Wednesday, November 29, 2017

My Review of DC TV's Crossover: "Crisis On Earth X" (Supergirl/Arrow/The Flash/Legends Of Tomorrow/Freedom Fighters: The Ray)

And here we are once again. Last year we had not one but four shows band together and tackle the Invasion! of the Dominators but this year, it's technically five shows in a way and we're being thrown into something of a Crisis On Earth X. I can't promise this will be the last of terrible puns to be honest but I'll try to keep them to a minimum.

Written by Andrew Kreisberg & Marc Guggenheim & Robert Rovner & Jessica Queller & Wendy Mericle & Ben Sokolowski & Todd Helbing & Phil Klemmer & Keto Shimizu
Directed by Larry Teng & James Bamford & Dermott Downs & Gregory Smith

Mick (and basically everyone): "I hate Nazis."

First of all, this mega epic crossover found the perfect way to merge the four main shows together - a wedding. Notably Barry and Iris's, which started off in the Supergirl side of things as the groom tried on his tuxedo with Oliver, Joe and Wally while the bride indulged in a nail salon with Caitlin, Felicity and Kara as the latter and Alex decided to beat their break up blues by going to a wedding. In this instalment we had an opening scene on Earth X where their version of the Guardian/James Olsen came to an unfortunate end but until the wedding on our Earth getting gatecrashed, things were running smoothly enough. We had some nice speeches from Joe, a delightful if totally predictable hook up between Sara Lance and Alex and of course, Mick providing his own commentary on weddings itself when he wasn't somewhat fascinated by Killer Frost. The wedding itself then led to Kara singing a beautiful rendition of Running Home To You but then the Nazi invasion of Earth X began as Dark Arrow, Overgirl and Reverse Flash (as Wells) made their presence known. The fight scenes were bad ass but they were also the calm before the storm though.

The chaos then continued on Arrow as the gang managed to capture Earth X's version of Prometheus and it was quickly revealed that this version was none other than Tommy Merlyn (Colin Donnell). Tommy's one of a few Earth X versions we got along with the evil versions of Oliver and Kara, who were not only Dark Arrow and Overgirl but on top of the former being a Fuhrer and the latter a General working with Reverse Flash, the pair of them were also married. I think our Kara's aghast reaction to this particular pairing summed it up rather nicely to be honest as the evil trio schemed and battled with our heroes. The ending of this particular installment saw Barry, Oliver, Kara, Alex, Sara, Stein and Jax ending up on Earth X themselves as prisoners in a brutal concentration while Star Labs on Earth 1 was also getting invaded with everyone being taken out (that included Dinah, Curtis and Rene) while Iris and Felicity had the good sense to mostly stay out of sight, at least for this part of the story. I'm glad that the show made the decision to actually air these four episodes over two nights and that the Oliver side of things was the second act.

The third act - The Flash side of things really upped the tense. Aside from seeing an absolutely hateful alternative version of Quentin (his comments to our Sara, sadistic glee over Earth X's brown haired version of Felicity made my skin crawl) to realising that evil Oliver's scheme was just to save his evil version of Kara, even if it meant destroying so many lives. I did like the little alone time scene with both Karas along with Oliver breaking his cover with Quentin and seeing Alex interact with Earth X's version of Wynn, who is a bit of a tough nut compared to the relatively puppy dog version that we're used in Kara's world. The highlight of this segment though was the introduction of Russell Tovey's heroic, The Ray/Ray Terrill and of course, Earth X's Citizen Cold/Leo Snart. Having Wentworth Miller back was a treat and this version is as bit as delightful as the Snart we loved and lost nearly two years. Of course, this episode did have a rather nasty sting in the tail when it ended with Stein committing one last and fatal act of heroism himself.

With Legends Of Tomorrow being the concluding chapter, it was probably the most appropriate for Stein's last stand out. Through that show's current season and especially in this crossover, the writers have been hammering home that Stein and Jax were going to split up and that the former would go home to his family. Unfortunately he died in this episode and his last scene with Jax along with Lily and Clarissa's reactions to his death had me in bits. I've loved seeing Victor Garber in this universe and it's a shame that we lost the character but this was a hell of a story to write the character out with. Martin Stein, you will be missed big time. Of course the rest of the episode then saw the rest of the gang (hello, Amaya, Ray, Nate and Zari) and everyone band together to take out everyone except Reverse Flash. A part of me was annoyed at Barry for letting that guy go but it did subside a little though as I'm sure they will be another encounter with those two in the near but for now, the Earth is saved, Nazis have been defeated and everyone is back to their own business. Then things ended with Diggle being roped in to officiate two weddings - Barry and Iris and Oliver and Felicity, giving the crossover it's romantic conclusion and thus pleasing two ships at the same time.

This crossover certainly had everything. I know there were fans who criticised the Nazi storyline but a) it's from a comic book and b) this crossover showed the horrors of Earth X throughout, there was no glamourising here and c) learn to separate fiction from reality, people. On top of the non stop action, so many beautiful character interactions, comedy courtesy of Mick, Stein's unfortunate demise and pleasing both Olicity and WestAllen shippers, for LGBT viewers, not only did we have Alex and Sara's fun hook up which got the former to let go of losing Maggie and the latter to want something more than one night stands, we also got the amazing pairing of Citizen Cold and The Ray (the latter also being from our Earth) but it seems that for a while we're holding on to one of these guys while the other one goes back to Earth X but either way, it's another inclusive string to this universe's diverse bow as well as providing some context for the upcoming Freedom Fighters: The Ray animated series.

- Lena, Samantha, Black Siren, Thea and William sat out this crossover but Susanna Thompson provided the voice for Earth X's version of Gideon on their Waverider. Mon El also had a brief cameo while Wally and Joe were there for the first bit.
- Cameos included Red Tornado, a Dominator, Killer Shark and Metallo. Eobard also implied that he might have killed Superman as well.
- That waitress talking to Barry was clearly meant to be Dawn Allen, wasn't she? The show also had a different title sequence for all four shows, which I loved.
- Chronology: Mostly present day, except for the bit in the 12th century for the Legends at the start of the saga.

This crossover event had a lot riding on it and after seeing some of our heroes meet on the big screen a fortnight ago with Justice League, the small screen version really did deliver even better. Crisis On Earth X was a good choice in story to tell - topical and uncomfortable for some, but it utilised heroes from four shows brilliantly while nicely setting up another animated show to boot. I don't know how they will top this crossover next year but I definitely cannot wait to find out.

Rating: 10 out of 10

Saturday, November 25, 2017

My Review of Empire's 4x06: "Fortune Be Not Crost"

Written by Joshua Allen & Dianne Houston
Directed by Sanaa Hamri

Hakeem (to Anika, re Bella): "Yellow. Her favourite colour is yellow."

Sorry for the delay with this one and after just finishing it, I really wished I had watched it a lot sooner as well. I just knew that the custody case for Bella was going to be a bumpy one, but even I was a little floored with how nasty it managed to become as things progressed in this episode.

I knew that Mama DuBois was going to come up with something that would scupper Hakeem's chances to keep Bella, so telling the court about their Tuesday meetings and then playing tapes where Hakeem pretty much called out every single member of his family just to finally stick the knife.

The end resulted in Anika getting custody of Bella and as annoying as that was, it does serve something of a purpose. As well as showing us the levels both Angelo and his mother will go to screw with the Lyons, it's also reignited Lucious's own particular bloodlust and while Diana is currently having her moment in the spotlight, it will be the Lyons who will ultimately have the last laugh.

