil Manners certainly showed a lot of DuBois scheming and while Cookie managed to inadvertently get one on Diana, Jamal on the otherhand wasn't so quick to see through Warren though. Add some great music and bits of Lucious's memories trying to surface and this was a goodie.

Rating: 8 out of 10

Saturday, October 14, 2017

My Review of How To Get Away With Murder's 4x03: "It's For The Greater Good"

Written by Erika Harrison
Directed by Nicole Rubio

Michaela (to Isaac): "He’s dead isn’t he? Everyone around us dies. That’s what we do."

I have to admit, I am loving the cliffhanger moments this season. To recap - Laurel went into premature labour, the baby's missing, Frank's consoling her, Isaac is looking for Annalise who is also missing, there's blood on the elevator of Annalise's apartment and now we've got Michaela outside the baby unit lamenting about him being dead.

I get that we're meant to think in this case the "he" is Laurel's son, but I get the feeling the "he" is actually someone else in the mix. I've read some theories this week about it being Simon but would Michaela really be distraught if someone like him died? Probably not under normal circumstances but if the Keating 4 and company played a role in his death, then maybe yeah.

I mean, it might not be Simon either but I definitely don't think that Laurel's baby is actually dead, even if there's the chance that for some reason Michaela might believe he is. I am however still trying to figure how Isaac is going to get involved with the rest of the gang when so far, his interactions in the present day have been restricted to Annalise and even then it seemed like she was about done with him this week

Isaac this week did seem more of a hindrance to Annalise than an actual help with him publicly getting her to hand over urine sample during her cases and being dismissive of her cases as well, so I am wondering how he ingratiates himself into her fractured inner circle in the next few episodes. I did love Annalise challenging him and this week, she was on fire, case wise.

Having her turn the other lawyer (played excellently by Marianne Jean Baptiste) in order to free her client was pretty nifty, even if she did have to deal with the likes of Bonnie and Nate playing her at her own game this week. I have to admit, both Bonnie and Nate came off worse to me in that scene than Annalise did but at least Bonnie did something good with hiring Laurel.

Speaking of Laurel, I knew it was going to take a bit for her to get Michaela to risk her position at Caplan & Gold to avenge Wes but at least the episode didn't drag it out. The competition between Michaela and Simon played out well enough and I like that Michaela has Tegan on her side but I guess maybe we should be taking Simon a little seriously if he's going to have a bigger role this season.

As for Connor and Asher - I'm bored of their mutual moping and they were the weak links of the episode for me. I did like that the gang organised an intervention for Connor even if it didn't take and I liked the introduction of his dads too, which was a nice surprise but aside from some fit go go dancers and Oliver being the smart one in the bunch, the plotline was the least engaging this week.

- Jasmine appeared in the episode, only to be killed off. I sort of knew the show was going to do this but I'm surprised they did it so quickly though.
- Frank really does need a bit more to do this week but I do like that he's slowly working his way into everyone's good books again.
- Who else aside from Frank knows where Annalise lives now?
- Chronology: From where I'm Not Her left off.

It's For The Greater Good was the strongest episode we've had so far. The main mystery is moving along nicely and there's some great stuff with Annalise, Laurel and Michaela but both Asher and Connor are in need of some better material at the moment but other than that, the season is solid so far and the cases have been interesting too.

Rating: 8 out of 10

Friday, October 13, 2017

My Review of Gotham's 4x04: "The Demon's Head"

Written by Ben McKenzie
Directed by Kenneth Fink

Ras (to Bruce): "You're finally beginning to see things clearly. The question is: are you strong enough?"

Have I mentioned that Gotham are doing a far better job with their depiction of Ras Al Ghul than the Arrow universe did? Well, even if I have, it bears repeating as this episode really showed what a magnificently dangerous man Ras well and truly can be when pushed into a corner.

Now I wasn't shocked that he killed kindly museum guy Niles, who had the misfortune of examining the knife that Bruce bought at the auction that Ras was so desperately keen on acquiring. I was however shocked that the show actually went ahead and allowed Ras to slit poor Alex's throat when Bruce refused to hand over the knife towards the end of this episode.

Considering the amount of things that the show has done in it's four seasons, seeing an innocent kid getting murdered was by far the most shocking they've done. I liked the character of Alex. He wasn't the brightest bulb in the room but he was sympathetic and it was nice to see Bruce interact with someone his age range that wasn't Selina for a change. Had things been different, Alex might have been a good friend to Bruce but Ras certainly put an end to that one.

