Monday, April 30, 2018

Batman 66 - Episodes 29-32 Reviews

A two parter with the most eloquent of baddies and another reveling in the glory of a former medium. Creatively this made for some interesting episodes.

1x29: The Bookworm Turns

The opening scene for this episode is rather daring as for a brief moment we see that Commissioner Gordon was killed. Of course, it didn't last long when he showed up alive and O'Hara's reaction to this is particularly noteworthy. The villain of the piece for this two parter is none other than the Bookworm. Played by Roddy McDowell and introduced into this particular series, he's easily one of the most verbose baddies the show has had and some sensitive to the fact that he lacks an original thought. He does however have a good scheme by using his accomplice, Lydia knock out Robin for the latter to end up bound in a clock tower as part of the cliffhanger. There's a brief cameo from Jerry Lewis to spot as well with this one. 7/10

1x30: While Gotham City Burns

The team up with Batman and O'Hara at the start to save Robin was a nice mix up in dynamics as was the continuation of Bookworm's scheming and the rather public use of a giant cook book as part of things. I liked the Bookworm's attempts of using the Dynamic Duo in his own bid to snag a priceless book and it was almost a pity that he was a one-off villain here, though he has recently appeared in the Batman 66 comics and Batman Vs. Two Face. Still though, this was a fantastic story for a unique one off foe. 7/10

1x31: Death In Slow Motion

There are moments in this show that are so ridiculous, they're utterly sublime and this episode really showed that in it's opening scene. Having the Riddler dressed as Charlie Chaplin and re-enacting a silent movie with his henchmen to disrupt a film festival held by famous silent film collector Mr. Van Jones, and steal the box-office receipts. It's a brilliant plan along with the Riddler also forcing both Batman and Robin to star in their own silent movie while disrupting a Temperance Party and getting everyone to fight with each other. That along with a rather choppy cliffhanger for Robin and this episode is a blast to watch. 9/10

1x32: The Riddler's False Notion

After such a brilliant opening part to this one, the second part really did maintain the fun here. The fakeout with Robin nearly being sawed in half along with him dangling from a ledge - well, it's a good thing the Boy Wonder takes care of his teeth, considering they played a big part in his rescue for this one. The reveal of Riddler actually working to make a silent film with Van Jones was a nice twist along with his failed attempt to rob the guy before the Dynamic Duo defeated him. There's also a nice scene at the end where even Aunt Harriet gets a nice birthday present for good measure while Commissioner Gordon got a brief trip into the Batcave. 9/10

Next blog I'll delve into Fine Finny Fiends/Batman Makes the Scenes and Shoot a Crooked Arrow/Walk the Straight and Narrow

Friday, April 27, 2018

My Review of Empire's 4x14: "False Face"

Written by Diane Ademu-John & Janeika James & Jasheika James
Directed by Millicent Shelton

Cookie (to Lucious): "We gon get rid of Eddie together."

Well, this episode certainly tried it's best to undo a problem such as Eddie Barker with Lucious going it alone at first and then letting Cookie help and while both attempts were pretty decent, it's no wonder that Eddie was still hard to beat.

The first attempt with getting Eddie's ex-wives - Monique, Celeste and Giselle all in the same room to stop him from wooing Edna was a nice ploy. Then there was Lucious getting to Shyne first before Eddie could get the latter to turn on Lucious, which was also a nice ploy. The third attempt saw Cookie do some digging into Eddie's mentoring and unveiling his penchant for feeding his stars their addiction and that should've been the killer blow to him. Except it wasn't.

Nope, instead the episode ended with Eddie throwing his lot in with Anika with the promise of her becoming CEO if they succeed in ousting the Lyons from Empire for good. The last four episodes have been great with Anika not factoring into things and this latest team up just seems to cement the fact that the show has no idea what to do with Anika other than have her scheme against the Lyons.

Although this season won't do it, it'd be nice if we actually lost Anika by the finale but we won't. Eddie on the other hand is on borrowed time, which makes this team up with Anika even more pointless to watch. Also despite her protests, Anika probably will be Mrs Barker 4 before the season ends as well. Assuming anyone cares, which I certainly don't.