The court scenes were some of the best I've seen on any show to be honest. Whether it was Cookie's scathing commentary on Anika, Angelo going full throttle to discredit the Lyons while Cookie also revealed that Anika tried to kill herself that one time or even Hakeem representing himself and showing that Anika barely knew Bella as well.

For all of Hakeem's faults as a character (in this episode alone: blowing up at poor Tiana, not telling his family about meeting Diana etc), he really does care for Bella so the episode did manage to generate the right amount of sympathy for him when Anika won custody of their daughter. I did like the last scene between the two of them and if I were Anika, I wouldn't get too comfortable with the DuBois at the moment, even if Angelo is clearly making the moves on her.

Away from the court case and the Lyons vs. the DuBois, this episode also had Becky reunite with her ex-boyfriend, J Pop and they certainly seemed to have some unfinished business. Much as I want Shyne gone from the show, he actually worked well as comic relief and while Becky's storyline was seperate from the main action, it certainly didn't hamper the episode itself.

- Warren and Jamal looked like they had swapped jobs in the opening scene. Both Angelo and Diana have clocked on to the fact that Warren now has genuine feelings for Jamal. Also Andre's therapist is part of Diana's plan too?
- We were meant to see Claudia in this episode but her scene was clearly cut out. Maybe it'll appear in a later one.
- Standout music: Jamal and Warren's Love Is A Drug v2.
- Chronology: Not long from where The Fool left off.

Fortune Be Not Crost certainly delivered on the most soapiest and nastiest of court room dramas going as the DuBois clan really did play their hand at being truly dangerous to the Lyons. Of course with Lucious now back in the game, it seems like things will really heat up though.

Rating: 8 out of 10

Thursday, November 23, 2017

My Review of Legends Of Tomorrow's 3x07: "Welcome To The Jungle"

Written by Ray Utarnachitt & Tyron B. Carter
Directed by Mairzee Almas

Grodd (through Sara): "Kneel before Grodd."

I bet the writers were pinching themselves with delight of getting to use that line in an episode with the telepathic gorilla from hell. After popping up in The Flash several times in the last three years, it was time for a different group of people to have to deal with Grodd for a change.

Having Grodd show up in 1967 Vietnam during the height of it's war was actually a great move for the show. Grodd was able to take advantage of people's desperation for peace by influencing them into allying themselves with him and even to encourage his scheme for dealing with humanity once and for all.

Of course the Legends were there to actually stop Grodd and at one point in the episode, Amaya was actually getting through to the evil gorilla until Mick's father came blundering in and undid all of her efforts but then again, we are talking about Grodd and every time he's been offered a chance to live away from human influence, he still comes back to try and kill them.

As soon as he was made aware that the Legends had a time ship, he possessed Sara (who was largely out of action this week otherwise) to take it over before the latter got whacked with a frying pan by Isaac Newton. Of course Grodd might have been defeated by the Legends/a frying pan but he has made a new friend in Damien Darkh, so we'll be seeing him again then.

When this episode wasn't dealing with Grodd, it was also confronting Mick's daddy issues as the latter was also in Vietnam at the same time. It was the very reason why Mick didn't want to go into the jungle but the second plot of the episode was pretty strong with some great insight into Mick's past, his darker side and self loathing and even a rather supportive role for Nate.

Much as I love Mick's comic side, it's great when the show remind us of his darker and serious side too. What this episode lacked in Sara definitely made up for with Mick though. Also while I'm not always Nate's biggest fan, pairing him up with Mick really worked for the character and it was nice seeing him be rather supportive.

Speaking of team ups, the show has been hammering it home that Jax and Stein will be going their seperate ways and this episode saw the latter using some outside help to split them up. I'm really going to miss Stein even if it will be interesting to see how Firestorm will work without him though.

- Stein managed to get Galileo, Marie Curie and Isaac Newton to help with his problem. Jax also got a pecan pie recipe from President Johnson, whom he saved in this episode.
- The show seems to be slowing setting up a Zari/Ray pairing. I did like Zari's reaction to Grodd being a former ARGUS prisoner as well.
- Really surprised they didn't make a Dian Fossey reference with this one.
- Chronology: 1967 Vietnam but also Thanksgiving 2017 going by one scene in the Waverider as well.

Welcome To The Jungle was another fun episodes. The Vietnam war, a president, three geniuses and a telepathic gorilla for the price of one along with a Thanksgiving meal and a pecan pie recipe. The show really is a shopping list of the strangest items that continue to result in something great.

Rating: 7 out of 10

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

My Review of How To Get Away With Murder's 4x08: "Live. Live. Live."

Written by Joe Fazzio
Directed by Rob Hardy

Annalise (to Laurel's baby): "Live. Live. Live."

And that was a mixture of madcap intensity, near morbid comedy and a tiny bit incomplete as well. For a mid-season finale, this certainly had all the ingredients that previous other ones did but this time, it also felt a bit different.

In the past we've had the likes of Sam, Sinclair and Wes all killed as well as Annalise being shot and Laurel nearly killed herself. This time around, we had Annalise put under the least enviable task ever as she had to revive Laurel's prematurely born son while Simon managed to accidentally shoot himself in the head during another volatile encounter with three of the Keating lot.

Simon has been a mixture of being something of an annoyance for the gang with his constant putdowns and former one man smear campaign against Annalise but at the same time, he's also been the butt of the jokes and something of a contrast to the more privileged members of the Keating crew, so his resentment towards has had some merit to it as well.

In this episode, he snarked with Connor because the two of them couldn't help themselves while at the same time actually admitted that he had romantic feelings for Oliver. The gang wanted to use that in order to frame Simon for stealing Tegan's key card, only for Simon to actually figure it out and get into it with the gang.

A part of me was relieved that none of the gang actually shot Simon but at the same time, the scene where he inadvertently shot himself did come across as a bit silly. Now he's on an operating, tethering between life and death. Personally, I think he might just make it, if only because him being alive will actually serve more of a thorn in the Keating gang's side than him being dead.

Of course before Simon's current fate, the episode had Connor doing his best trying to get the rest of the gang to see sense, only for Frank to nearly strangle him and cause Laurel going into labour. I liked that Connor actually went to Annalise when he realised the plan was going south and without Annalise, things could've went a lot worse for Laurel to be honest.

The elevator scene where Laurel was giving birth and Annalise had to revive the baby was one of the hardest scenes the show has pulled off. Some genuinely gripping acting from both Viola Davis and Karla Souza during those particular scenes, though no one in this episode slouched at all.

As for the rest of things, we had both Bonnie and Nate dealing with their Annalise obsession along with Isaac and his ex-wife arguing over the former's fixation on Annalise as well. I am surprised with everything she knows that Annalise wanted to keep Isaac as her therapist but seeing as there are still some flashbacks to be seen, we should see how that pans out a bit more.

- The show returns with it's final seven episodes from January 18th and we'll see the rest of the flashbacks then.
- Connor was being watched by Dominic, so I wouldn't be surprised if he's just inadvertently put himself in danger as well as making Laurel's father aware of her plot against him.
- Asher ended up being arrested for Simon's possible death as well while Michaela was trying to get everyone else in order.
- Chronology: From where the previous episode left off.