Of course when Ras wasn't killing people to get his knife, he was sending a bodyguard with a dog man creature named Anubis to try and do the same thing while formally introducing himself to Gordon in an attempt to play nice. The latter stance almost worked until Alfred blew both Gordon and Ras's mutual scheming against one another.

Still though, this was a truly excellent episode for Ras where he definitely emerged as a big threat and even with him being shipped off to Blackgate, I didn't need the trailer for next week to inform me that he would get out of his prison sooner than later. Of course, it wasn't just Ras that fared well in this episode.

Both Bruce and Gordon themselves were on fine form and it was nice to see the pair of them actually working together to try and stop Ras. I also liked that Gordon was a lot more competent in this episode than usual and that he actually gave Bruce some pretty sound advice as well. This is a version of James the show needs more and more.

Saying that though, I don't think Gordon really understand what he's done with bringing Sofia back to the city. In this episode alone, it seemed like she was able to play off both Oswald and Gordon while at least letting them both think that they have her sussed out. Now this side to Sofia, I'm also in favour of. I'd rather see Sofia using both Jim and Oswald than being played so easily by both.

As for Oswald, when he wasn't testing Sofia out as a potential threat, he was also having to deal with Nygma's frankly pathetic attempts at revenge. I have to admit, I loved the rapping riddles bit (mainly for Zsasz's reactions) and I also loved the moment where Oswald and Edward finally faced off and the former stopped Fries from freezing the latter as well. Oswald not putting Edward on ice again will probably come back to haunt or maybe it'll be the beginning of a truce between the two. I imagine we won't have too long to wait for an answer to that one though.

- Benjamin McKenzie (Gordon) wrote this episode after directing last season's These Delicate And Dark Obsessions. He really should write/direct more for the series.
- How gorgeous does the Iceberg Lounge actually look? I love the umbrella light especially. It's just in this episode I really got a proper look at the place.
- No Selina, Ivy, Tabitha, Butch or Bullock in this episode and Barbara was relegated to at least two scenes. We did get some more of Harper though who seems okay, character wise.
- Chronology: More or less from where They Who Hide Behind Masks left off.

Now that was brilliant. The Demon's Head certainly showed us that Ras mean business as an antagonist this season and the excellent team up of Gordon and Bruce really worked well for the episode with the Oswald, Nygma and Sofia subplots. Can Benjamin McKenzie write another episode for the series?

Rating: 9 out of 10

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Constantine - Trailer For Animated Series Released/Legends Of Tomorrow Appearance Confirmed

One of the many highlights from last week's New York Comic Con was the confirmation that a certain petty dabbler still has more life in him just yet.

Matt Ryan played the role of exorcist and conman, John Constantine in NBC's Constantine series, which ran for 13 episodes between 2014-2015. Following the series cancellation, Ryan reprised the role in Arrow's fourth season in the episode titled Haunted, before appearing in the Justice League Dark movie and in 2018 the character will headline his own animated series on the CWSeed.

The trailer, released during the weekend showed Constantine up to his old tricks in a church surrounded by demons but it seems that this time around he can swear as well as smoke in his new form.

However, viewers won't just have the character in animated form to enjoy once again as it's also been confirmed that Matt Ryan will also be appearing in the ninth and tenth episodes of Legends Of Tomorrow's third season as well. The spoilers for the appearances sound genuinely exciting as Constantine's appearance on the series will coincide with the return of Damien Darhk (Neal McDonough) and introduction of new antagonist, Mallus.

"As for the character of Constantine, we knew that an alienated, chain-smoking, bisexual, world-weary demonologist would feel right at home among our Legends. His appearance in episode 310 will involve the following: a revisiting of Arrow season four and the events following that season’s finale episode; a confrontation with this season’s Big Bad on Legends — the name we’ve only heard whispered until now Mallus; some hot sex — something that has been in short supply on the Waverider thus far in season three; and Damien Darhk, because how can you do an episode about dark magic and not have Damien Darhk? More than anything, the episode promises to be scary as you know what — tonally it’s The Exorcist meets One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest. Demonic possession in a mental institution, what’s not to love?"

The fact that they're also talking about the character's bisexuality is promising, considering that his own series did seem to skirt around the subject. I'm also hoping that beyond his two scheduled appearances that perhaps we might see more of the character in the future.