As for the rest of the episode, Cookie had some great moments here. Whether it was communicating with Lucious on how to deal with Eddie or taking Tiana down a few pegs (which was certainly needed), Cookie truly delivered on the smack downs with this episode. However her best moment was reaching out to Poundcake's daughter, Maya even if she wasn't successful in getting the latter to see her dying mother though.

We also got some more prison flashbacks, only this time it was with Cookie getting a visit from her estranged mother, Renee. We got some great acting from both Taraji P. Henson and Alfre Woodard in those scenes and the best part is that next week's trailer showed us that we'll be seeing Renee in the present day. I'm not surprise Renee doesn't like Lucious though.

- Jamal castigated Tory for her drug use while at the same time, the two of them roped in Preacher Azal to help with their music while Hakeem hooked up with Tiana and Andre organised an event for Hakeem.
- Now that Anika has crawled out of the woodwork, can we see Warren as well again?
- Standout music: Tiana's Sweat and Preacher Azal's Handle The Heat. Also a good use of En Vogue's Don't Let Go and Ol Dirty Bastard/Kelis's Got Yo Money.
- Chronology: Not long from where Of Hardiness Is Mother left off.

False Face made some strides in trying (if also failing) to take Eddie out of the equation and there certainly wasn't a lack of trying on Lucious's part there. The prison flashbacks were great as were most of the other subplots but I do not care for Anika being brought back into the mix.

Rating: 8 out of 10

Wednesday, April 25, 2018

My Review of Empire's 4x13: "Of Hardiness Is Mother"

Written by Dianne Houston & Carlito Rodriguez
Directed by Craig Brewer

Cookie (to Lucious): "I hate to break it to you, but everybody at this table at one point wanted you dead."

With Andre being the only one to actually try and go through with it though. I can see Cookie's point of view here, but I also think Lucious has every right to be mad at Andre for the damage he caused. However Cookie's influence still overruled and Lucious and Andre did actually work together in order to stop Eddie's own little takeover plans.

I did like that when Lucious failed to charm wife 2 Celeste that it was Andre who was able to get through to her and I also liked the stark conversation they later had when Andre pointed out Lucious's ruthlessness as well. I think this episode did succeed in making some headway with the two of them, even if there's still some tension between them.

When Cookie wasn't trying to get Lucious and Andre onside and scorning over having to wear a heart monitor, there was a great subplot here involving Poundcake. This season really has had fun with the prison flashbacks with Cookie and here, we saw that Poundcake's deal with Burleson didn't last long when the latter ended up in jail again.

In the present day, Cookie realised that Poundcake was dying and made it her mission to try and find the latter's daughter, leading to her also dropping a grenade on Burleson's wife for good measure. Sub plot wise, this was pretty interesting stuff to watch and it did tie in nicely to Cookie wanting to be on more equal terms with Lucious as well.

As for the rest of the episode, we saw Jamal experimenting with a new sound that didn't seem to go down well with his fans while Eddie's influence on Tiana had the latter bringing out her worst diva behaviour. Hakeem on the other hand, played mentor to a white rapper named Blake and to be honest, their rap battle in the studio was the highlight of the episode. I also found it amusing to learn that Chet Hanks who played Blake is actually Tom Hanks son as well.

- Tori is back on the drugs, even though her observations on Tiana were rather spot on.
- Going by next week's trailer, it looks like we're going to be seeing Cookie's mother in flashbacks.
- Standout music: Hakeem & Blake Battle by er, Hakeem and Blake, Jamal and Tori's They Don't Know and Tiana's Unforgettable.
- Chronology: Not long since Sweet Sorrow left off.

Of Hardiness Is Mother is a strong episode. Not the show at it's best but engaging enough nonetheless with some nicely done scenes with Cookie and Poundcake, Lucious and Andre and Hakeem and Blake to measure. It does seem like the Eddie plot will intensify a bit more though, which is good as it might be a bit too late in the game to add another antagonist into the mix this season.

Rating: 7 out of 10

Friday, April 20, 2018

My Review of Gotham's 4x19: "To Our Deaths And Beyond"

Written by Peter Blake & Iturri Sosa
Directed by Scott White

Ra's (to Bruce): "Today is not the day I die."