Live. Live. Live delivered as a mid series finale with everyone on the edge (Oliver's first reaction to a dead body, everyone) even there are still flash forwards that need to be seen in order to complete the rest of the story. I'm guessing in the second half of the season, Laurel's father will be coming after them all.

Rating: 9 out of 10

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

My Review of Gotham's 4x09: "Let Them Eat Pie"

Written by Iturri Sosa
Directed by Nathan Hope

Pyg (to Oswald/guests): "You have it coming! You have it coming!"

Meat Pie Tango anyone? Even for this show, this was an episode that really upped the craziness as Pyg really came up with the most diabolical of plots this week. Having the city's elite chowing down on pies made of homeless people? How did this show manage to pull that off in an 8pm timeslot?

I've enjoyed Pyg as a villain and I certainly think that Michael Cerveris is one of the best guest actors we've had this season and this episode really utilised his talents for terror and camp in equal measure. Having Pyg go to the lengths he did to make a point about Gotham's rich (one that Bruce will make in the future) feeding off the poor was executed a little too well here.

Seeing both Oswald and even Sofia being forced to eat some human pie was definitely something I did not need to see but both of them did so that Pyg wouldn't kill Martin, the latter whom Oswald has grown accustomed to but even Sofia seemed to have some concern for the boy's safety as well as she got Oswald to help her with Pyg's special meal.

However while Sofia showed her loyalty there, the episode ended with Martin revealing to Oswald that Sofia and Gordon were a couple to Oswald. which the latter didn't take well at all. I'm actually happy that this is out of the way, even if the trailer for next week's episode seems to amount to Oswald throwing the biggest tantrum ever.

As for Pyg, he did get caught this time by Gordon, who also managed to save Harper as well but it seems like we're not done with the character just yet. Of course when Gordon wasn't catching Pyg and getting some actual thanks for it by journalists, there was still a lot of tension between himself and Bullock.

Speaking of tension, this week certainly saw Bruce and Alfred on the outs as Bruce seemed more interested in partying with Alfred's attempts of getting him to see sense falling on deaf ears. I don't mind this plot for now but I do hope it's not dragged out for too long though.

- Pyg went through some more disguises this week when he was charming the homeless and setting up clues for Gordon to find him.
- Standout music: Meat Pie Tango. Is it really bad that I wanted to hear Pyg sing a bit longer than he did?
- No Selina, Barbara, Tabitha, Leslie, Nygma or Grundy this week and Zsasz is still missing too.
- Chronology: Not long from where Stop Hitting Yourself left.

Not quite as strong as previous episodes, Let Them Eat Pie however is the show at it's most gruesome and darkly comic with Pyg truly earning his stripes as one of the best adapted villains on the show. The Captain subplot and Bruce's story did lag in parts though.

Rating: 7 out of 10

Saturday, November 18, 2017

My Review of Justice League (2017)

Written by Zack Snyder & Chris Terrio & Joss Whedon
Directed by Zack Snyder

Superman: "I'm a big fan of of the truth. I'm also a big fan of justice!"

The world needs Superman. No, really, it does and not just because of who a certain country has as president but also because this movie goes out it's way to remind viewers that Superman is needed by everyone and especially because of the impending war that was hinted during Batman V. Superman after the latter's heroic sacrifice to save the world.

For those in the dark, yes this is a movie about Batman (Ben Affleck) and Wonder Woman (Gal Gadot) assembling a team of meta humans - The Flash (Ezra Miller), Aquaman (Jason Momoa) and Cyborg (Ray Fisher) in order to defeat the rather powerful alien Steppenwolf (Ciaran Hinds) and stop his plans to use three mother boxes from destroying the world but the only way they can do that is with Superman's (Henry Cavill) help and he's currently dead.

The first half of the movie succeeds in portraying a miopic world without the man of steel as Lois Lane (Amy Adams) and Martha Kent (Diane Lane) struggle without Clark and both Bruce and Diana are determined to honour his memory by making their team work but when Steppenwolf proved to be more of a bother than anticipated, the plan to revive Superman suddenly became viable and needed for the second half of the movie.

I was surprised with how quick it seemed that Superman re-entered the fray and delighted that he was in more of this movie than the trailers would let you believe he'd be. Pithy comments about Cavill's moustache to one side, Superman's return is actually pretty glorious as his initial past tensions with Batman are dealt with swiftly, his reunions with Lois and Martha beautifully poignant and his assault on Steppenwolf glorious.

The team are fantastic to watch but once Superman is added into the mix during the final act, it feels complete. Until then, it's mostly forming with both Aquaman and Cyborg being somewhat reluctant to join the team to counteract with The Flash's boyish enthusiasm while Batman and Wonder Woman, despite some of their own conflict and exorcising their own demons are the ring leaders of this new gang of friends.

Steppenwolf on the other hand, is probably one of the movie's problems. He's given a decent amount of screen time, has a simple motive, proves himself to be pretty dangerous as a baddie and is voice well enough but he's not the most charismatic or engaging of villains. He's admittedly better utilised than Doomsday but he's definitely not going to go down as a classic cinematic villain. The Parademons on the other hand are pretty effective, feeding on fear and also playing their role into Steppenwolf's eventual defeat.

On the other hand, Steppenwolf is successful at connecting the characters together though. For instance, his mission to retrieve the mother boxes gives us looks into both Themyscira and Atlantis with the likes of Hippolyta (Connie Nielson) and Mera (Amber Heard) getting some screen time while Silas Stone (James Morton) also returns, playing his role into Victor's backstory and being one of the few civilians willing to stand up to the baddie of the piece before being rescued by the League.

The personal stakes are done pretty well. There is insight given into each hero as Arthur's issues with his mother are hinted along with Barry's determined to exonerate his father, Henry Allen (Billy Crudup) along with Victor's own anger towards his own father for saving and cursing him at the same time. The one thing the movie completely succeeds in is that it gives every single member of the team the perfect amount of screen time. No one character dominated the other, all of them complimented each other and we're given a good look into all of their distinctive personalities and traits,

As for the humour, this is definitely where Joss Whedon's rewrites over Zack Snyder come into play and while my opinion of the former has soured in recent times, most of the humour does work in the movie's favour and helps to make the team more joyful. I'll admit there are some bits that seem forced but overall, it adds a lot of levity to proceedings and after critics going after previous movies for not having enough humour, it's a tad hypocritical of them to pick the movie apart for injecting some lighter moments into proceedings.

In a lot of ways though, this movie does feel like the ending of a chapter though. If rumours are to be believed, we might be getting a new Caped Crusader in later installments of the franchise and even this movie hinted at Bruce struggling a little bit over the alien threat at times. However, Affleck acquits himself well in this movie but it's really Gadot, Miller and Cavill that are the standouts of the team though both Momoa and Fisher are also on fine form.

Regardless of critical bashing, this is a movie that justifies it's existence as well as a potential sequel to boot. I want to see more of this team along with hinted other members joining up as well. This movie blended both humour and the danger well and made me root for each team member as well. There needs to be another outing for them.