Constantine - Animated Series Trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p3X19gYJtCA
Legends Of Tomorrow Spoilers: http://www.digitalspy.com/tv/dcs-legends-of-tomorrow/news/a840400/constantine-chain-smoking-bisexual-dc-legends-of-tomorrow/

Constantine will air on CWSeed in 2018 as will his appearances on Legends Of Tomorrow.

My Review of Legends Of Tomorrow's 3x01: "Aruba-Con"

Written by Phil Klemmer & Marc Guggenheim
Directed by Rob Seidenglanz

Ray: "You're gonna steal the Waverider?"
Sara: "We're gonna fix our mistakes."

And we're back. Picking up from where things went all a bit The Wedding Of River Song, the Legends find themselves in a messy 2017 but they don't have much time to dwell on it because Rip just set up a new group of helpers called the Time Bureau in order to fix the mess Sara and company somewhat created.

The Time Bureau are just like the Legends, except they wear suits and are mostly humour defunct but they're not quite as good at fixing things as Rip would have anyone else believe as this episode also demonstrated. With the exception of the rather uptight Agent Sharpe, the rest of the Bureau are mostly background men doing and saying little of consequence. Sharpe on the other hand made her disapproval of the Legends known while also potentially being into Sara if rumours are anything to go by.

Of course with what I assumed was going to be the main plot somewhat resolved in the first two minutes, Rip effectively broke up the Legends and sent them on their separate ways. Nate and Amaya broke up as the latter went back to Zambesi and the former became a hero in Central City. Then there was Ray working on some holistic app with an annoying wonder kid while Sara worked in a store in Star City with an irritating boss, Stein got to learn he was going to be a grandfather, Jax dropped out of college and Mick actually got his vacation in Aruba with a hitch of course.

The hitch being Julius Caesar whom Mick managed to apprehend before the Time Bureau somewhat botched things up and Sara rebelled by reclaiming the Waverider, assembling her team and trying to send Caesar back to his own time and it would've gone pretty well if Nate hadn't blundered things but then the episode would've lost a few minutes.

Simon Merrills did a great job as the leader of Rome and I really enjoyed his scene with both Mick and Sara throughout the episode. I also liked the team up of Sara and Sharpe fighting Caesar's men as much as I had enjoyed Jax's rather weak impersonation of Ares as well. Of course with Caesar being sent back to his own time, memories erased and both Rip and Sharpe holding different views about the Legends, the episode also dropped an important clanger on us - Mallus.

Although this season is giving a resurrected Damien Darkh, his daughter Eleanor and Amaya's villainous granddaughter, Kuasa in later episodes this season, it seems that Mallus will be the main antagonist this season. However, they're also going to be a threat that we're going to be waiting to see until the second half of the season but I'll enjoy hearing more about the character until they make their way onto the show.

- Rip is now a recurring character this season and it seems that we'll be losing Stein while also gaining Zari as the season plays out.
- Kid Flash was working with Nate in this episode and we got some Felicity shade from Ray's boss as well.
- It seems this season will have eighteen episodes, which is a good thing.
- Chronology: Mostly 2017 but there was also trips to 49BC and 1942 Zambesi. It's also been five years since Rip last saw the gang.

A fun opening episode. Aruba-Con set up a lot of potentially exciting prospects while also hinting at some serious dynamic shifts at the same time. I've missed how utterly bonkers this series can be and this episode served as a perfect reminder of how that continuously works in it's favour. Welcome back, Legends. You guys might screw up time but you're a lot more fun than Rip's new project.

Rating: 8 out of 10

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

My Review of American Horror Story: Cult - Mid-Western Assassin

Written by Todd Kubrak
Directed by Bradley Buecker

Sally (to Ally, re Kai): "He needs to be stopped."

Keeping with bringing in some past players in one-off guest roles, this week was the turn of Mare Winningham to pop up in the series as an unfortunately short lived antagonist to Kai. Sally Keffler had everything on paper to really bring Kai's cult to an end, so of course she had to die horribly but if we're lucky then perhaps Winningham will be back next season in a bigger role.

Here though, Sally directly challenged Kai's manipulation of people's growing fears and decided to run against him and if that wasn't enough of a potential threat to him, there was also the fact that she didn't even question Ally's claims about Kai having his own cult of murderers in the mix but unfortunately when the chips were down, Ally was still rather useless to have around.

First of all, she hid in the bathroom while Kai and his gang arranged for Sally to be killed and make it look like a suicide. I liked that Sally openly defied Kai and had his number before she was murdered but her death was one of two victories for Kai in this episode.