- Post Credit 1: Superman and The Flash having a race, which is played for laughs. We don't get to see who wins though.
- Post Credit 2: Lex Luthor escaping prison and meeting up with Deathstroke (Joe Manganiello) to set up his own little Injustice League.
- While Iris (Kiersey Clemons) was cut from the movie in order to make the thing two hours, JK Simmons appeared as Commissioner Gordon. We also got some great snarky humour counrtesy of Alfred in a few scenes.
- There's a few Easter Eggs in this movie, including Green Lanterns and Shazam parts, which should nicely set up some future movies.
- Standout music: Sigrid's Everybody Knows, Junkie XL's Come Together, Danny Elfman's Batman theme, John Williams Superman theme, most of the score music was pretty on point to be honest.
- Chronology: I think a year has passed since Batman V. Superman. We had a lot of the action in Gotham, Metropolis, Central City, Iceland and Russia as well as Paris too for scenes.

I'm not going to pretend that Justice League is the best superhero movie ever made or that it's even the DCEU's best effort either. It has it's flaws, which I've already pointed out but the good far outweighs the bad and for me, it's a successful attempt of bringing some of the franchise major's heroes together and it's deserving of a fair chance and a sequel in my opinion. It also feels like the end of one chapter for the DCEU but not the end in itself. This movie might be far from perfect but it's nowhere near as deserving of the bile it's unfortunately generated and this movie itself did display that it's taken previous criticism on board and is trying to find a compromise without losing it's identity for the most part. That in itself deserves credit.

Rating: 8 out of 10

Thursday, November 16, 2017

My Review of Legends Of Tomorrow's 3x06: "Helen Hunt"

Written by Keto Shimizu & Ubah Mohamed
Directed by David Geddes

Sara: "Everyone put on your best digs because we are going to save Hollywood."

The timing for this episode in light of so many scandals at the moment is certainly interesting. What happens when you take one of the most legendary historical female figures, add some 1930's Hollywood glamour and sexism and then throw the Legends and a few baddies into the mix? The answer is another gem of an episode.

For weeks, the title for this episode somewhat confused me and while there was no reference to the Mad About You actress, the Helen of the piece did however come from Troy, having been displaced into Hollywood and suddenly thrust into the spotlight overnight with Damien Darhk as her agent for good measure.

Every week this show pulls something off that's so mad it shouldn't work but yet it does and here was no exception. Bar Paly herself was pretty spot on casting for Helen Of Troy and played the role with the right amount of sympathy for the character as Helen was desperate not to go back to her own time while at the same time bonding with the Legends, mostly Zari throughout the course of this episode.

With a delightfully barbed commentary on Hollywood ethics throughout this one, the episode could've ran the risk of being too preachy but avoided that with some jovial humour, especially with the girls freeing Helen from the sleazy executives while at the same time also coming up with a solution that didn't involve sending her back to Troy.

Instead Zari came up with the brilliant idea of sending Helen to Themyscira, which now means that Wonder Woman does exist in the Arrow universe after all, even if we're unlikely to see the character on the small screen any time soon though (still, there's Justice League tomorrow). Zari's overall role in the Helen side of this episode just continued to highlight why she's quickly become a fantastic addition to the series.

As for everything else, we had the delight of a Freaky Friday with Jax and Stein swapping bodies, which got played for laughs but also had a serious undertone to it as well. The addition of the duo helping out Stein's crush, Hedy Lamarr and the episode highlighting the latter's inventive side too was another excellent move on this show's part.

In general though, this episode was pretty exceptional with the female characters. I mean it's always been great with it's female characters but this week, it did feel like they went the extra mile. Along with Sara, Amaya and Zari helping Helen, Hedy solving the body swap with Jax and Stein, the episode also utilized both Eleanor and Kuasa well as Sara discovered the former's connection to Damien while Amaya also learned of her connection with the latter to boot.

- Sara was taken out of commission by Eleanor in this episode, so I guess she'll be sitting most of next week's Grodd adventure out.
- Jax being a fan of the Police Academy movies didn't surprise me but Stein's reaction to it was funny nonetheless. I also hoped that Nate took a shower between scenes this week.
- Damien wanted Sara and the gang to stop interfering with the anachronism, probably for Mallus though.
- Chronology: 1937 Hollywood and 1263 BC on Themyscira.

Helen Hunt was another in a slew of impressive episodes we've had this season. When it comes to female characters, this show has always been great but this episode did a far better job with it's girl power than another show did last week and I loved the mix of Helen and Hollywood as well.

Rating: 8 out of 10

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

My Review of American Horror Story: Cult - Great Again

Written by Tim Minear
Directed by Jennifer Lynch

Ally (to Kai): "There is something more dangerous in this world than a humiliated man. A nasty woman."

The fact that the show waited for the finale to have Ally turn that particular turn of phrase into a moment of female empowerment might have shown some restraint on a season that was as far from restrained when it came to the political commentary this season.

At times, it's even surpassed Supergirl in terms of laying it on a bit thick at times but unlike the latter, it was also able to mine it a little better as Kai's downfall was played out in a manner that felt less eventful for his ego than he probably would've wanted it to be. Ally managed to convince him that Speedwagon (RIP?) framed Winter before she had the FBI put a stop to his night of 100 Tates plan and send him to prison.

I don't think anyone was shocked that prison wouldn't be a deterrent for Kai. It was obviously going to be the perfect breeding ground for another cult, one that he could easily control and Ally was obviously smart enough to see that he would make an attempt of getting even with her. For a woman who spent the first half of the season panicking over clowns, she's certainly come a long way these last four episodes.

I liked that she anticipated that Kai would manipulate someone like Gloria and was smart enough to get the prison officer first. Kai didn't see it coming and it led to his actual death when his misogynistic tirade against Ally during the debate with the other councilman led to Beverly blowing his brains out.

This episode stripped Kai of his dignity and made him suffer for his misogyny in a pretty big way. It also brought the end of his regime while also ending the series with Ally now in a bigger seat of power with the ambiguity of whether or not the SCUM manifesto really will be acted upon. If Ally's learned anything from Kai, it should be that she can't murder everyone who doesn't bend to her will and she's already killed a lot of people the last few episodes.

Funnily enough, I'm actually surprised that Beverly didn't end up being part of her kill ratio. Beverly admitted her role in Ally's early season breakdown and she worked out pretty fast that Ally killed Ivy in revenge of that but instead she ended up being Ally's campaign manager and Kai's killer. I'm not sure if that's enough in itself to redeem Beverly but neither is it a major issue for me as well and I can't really complain, considering that Ally herself has gotten away with multiple murders as well.

- Lana Winters got a mention in this episode but not an appearance. I guess having her play Susan Atkins in the previous episode was enough double duty for Sarah Paulson this season.
- Oz had a plush elephant and mint green cupcakes for his birthday, so he was getting visual reminders of his other mother. I do wonder if he suspects that Ally killed Ivy too.
- No appearance from Lily Rabe or any past murdered character this season. We did get another Manson hallucination though.
- Chronology: Straight to 2018 for most of this episode.

Great Again rounded off what was an initially shaky before becoming brilliant but still pretty full on politically charged season to a brilliant ending. I actually think this is one of the show's strongest finales with both Sarah Paulson and Evan Peters really owning their characters and this season alone along with Adina Porter, so I definitely hope she's back once again and that we won't have to wait too long to know what the next theme will be.

Rating: 9 out of 10

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

My Review of Empire's 4x05: "The Fool"

Written by Janeika James & Jasheika James
Directed by Howie Deutch

Lucious (to Claudia): "Stop calling me Dwight. My name is Lucious."

And he's back people. Well, it only took five episodes and while I was expecting something slightly bigger to have Lucious resurface and Dwight slip from Claudia's grasp but getting a glorified spoof scene from Demi Moore's most infamous movie, Ghost was as good a way to trigger Lucious's memories as anything.

The timing is great for the show as entertaining as Dwight has been, it was time for Lucious to make a return and it's timing for Claudia wasn't great. Her slow but determined campaign to get Dwight to herself came crashing down after they (predictably) had sex following their music/colour/paint session.

Speaking of colours, Claudia well and truly showed her own when she revealed to Lucious that she was interested in writing a book and became visibly angry when Lucious reminded her that he now knew who he was even if Cookie herself was too distracted to actually take that on board. Then again there is next week for Cookie to really process that Lucious is back and it seems that we're not rid of Claudia yet even if her grip on Lucious has diminished.

Of course when the episode wasn't drip feeding us Lucious coming back to the fore, Cookie also had to deal with the board wanting to oust her, so she roped in Eddie to help keep her seat and make some music with Lucious and Jamal. Forrest Whitaker really does class the series up and I do like his interactions with the Lyons so I'm hoping he's going to be around for a bit longer this season.

As for Angelo - anyone else getting bored of this guy now? Like Shyne, he's a character I feel the show could afford to lose and this week, he was even more annoying than the latter. His constant slut shaming remarks to Warren to one side, the vitriol he showed for both Jamal and Hakeem (including getting the latter to punch him) was too much. Like I said, can we just lose him already?

Of course Hakeem responded rashly by trying to run away with Bella, but at least he was stopped by having both Tiana and Cookie working in his best interests while Jamal still couldn't get a clue that Warren is betraying him, even if the latter seems to be showing some genuine feelings for Jamal at this rate.

- Detective Rose managed to play Andre and Shyne off each other this week. Does she know more than she's letting on?
- No Tory or Anika this week. They're also really spacing out Diana's appearances as well.
- Standout music: Hate The Game by Tiana and Do You Remember Me by V. Bozeman.
- Chronology: Not long from where the last episode left off.

The Fool did a good one in bringing Lucious back to the fore and while it's nice he's back, the show really needs to take the likes of Andre and Shyne out of the equation as neither of them add anything to proceedings nowadays.

Rating: 7 out of 10

Saturday, November 11, 2017

My Review of How To Get Away With Murder's 4x07: "Nobody Roots For Goliath"

Written by Daniel Robinson
Directed by Nzingha Stewart

Oliver (to Connor): "I'm sorry. I've been lying to you. We know who killed Wes."

And thanks to this episode, we also know that it's a male victim and right now, there seems to be only two candidates as to whom might be dead by next week's mid-season finale. One candidate would be a bad move on the show's part and the other would be a case of not tapping into some further potential.

The first person the body could be that's been looked over could be Connor. Last season, Wes was killed and it really cemented that even the Keating 5 (now 4) weren't immune to death but after killing Wes off so soon and having his death still drive the narrative of this current season, would they really bump off another main character so soon? Also if Wes's death generated outrage from fans, I'd dread to think what a possible Connor death would do to fans as well.

On the other hand, in the last two episodes, Connor has been ridiculously content. Working with Annalise has given him a spring in his step and things are going so good with Oliver that he tried to propose to the latter before being told about who killed Wes. I don't want to read too much into it but given the way TV works, it might not look good for Connor.

The other possibility though is Simon, whom this week was a little humanised through his interactions with Oliver. We learned this week that he needed the job at Caplan & Gold to prevent him from being deported and despite his hostility towards the Keating 4, he has been nice to Oliver any time they've interacted this season.

In some respects, Simon is likely to be the dead man walking more than Connor as he's a character that's about to get caught up in the gang's scheme against Laurel's father. Despite hating himself for even thinking it, Oliver was willing to throw Simon under the bus and in previous seasons, Oliver never would've done that one. He's become as complicit as the rest of them in his own way.

On the other hand, Asher did do his best to try and act like a moral conscience to the whole scheme as did Frank but both Laurel and Michaela got them on board and with Connor in the know, that just leaves both Bonnie and Annalise (and Isaac) to get roped in as well by next week.

As for the rest of the episode, we saw an interesting dynamic with Annalise's scenes with both Isaac and Jackie as she realised what both of them were like while the class action storyline came to a satisfying enough conclusion as well but it also felt like it was a little rushed so the focus could squarely be on that fateful night.

- Michaela proved her love for Asher by destroying her wedding dress. She would've been better off selling the dress, not dousing it in ketchup.
- Going by this episode, at least we can rule out Asher/Bonnie hooking up and Simon does seem to like flirting with Oliver as well.
- Nate came in handy for one scene with Annalise and Bonnie but other than the show really doesn't know what to do with him any more.
- Chronology: Two days until the events of Live, Live, Live.

Nobody Roots For Goliath would be the calm before the storm but it seems more like it was bringing about the inevitable storm as the gang united in outing Laurel's father as a murderer. With either Connor or Simon likely to be on that operating table, at least it's not long til we find out who the unfortunate victim is.

Rating: 8 out of 10

Friday, November 10, 2017

My Review of Gotham's 4x08: "Stop Hitting Yourself"

Written by Charlie Huston
Directed by Rob Bailey

Nygma: "Winner takes me and featuring your champion, Solomon Grundy."

Oh Ed, I'm actually surprised with that motormouth of yours that someone hasn't actually succeeded in killing you at this rate. Then again, you are the Riddler and plot armour exists for a good reason, even if your attempts of antagonising Oswald from afar were always going to backfire on you.

A part of me wasn't surprised that Nygma would take his grudge out on Penguin by lampooning the shit out of him during the fights in the Narrows and while he might have played his former friend like a certain fella who shall not be named here, the one thing I took out of it was Cory Michael Smith's flair for physical comedy.

The bummer though for me was the fact that Oswald didn't directly confront Ed on his open mocking of him and instead decided to send both the Sirens and Firefly in order to deal with the blabbermouth riddle man as a result.

For Eddie, the worst thing that happened to him as getting tied up and gagged by Selina but other than that, he nearly succeeded in turning Butch/Grundy against Tabitha and thanks to Leslie and Barbara dealing with Firefly and a treacherous Cherry alone, Nygma lives to mock Oswald for another day.

The arc with Nygma has been fun to watch and I quite liked that even when he was being a jackass he actually managed be rather helpful with Leslie. Her decision to defy and turn everyone on Cherry (along with Babs shooting the latter) meant that she now became the leader of the fight clubs and if she can rein Eddie in a little, then Leslie truly might find her calling in the city without having to cross paths with Gordon again.

Speaking of Gordon though, this episode he became Captain and Bullock got a demotion. While I haven't been as invested in their bromance as everyone else, I did feel bad watching the two friends fall apart in this episode but on the other hand, Harvey wasn't the only being dumped by Jim this week. It seems that Sofia too also got the cold shoulder from Jim as he made his annoyance towards her manipulation of his promotion more apparent.

For all of Sofia's strategic moves, it seems that her luck might be running out a little though. This week when Oswald wasn't smart over Ed taking the piss out of him and training up a kid into becoming a future serial killer, he also seemed to be getting a clue that Sofia isn't quite the friend she's making out. I really hope for Sofia's sake she's got a back up plan because she'll probably need it by next week.