The other one came courtesy of Meadow, who was actually playing a long con with Ally. Her devotion to Kai led her to getting Ally to rescue her from Harrison and Jack while at the same time telling Ally everything about the cult and taking some temporary sanctuary at Rudy's office before a public event lead to a shooting of Kai, Meadow's suicide and Ally being arrested.

In terms of long cons, it seemed a little obvious in retrospect as Kai seemed a little too adept at winning over Meadow's resistance but it played out rather well, even if Ally was a little too suckered into things. Then again, along with Ally's gullibility, this episode also really went to town on how much Ivy actually hates her wife. Maybe not enough to kill her but definitely enough to gaslight the hell out of her as she confessed to Kai that her inability to give birth drove a wedge between the two of them.

I do like that there's some conflict with Ivy but the way in which she's driven Ally to the brink of insanity and the fact that she wants to take Oz off her doesn't do a lot to make me sympathise with her either. On the other hand, with Ally now in the know and hopefully not confined to prison for too long, I am hoping she comes out stronger now.

- This episode was edited in light of the recent tragedy that happened in Las Vegas. I still thought the scenes were pretty effective though.
- Jack is literally the only cult member whose backstory we know nothing about. I assume we will soon though. Kai also offered Winter to Ivy.
- Both Sally and Ally likened Kai to Charles Manson, David Koresh, Jim Jones etc and we all know by now we'll be seeing Evan Peters playing those roles in future episodes.
- Chronology: April 2017 but also November/December 2016 flashbacks and a flashback to Oz's birth as well.

An absolutely brilliant episode. Mid-Western Assassin might have been obvious in the way it played out Ally's downfall but it was fantastically done with some genuinely gripping moments as Kai just showed the lengths he really will go to get what he wants. As for next week's episode, there's one guest star I'm looking forward to and another I'm really not but hopefully the upward swing with this season continues though.

Rating: 9 out of 10

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

My Review of Empire's 4x02: "Full Circle"

Written by Craig Brewer & Eric Haywood
Directed by Craig Brewer

Lucious (to Claudia): "You're the only one I can trust."

And that statement is not a good thing. As we've suspected, Claudia is not going to be a good influence for Lucious and her manipulation of him certainly came out in this episode, especially as the end scene meant that she got her claws into Lucious pretty good.

I actually don't mind Claudia as a baddie though I'm not sure how long she actually can have Lucious on side, especially with Cookie back living in the house but she certainly played a role in Leah being taken out of the mix. Of course Cookie was the main factor as Leah unwisely confessed her murder of Tariq to her, which even surprised me.

The upside of things is that Leah got sent away and Anika with a new hairdo got released from prison, although that had more to do with her using Bunkie's murder to get Cookie and Thirsty to spring her out of jail rather than Leah's own confession. Going by the trailer for the next episode, it does look like we're going to have an Anika vs. Hakeem/Tiana fight for Bella though before Diana also gets involved with things.

Going back to Lucious though - the episode confirmed that he's not faking his memory loss. A scene with Uncle Eddie (Forrest Whitaker) proved that his memory loss is genuine. Speaking of Eddie, he's an interesting new character from Lucious's past that the episode added into the mix and I thought Whitaker played off well with both Lucious and Cookie here too, so I'm interested in seeing more of him.

Another new interest character also added into the episode was Detective Pamela Rose. Andre nearly had sex with her in a bathroom at a bar he was and then later it was revealed who she was. With Nessa clearly out of the picture, it looks like Pamela will be both a love interest and a potential antagonist for Andre this season.

As for the rest of the episode, there was a subplot where Jamal and Becky clashed over a song and the latter ended up giving it to Tory. To be honest, I was on Becky's side with this one as I think Jamal came across pretty unprofessional throughout the whole thing. On the plus side, I did like the singing session with Jamal and Warren when they were on their own though.

- Cookie's face is in the opening credits. I meant to point that out in my previous review.
- We never did learn the movie that Jamal was doing a song for, other than the mention of a hero's journey.
- Standout music: Both Jamal and Tory's take on Appreciated and Hakeem's She's A Monster.
- Chronology: Five months since the previous season finale as emphasised by how much time Anika has been in prison before her release.

Full Circle (not sure what came full circle here to be honest) was a little stronger than the opening episode. Some interesting new characters with Eddie and Pamela added into the mix and nice character bits as well. Too bad the ratings aren't as great for a season that's really promising so far.

Rating: 8 out of 10

Saturday, October 07, 2017

My Review of How To Get Away With Murder's 4x02: "I'm Not Her"

Written by Maya Goldsmith
Directed by Paris Barclay

Annalise (to Isaac, re Jasmine): "It was my first case back and I won it. That's why I wanted to tell you about it because it felt good."

Well, this was a good one. Not particularly subtle in it's white privilege commentary but seeing as this is a show that can actually pull off that social commentary with conviction, I'm more than okay with it to an extent as both Connor and Asher check their privilege and Annalise represents an old friend this week.

I really liked Jasmine back in the latter half of Season 3 and I'm glad she was brought back for this episode. Her scenes with Annalise were a delight as both L. Scott Caldwell and Viola Davis played off each other brilliantly in this one. I'll admit that Jasmine's backstory was somewhat cliched (drug addict, prostitute, etc) but it was still effectively done.

Not only did it help Annalise get her lawyer mojo back in the court room but it also helped with her therapy session with Isaac this week. I'm not surprised there was some initial conflict with the two and I'm still not sure of Isaac's motives either but I did love seeing Annalise talk about her own past history with Sam though when she actually opened up to Isaac.

Speaking of Isaac, we went into the flashforward again as Frank tried to comfort Laurel and learned that not only is the latter's baby missing but so is Annalise. Of course when we didn't have Isaac on the phone demanding Annalise to answer him, we also had Bonnie finding a lot of blood on the elevator of Annalise's apartment block as well. That certainly escalated quickly.

Keeping with Laurel for a bit - this week she vented some more at Connor before eventually deciding to forgive him over Wes while at the same time, getting Michaela to play spy for her as the latter got hired (along with Simon) in the same law firm that represents Laurel's father. I did like that Laurel told Michaela about her theory of her father killing Wes too but is he responsble for her baby and Annalise being missing though?

As for the rest of the episode - both Connor and Asher couldn't get into law firms and seemed to be in a funk themselves. The former didn't want to be a lawyer for a bit while the latter allowed himself to get easily wound up by Simon, which led to Michaela wonderfully decimating Simon in the process. As for Bonnie, Frank and Nate - two of them got a bit closer while one of them continued to help out Annalise with her accepting their help. None of them though seem to be able to function with Annalise to a point.

- Control Oli Delete - props to Oliver setting up his own tech firm but I'm not sure about that title though for a company.
- We learned that Connor's dad was a law during that job fair the Keating 4 and Simon attended this week.
- Laurel seems to be permanently holed in Wes's apartment right now.
- Chronology: Two weeks since I'm Going Away.

Another solid episode. I liked a lot of what I'm Not Her set out to do and the mystery is interesting enough this season but will it be as compelling as last year's one though? Some great character moments throughout this one as well.

Rating: 7 out of 10

Friday, October 06, 2017

My Review of Gotham's 4x03: "They Who Hide Behind Masks"

Written by Steven Lilien & Bryan Wynbrandt
Directed by Mark Tonderai

Sofia (to Gordon): "You came looking for a gangster. That's exactly what you found."

Ah yes, our second new regular finally made her debut this week. With Carmine Falcone apparently on the way out (he's dying of an unspecified disease), Gordon's attempts of getting a gangster to sort out the Penguin's reign in Gotham now rests in the hands of the previously unmentioned Sofia Falcone, played by Teen Wolf's Crystal Reed.

Anyone who has read a certain comic would know that Sofia is something of a psychopath and in spite of her attempts of buttering Jim up during his visit in Miami, I'm hoping that the show plays on this aspect of her character because I really don't want her just wheeled out as another love interest for Jimbo while being easily outsmarted by Oswald as well. I think the character should be able to do a little better on both fronts, right?

Of course while Jim was sunning himself in Miami for most of this episode, Bruce himself was trying to get a hold of an item that Oswald planned to auction off. His first two attempts while playing proto-Batman and undercover working class boy didn't pan out but playing the role of billionaire brat certainly did.

I have to admit it was funny seeing Bruce act like an obnoxious overspending brat who got on Barbara's nerves during the auction of a rather nifty looking knife and even funnier that Oswald seemed to take pleasure in getting one up on Babs too while he was at it. I really loved the little passive aggressive scenes between Babs and Oswald prior to the auction in this episode.

As for Barbara, well the episode saw her putting Selina through her paces, challenging both Oswald and Bruce and we got the reveal of Ras using his Lazarus Pit to bring her back to life, which didn't shock me. Their team up was long spoiled but them actually hooking up though at the end was a little unexpected though. I'm not sure how I feel about that one yet to be honest.