- As Nygma dressed up in Oswald's usual look, the latter has been updating it as well. I'm actually starting to miss them interacting now.
- Leslie got to smack Barbara and the latter seemed not disappointed that Butch/Grundy was alive in this episode too. Nygma also referred to Tabitha as Tigress and wore some outfits not dissimilar from Batman Forever.
- No Bruce or Alfred this week.
- Chronology: Not long from where the previous episode left off.

Stop Hitting Yourself was a bit of a fun episode. The Narrows plot could've gone the way all these Fight Club type stories on genre tend to go and be utterly dire but it turned out to be rather entertaining and I'm loving this current Sirens line up as well as Nygma getting some of the lines along with his ass handed to him a little.

Rating: 8 out of 10

Thursday, November 09, 2017

My Review of Legends Of Tomorrow's 3x05: "Return Of The Mack"

Written by Grainne Godfree & Morgan Faust
Directed by Alexandra La Roche

Sara (to Rip): "Do you remember when you told me you had nothing left to teach me?"

Last week: the ET meets Stranger Things homage but this week it's "vampires" and the return of a certain guy who won't stay down in a rather delightful and bonkers episode that also saw the Legends finally made away that Mallus is going to be an ongoing problem for them, but only because Rip didn't have a choice in telling them.

While the show has survived and even thrived without Rip and Sara continues to prove why she's a better leader than Oliver/Barry/Kara combined, I am also glad that the show isn't a 100% done with him even if by the end of this one, it seems like Sara and the rest of the Legends (and even the Time Bureau) might well be.

Taking the action into 1895 Victorian London due to Nate looking for outliers, the main plot revolved around men being kidnapped and drained of their blood in order to raise Damien Darhk from the dead and of course, Nate ended up being "vampire" bait if not actually drained himself. This coupled with Mick's previously unknown obsession with vampire slaying added to the comedy of an episode that took some serious turns.

First of all, this Mallus threat is emerging as the most compelling of the main baddies in the CW DC shows at the moment. While it does seem like this universe might be overly relying on Damien (this is literally the third time he's either been the Big Bad or in a group of them), the addition of his daughter Eleanor, along with Kuasa does show that Mallus is smart in who they're recruiting even if they're also giving me a Great Intelligence vibe.

Speaking of Eleanor, the episode never reveals that she's Damien's daughter but with Courtney Ford's casting (she's also Brandon Routh's real life wife) that cat was already out of the bag. I enjoyed her scenes with Zari and along with Kuasa, I'm glad that the show is adding more female antagonists into the mix. Plus it really does seem like she's pretty similar to her father in a lot of ways.

Keeping with Zari, this episode confronted the notion of her wanting to save her brother head on and also used it as a means of getting Eleanor to steal Zari's totem as well before the latter reclaimed it. Three episodes in and Zari is working out well for them and I am loving the friendship/connection they're building between her and Amaya as well.

Another thing I loved about this episode was the fact that Stein had more to do as well. First of all, one of his ancestors was responsible for Nate getting kidnapped while present Stein realised what Jax and Ray were doing and although initially angry, he also understood why Jax wanted to help him get back home. The show's continuing strength is how it's mixes up the character interactions and there was plenty of that this week. Also, it really is dawning on me that Stein won't be on the Waverider much longer and that's a bit sad, but not if he gets a happy ending though.

- We got a cameo from Curtis this week, who also told Ray and Jax about Damien just as Sara, Rip and Nate discovered the body. Oh and Rip had way too much with the Sherlock references. Ava also seems to warming to Sara as well.
- Vampire connections: Dominic Purcell appeared in one of the Blade movies, Mick was reading Dracula, the actress playing Eleanor has been in The Vampire Diaries and True Blood and Nate outed himself as a Twilight fan.
- Standout music: I'll give you three guesses. No, I'll do one better .... - who'd have thought that Damien was a 90's r'n'b fan?
- Chronology: 1895 Victorian London.

Return Of The Mack continues the fun streak the show has been having this season but at the same time, it really went out of it's way to advance the Mallus plot, add Damien and Eleanor in the mix and show us why Sara has become a better captain than Rip as well.

Rating: 9 out of 10

Wednesday, November 08, 2017

My Review of American Horror Story: Cult - Charles (Manson) In Charge

Written by Ryan Murphy & Brad Falchuk
Directed by Bradley Buecker

Bebe (to Kai): "For thousands of years mankind has built civilization with a single intention: to keep women contained."

And if Kai's misogyny wasn't apparent all season long, then this episode and the trailer for the finale really cemented it all the more. For a penultimate episode, this was pretty strong going as Kai has seemingly escalated into full on paranoia and further members of his dwindling cult ended up being killed in this episode.

Before we get into that - all season long the show has been hyping about Evan Peters playing Charles Manson and after previous episodes going to town with him as Warhol, Jones, Koresh, Applewhite and even Jesus, this was the chance for Peters to shine and to be honest, I thought his take on Charles was merely okay. Not bad but out of all the cult leaders he's portrayed this season, I still think Warhol was the one that he got right.

As Charles, he did a serviceable enough job and I did somewhat like that Charles was a manifestation to highlight Kai's growing madness as he couldn't get solace from seeing Vincent and ended the episode fully convinced that Winter was the mole and as a result, Kai killed his sister in front of his remaining members, falling into Ally's little gaslighting plan of her own.

I can't admit to feeling bad that Winter actually died in this episode, even if her desire to want Kai to see sense about everything was genuine. Ally was right about Winter never taking responsibility for anything and Winter played her role in Kai's dangerous cult being a thing. I get that this episode she tried to amend things with Beverly but it was a case of being too little, too late.

As for Ally, she's gotten better at this game. I'm surprised there wasn't any further continuity with her deception over Oz being Kai's "son" but I did love how she fed into his paranoia and now that she knows Speedwagon was the actual mole, she's got another advantage in her slow burning quest to take down Kai next week.

As for the rest of the episode - it was sad to see Beverly broken but she's also as complicit as Winter, so again my sympathy for her is rather limited while Gary himself ended up getting butchered inside a planned parenthood clinic. The more interesting thing was the fact that Bebe was revealed to be the one to have actually masterminded Kai's cult in the first as well as being his anger management therapist. However she was also another death, this time by Ally who saved Kai from being killed by the OG feminist. Again, another nice twist for the episode.

- The episode opened with an October 2016 flashback where Kai slapped one of Winter's friends and met Bebe in therapy.
- Sarah Paulson, Leslie Grossman, Billy Eichner and Billie Lourd played Manson's acolytes Susan Atkins, Patricia Krenwinkel, Charles "Tex" Watson and Linda Kasabian respectively. Paulson especially needs to play a villain next season. Rachel Roberts however was Sharon Tate.
- Ally now has directly murdered two people that she didn't have to.
- Chronology: Not long since the previous episode left off.

Charles (Manson) In Charge was a good penultimate episode. The flashbacks weren't quite as long as previous flashback episodes have been but they certainly were as effective though. With Kai's cult shrinking, his paranoia growing, it really should be a home stretch for Ally to complete her vengeance.

Rating: 8 out of 10

Tuesday, November 07, 2017

Upside Down Again

And here's a look at some of the shows I've been catching up with in the last few weeks.

Arrow: The first four episodes of the show have been a bit. Aside from the premiere delving into the fallout of the previous finale's explosive ending, I have not missed the flashbacks and cutting away from them has actually helped the show so far. Saying that, I'm not taken with either Rene or Dinah this season, am wary about the return of Olicity but on the other hand, Michael Emerson is already great as Cayden James, the Oliver/William scenes have been decent and Black Siren is far more entertaining to watch than Diggle posing as the Green Arrow or the not so newbies. Swings and roundabouts really.

Once Upon A Time: Five episodes into the latest season and it's clear to me the show ended back in May and what we've got is a very hit miss spin-off in it's place. Getting the negatives out of the way first: Henry/Jacinda's epic romance is a damp squib with neither being well written and Victoria is a pretty poor villain and I miss the gang who are gone, while the ones who've stayed seemed a little lost in this 'requel' to be honest. On the other hand though, the Witch is an interesting would be villain while Tiana, Alice and Drizella are better than expected character but this new curse and location is already losing momentum and we're not even half way into the season, which is a worrying sign. This season hasn't been terrible but it's undeniably lacking something though.

Stranger Things: Quick note - I have only watched the first episode of Season 2 so far and between the controversies the show is generating both on and off the camera and being swamped with other shows, I might take my time with this one. Anyways one episode in and things are off to an interesting enough start. We've got new characters like Max, Bob and Billy who seem intriguing enough, the show didn't waste time in reintroducing Eleven into the mix and Will's nightmare about his time in the Upside Down world are being dealt with well enough on screen. So far, a very good start to the new season.

Supergirl: I have to admit the first two episodes this season were okay while episodes 3 and 4, the former exploring J'onn and introducing his father with the latter dealing with a faith cult were stronger efforts. The plus side to this season so far has been the slow introduction of Samantha's Reign arc (though less Ruby would be nice) and Kara snapping out of her Mon El shaped funk for a bit while the imminent Alex/Maggie break up has been a bit more wearing to be honest. Slightly the weakest of the returning CW DC shows so far but yay to more of Lena though.

The Flash: So far, there are a few things really working in this season's favour. First of all, not having a speedster antagonist was really overdue and The Thinker is working out well, despite having yet to properly interact with Barry while the overall lighter tone has been a good thing along with Barry/Iris getting their own issues out of the way first. We've also had Wally exit and Ralph added into the mix as well as Jekyll & Hyde aspect to Caitlin's Killer Frost and more of Cisco/Gypsy in the mix with some decent guest baddies. I'm waiting for something really big to happen yet but other than that, this is an improvement on last season.

- Nathan Parson has been cast as a character named Nick for an arc in Once Upon A Time. We will also be meeting an older version of Robin in later episodes.
- Peyton List will be replacing Maggie Geha as Poison Ivy in the second half of Gotham's fourth season.
- Wentworth Miller is currently filming his final episodes for both Legends Of Tomorrow and The Flash.
- Jesse Rath has been cast as Brainiac 5 for Supergirl. Blake Ritson will also play Brainiac for Krypton.
- Grey's Anatomy's 300th episode will feature Izzie "in spirit".
- Star Trek: Discovery has been renewed for a second season. CBS All Access have also expressed interest in reviving The Twilight Zone for their streaming service.
- Tatiana Maslany, Evan Peters and James Van Der Beek have been cast for Ryan Murphy's 80's LGBT series, Pose, which is currently filming.
- A series adaptation of The Lord Of The Rings could be happening with Amazon.
- FOX have cancelled Wayward Pines after two seasons.
- FOX are also developing a female led 24 spin off series.

Saturday, November 04, 2017

My Review of How To Get Away With Murder's 4x06: "Stay Strong, Mama"

Written by Morenike Balogun
Directed by Cherie Nowlan

Isaac (to Annalise): "Where the hell are you? She's awake. Answer the damn phone."

Well, it's certainly hotting up with this episode. In the space of 45 minutes, we got a better look into why Isaac is so fixated with Annalise while Laurel's mission to avenge Wes might also have contributed to Michaela and Asher breaking up among other things. This was certainly a busy one alright.

Isaac has seemed a little off and overly involved in Annalise since we've first met him and his attempts of getting her to open up about Sam and the baby she lost certainly make more sense now that we know he's lost a child of his own. I should've realised that the scenes with his own therapist Jackie would reveal that but by the end, it did come across as a genuine surprise.

Also surprising is the fact that not only is Jackie Isaac's therapist but also his ex-wife and the mother of the child they lost together. It was a nice twist moment as the episode made some uncomfortable parallels between Isaac and Annalise, which is why the latter seems so fixated on her when he wasn't also trying to get Bonnie to get professional help as well.

Keeping with the mystery angle though, we can now cross Annalise off the list as the last moment revealed that she was in the shower washing blood but with two episodes til the mid series finale, there's also Connor and Laurel's baby that has still yet to be counted for.

Speaking of Connor, I think this was his best episode so far this season. No moping or being nasty to people, just him and Annalise working together over the class action suit, helping Claudia's family keep her mother's house, shaming Denver's office and eating and confiding in each other. Given that they're my two favourite characters, every scene with them was a joy to watch this week. And we got a nice lap dance scene with Oliver in the mix too.

As for the rest of the episode, Laurel is overly pushing everyone this week and when it turned out that her father was making some deal public, it didn't stop Laurel from asking even more of Oliver and Michaela than she's done this season. I can see why Michaela given her growing closeness to Tegan doesn't want to ruin her life or career and even Oliver has plenty to lose himself.

However, Laurel's actions are already causing damage. You can tell whatever arrangement Frank and Bonnie have will end when she become privy of Frank sniffing after Laurel and this week Asher and Michaela broke up when he realised what his girlfriend and Oliver were up with Laurel and he went to comfort Bonnie, who was also in her own mess this week. Out of everyone, Connor had the least amount of angst this week.

- Tegan is gay and I have a feeling we're going to see either her seduce Michaela (or vice versa) within the next two episode.
- The teddy bear spy cam - really, Asher? That threw me a little. Laurel is still hiding her pregnancy from her father and Frank passed his test.
- Standout music: Veko's Zola Jesus at the end of this episode.
- Chronology: A week until the mid-season finale in the show's timeline.

Stay Strong, Mama builds up nicely with it's main plots bubbling away. Isaac and Tegan have been two great new additions to the series that their scenes have enhanced both Annalise and Michaela's characters along with adding to the general mystery as well. As for where Connor and Laurel's baby are, we're not long off from knowing now.

Rating: 8 out of 10

Friday, November 03, 2017

My Review of Gotham's 4x07: "A Day In The Narrows"

Written by Peter Blake
Directed by John Behring

Harvey (to Gordon): "I'm ordering you to stand down."
Oswald: "Finally, a good idea!"

Well, in theory not listening to bull in a china shop thinking Gordon would be a good idea but in reality, it seems that him not taking orders from Bullock is what led to the day being saved from Pyg's latest scheming as Gordon went rogue - yet again in order to do the right thing.

Two episodes in and Pyg is definitely emerging as a brilliant villain to me. Though there's a part of me that wishes he'd turn on Gordon too, I can see why Pyg is a little determined to instead try and mold James into his own image, even if it's a losing battle for him. As a baddie though, he continues to be eerie as anything and despite having very little screen time in the episode itself, he certainly knew how to make his presence felt.

I loved the hiding in plain sight interaction he had with Gordon. It was clever and nicely done and I did like the back and forth between the GCPD and Oswald's Headhunter trying to catch Pyg while at the same time, falling into his trap quite so easily. By Gordon saving the day, it's given Pyg his own little victory for now.