Meanwhile and somewhat a little unexpected but Edward got thawed out earlier than I thought he would. Not by an important character but a rather annoying sycophant fangirl named Myrtle who tried to jog Eddie's memories only to get whacked by her crush and then shot by Zsasz. Having Nygma back but without his riddles is a good move that should make for a few interesting episodes until he gets his mojo back.

- I'm trying to think if this is the first time since Fish's island adventures have we really properly left the city.
- We got introduced to a new female detective at the end of the episode. I really hope the show utilises the character and don't hastily kill her off.
- Absent this week: Ivy, Butch, Tabitha, Lucius and Leslie.
- Chronology: Five months since the events of Heavydirtysoul and we had a Ras origin flashback to 125 AD Saudi Arabia at the start of the episode.

A strong enough episode. They Who Hide Behind Masks gave us a nice taster of mini-Batman and mini-Catwoman getting caught in each other's cross hairs, provided a decent information dump on Barbara and Ras while nicely introducing Sofia and thawing out Nygma. There's not really much I can fault with the episode as a whole.

Rating: 7 out of 10

Thursday, October 05, 2017

My Review of American Horror Story: Cult - Holes

Written by Crystal Liu
Directed by Maggie Kiley

Meadow: "It’s a cult, Ally. It’s a sick cult. And everyone’s in it. The police. My husband. Your babysitter. Your wife.”

And if you're the weak link of the cult, you are basically gone from it. Am I surprised that Meadow emerged as one of two weak links in this cult? Nope but I am a little sad to lose her even if she did try to do the right thing and actually warn Ally about who exactly is involved in the cult itself before she was inevitably killed off screen.

The cult members themselves - last week revealed Kai's group to be Harrison, Meadow, Beverly and Gary. This week we can add Winter, Ivy, Jack (the detective guy) and RJ as we did a brief flashback to the couple that got buried alive while in the present day they banded together to murder anchorman Bob after the latter fired Beverly and the gang realised they needed to up the ante in order to create more terror in the community.

Bob's death was grisly but not really. Yeah, he got bound and gagged and had Beverly finish him off with an axe to the head but what made it grisly was the gimp that he had on hooks prior to his death and the poor latter getting killed as well. Tellingly, it was both RJ and Ivy's reactions that ended up putting the both of them in the firing line with Kai this week.

In Ivy's case, she was forced to demonstrate her loyalty in a rather brutal fashion as RJ was designated the weakest link and was subsequently killed by the gang with  nail gun to the head. I'd mourn RJ's death but the show did very little to develop him as a character but still, what a horrible way to go though.

I do find it interesting that dissent has happened so early in Kai's cult and I can see both Ivy and Beverly posing problems for Kai as the season progresses. Ivy herself seems unsure about the cult in spite of her growing hatred of Ally and bonding with Winter while Beverly was able to cut through Kai's bullshit and get him to admit to something real. That in itself means that Beverly may be the one to usurp him if she's got the mind to.

The real thing being the deaths of Kai and Winter's parents back in 2014. The murder/suicide was done well enough but the nice shocker was having Rudy revealed into being Kai and Winter's brother and covering up the parents death. I'm not sure Rudy himself is a part of the cult but he's definitely passing information that Kai has been using for his own murderous intentions, that seems to be clear.

As for Ally - a little really has gone a long way with the character. Last week, she was better written because we were seeing her in pre-Election flashbacks and this week, despite her weepy moments is showing some improvement as a character. I felt bad for her this week but I'm hoping that Meadow's warning will finally charge into action as well.

- The gimp and the blood play slave that Bob had in his attic even surprised me. Easily the worst death of the episode to be honest. Bob got off lightly compared to his slave and RJ.
- Rudy seems to love Kai but hates Winter. We definitely need a scene with the three of them together very soon.
- The clowns are three penises (Kai), Pentagram (Beverly), Elephant head (Ivy), Ballgag (Meadow), Holes (Harrison), Brains (Jack), Jigsaw (Winter) and Blond one (RJ).
- Chronology: It seems a couple of weeks have passed since Neighbours From Hell but we've also had flashbacks to 2014 and September 2016 in this one.

Well, this one was a doozy. Holes definitely could go down as one of the show's most violent of episodes (and there's a fair amount of competition there) but gruesome moments to one side, the season is finally progressing and it's so much better now with less focus on Ally and more on the cult itself. Am I surprised that Ivy is a member though? Not really but at least there's some conflict with her.

Rating: 8 out of 10