As for Jim, he was pretty annoying in this episode and he could've made more of an effort to try and understand why Bullock had been on Oswald's payroll but on the other hand, I don't think Bullock did himself much favours this week. It's a little disappointing seeing the two of them fall out and having Oswald encourage with his own meddling this week.

Speaking of Oswald, he really doesn't tolerate failure anymore does he? While the Headhunter was an okay stand in for an absent Zsasz this week, even I found it a bit OTT that Oswald just randomly killed him by the end of this one. I did however find his brief interactions with Sofia and the kids this week rather amusing.

In other fun stuff this week, this episode gave us the formation of the Sirens as Barbara, Selina and Tabitha went from nearly going their own separate into forming their crime group and taking out a biker gang as a direct result. While this little group could do with adding Ivy into the mix, I am glad to see the Sirens storyline actually start to play and hopefully it's one the show can really have fun with during the season.

As for Bruce, he really went for the billionaire playboy route this week. Getting away from Alfred, hooking up with Grace, befriending a nicer (and recast) Tommy Elliott (Gordon Winarick) and even buying a posh club and partying the night away. You could see at the end that Bruce was faking it but at least he's convincing his new friends otherwise though.

- Given the title of this episode, you'd think we would've had some stuff involving Leslie, Nygma, Grundy and Cherry. Bit odd they sat out this episode.
- Harper seems to be on Gordon's side, which seems a little different from her previous appearances.
- No Ivy, Lucious, Leslie, Grundy or Nygma this week.
- Chronology: Not long from where the previous episode left off.

A Day In The Narrows didn't entirely live up to it's title as such but in terms of cementing Pyg as a threat, causing more dissent between Gordon and Bullock, setting up the Sirens and exploring Bruce's party boy side, the episode was a success.

Rating: 7 out of 10

Thursday, November 02, 2017

My Review of Legends Of Tomorrow 3x04: "Phone Home"

Written by Matthew Maala
Directed by Kevin Mock

"Good morning, good morning. It’s great to stay up late.Good morning, good morning to you" - Singing In The Rain

Halloween was so two days ago but seeing as this episode aired on the night in question and was set during the event, my remaining spirit for the occasion can come out to play with this review. Last week ended on the cliffhanger with young Ray meeting a new friends, while this week opened up with being shot by a bunch of agents.

Even with a death hanging over his head, the current Ray can't shift his enthusiasm for wanting to help Zari to get to know her fellow teammates better by playing the trust fall/two truths and a lie game but both were pushed aside to stop Ray from actually dying in 1988 when the young lad befriended a baby Dominator and opened himself up to danger with that decision.

Shamelessly lifting from both ET and Stranger Things, this episode gave us a hell of an insight into Ray's childhood as he was a lonely nerdy kid who didn't really have any friends and was picked on for his smarts. However with an anachronism looming about, this little Ray was also stealing candy bars, playing truant and doing a little arson on the side too.

On paper this episode could've been a bit of a disaster area but the casting for younger Ray is one of the best I've seen for the show. Not only was the young actor a good match for Brandon Routh but you really got the sense that the kid would grow up to be the ever optimistic Ray Palmer that we've grown to love over the last three seasons in the Arrow universe.

The plotline with Gumball the baby Dominator was cheesy but it really did pull at the heartstrings. I got why younger Ray was so keen to protect the baby at all costs and I even found the reunion between Gumball and his mother rather sweet and that was despite the fact that the latter almost seduced and killed Nate during the episode. Again, Nate was a bit of a low point in another great episode. His attempts of making Amaya jealous were just annoying at times here.

Equally as important, the episode really threw Zari into the thick of things as the latest member of the Waverider. When she wasn't sussing everyone's motives out (except Sara's), she was the one who got through to Ray's younger self and her exasperation with him and getting used to actually being able to time travel was amusing to watch. Two episodes in and she's already a natural member of the gang.

As for Stein, he spent most of this episode being secretive, only for Mick and Jax to realise that he was just in a rush to see his grandchild being born. It was a nice enough subplot but it's also a stark reminder that we're losing Stein soon and it seems that they're also paving the way for Jax to continue to be Firestorm by himself as well.

- Seeing a bunch of agents dancing to Singing In The Rain (Ray's favourite movie) was hilarious. Also funny was Mick's declaration of love for Fiddler On The Roof as well. Musical episode anyone?
- Lily called her baby Ronnie, which was a nice touch. Ray's twin brother, Sidney was mentioned but we didn't actually see him in this one.
- Lovely moment with the whole gang going trick or treating with little Ray. We also got Sara's new White Canary costume and Zari's 80's looking outfit for good measure.
- Chronology: Halloween 1988 Ivy Town for this episode.

What an absolute joy of an episode. Yes, Phone Home was cheesy as hell, shamelessly ripping off what I mentioned earlier in the review and did nothing to advance the Mallus storyline but the episode made me smile from start to finish. I really do love this unashamedly cheesy show.

Rating: 9 out of 10

Wednesday, November 01, 2017

My Review of American Horror Story: Cult - Drink The Kool-Aid

Written by Adam Penn
Directed by Angela Bassett

Kai (to Ally/Oz): "Now we can be a real family."

Holy shit, they really went there, didn't they? All season long I've been reading theories about Kai actually being Oz's father (and clearly the writers were aware they'd be a thing as well) and this episode subverts the idea by actually having Ally trick Kai into believing that he actually has fathered a messiah child. Interesting move there, Ally.

Ally this week really upped her game. I did think for all of her talk in the previous episode that she'd crack and it certainly looked like she was going to due Kai's kool-aid session but it turns out that this steelier version of Ally might actually be here to stay after all and it wasn't just Kai who was flustered by Ally this week.

Nope, Ivy really didn't see being poisoned by her wife coming a mile off and she really should've done. Ivy was stupid enough to actually challenge Ally's newfound confidence and came a cropper when Ally calmly revealed that she had given her arsenic along with the pasta and wine for dinner. There's a part of me that should feel a bit bad for Ivy but she somewhat had this coming to her and she won't be missed, though I'd be fine with Alison Pill in another role next season though.

Ally being on fire this week was a good thing because none of the other female characters were. When Ivy wasn't blasting Ally, she was worrying over Winter, who spent most of the episode finally realising that her brother is actually deranged when she wasn't getting bitch slapped by Ally and Beverly for good measure.

As for Kai, well he's definitely become victim of his own hype. He played the kool aid game to test his cult's loyalty and had one of his cute/bland frat boy followers killed when the latter showed some semblance of sanity. Not to mention the fact that he lost his shit when Oz corrected him, only to completely believe Ally's story of actually fathering the boy in the first place. Either way, like all cult leaders, Kai's hubris is going to be his undoing and with two episodes left, it's about damn time.

- Evan Peters had the job of playing both David Koresh and Jim Jones in flashbacks and even Jesus Christ, which made me burst out laughing. We also saw Marshall Applewhite too.
- Vincent/Rudy has been added to his parents bedroom along with Ivy's corpse. If I were Winter, I'd definitely be worried about being next now.
- I'm guessing Wikipedia will be added to the list of sites that Kai will now be trying to ban before he's killed, right?
- Chronology: Not long from where the previous episode left off.

Drink The Kool Aid was another great episode and while I've missed not seeing her this season, it's nice that Angela Bassett came back to direct the episode. We're seeing the beginning of the end for Kai and his insane cult and the emerging of a strong, more ruthless Ally is also fun to watch.

Rating: 8 out of 10