To be fair, having Bruce be the one to kill you in the first place always seemed like a flawed idea, Ra's. What I will somewhat commend the show was the restraint they took in resurrecting him, even if the character has popped up in flashbacks and dream sequences and we've had the likes of Sofia, Jerome/Jeremiah and Poison Ivy to keep us entertained over the last few months.

Having Bruce's blood be the thing to bring Ra's back did make some sense but it also felt a rather quick way to have him re-enter the fray and give us a doom laden portent of future events as well. So we know in the next month that a fire is going to cleanse/destroy the city and Bruce will emerge a Dark Knight, which has been the subtitle for this entire season. We still however don't know if these remaining three episodes will be our last for this show or if there's more to come.

What we do know is that Ra's seems to like Bruce enough to want him to remain alive and throughout this episode he also rigorously tested Barbara's resolve, forcing the latter to step out (temporarily) from her narcissism and prove herself worthy enough not to killed. Barbara might have lost the Demon's Head but she certainly reaffirmed her relationship with Tabitha and managed to retain her loyal Sisters of the League, which was an achievement in itself.

The focus on Barbara and Bruce this week meant also testing Selina's own loyalty issues. Here she showed that she was more focused on the bigger picture and actually was more sensible than both Bruce and Barbara at times. I like that Selina was the voice of reason here while the team up between Alfred and Tabitha while acquiring Ra's's knife was one of the funniest moments from the episode. I can't be the only one hoping those two work together again, right?

As for the rest of the episode, nice little subplot with Ed and Leslie this week. I like that Ed has realised that Leslie is using him but at the same time made her aware that something else has awoken in her, given her recent shooting of Sofia Falcone. While I don't ship the pairing, I don't hate it either and I do like that Ed initially looked like he was about to betray Leslie before turning the tables on both Oswald and Grundy.

For Nygmobblepot fans, I imagine this episode might have stung a little but in terms of betrayals, even Oswald should be able to get over this one, considering his own plans to betray Nygma beforehand. Even Ed himself told Oswald he held no grudge with him at all, so maybe next season they'll work together on something without a betrayal in the mix.

- Speaking of Sofia, is she going to play any kind of role in the next three episodes or do they plan to wake up her next season, assuming we get one?
- Leslie might want to come up with better solutions because some of the people in the Narrows clearly need to do something more productive than betting on cockroach eating contents.
- Do we know if Gordon and company have made any effort to try and apprehend the likes of Scarecrow, Tetch and Firefly?
- Chronology: Not long from where That's Entertainment left off.

To Our Deaths And Beyond certainly felt a bit of a filler episode compared to the previous batch of episodes we've had in the second half of this season. Still though the main plots were entertaining enough and the finale seems to be set up rather nicely as well, even if we have a two week break before the ball starts rolling there.

Rating: 7 out of 10

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Batman 66 - Episodes 25-28 Reviews

A great selection of episodes as the Joker impersonates royalty and one of my favourite original baddies makes their debut as well.

1x25: The Joker Trumps An Ace

A few senseless crimes here and there is nothing too new for the Joker but this time around, it seems that he wanted to go a little bigger with his escapades and befuddle the Dynamic Duo. We had him shrinking vans seemingly only then to snatch the Maharajah of Nimpah as well for good measure. This one ends on a pretty good cliffhanger when the Joker's latest accomplice tries to appeal to the Clown Prince to spare Batman and Robin, only for the latter to put them in a gas chamber. 7/10

1x26: Batman Sets The Pace

I liked the way both Batman and Robin got out of this particular bind but the highlight of this episode was of course, the Joker trying to pass himself off as the Maharajah of Nimpah in order to swindle money out of the Gotham City State Bank in order to discredit Batman before the latter and Robin were able to work out what the Joker was planning all along. It's not a classic two parter for the Clown Prince but it's a lot of fun nonetheless. 7/10

1x27: The Curse Of Tut

As much as I love this show's take on our classic villains, it also truly excelled itself with it's own creations and none better was timid professor, William Omaha McElroy turned criminal King Tut - having suffered a blow to the head and convinced that he's now the former Egyptian Pharaoh. In this first part, Tut has his acolytes making doom laden announcements in the park while also successfully managing to kidnap Bruce Wayne, who ends the episode bound and gagged to a gurney and doomed to go over a cliff. 8/10

1x28: The Pharaoh's In A Rut

The second part of this excellent story maintains the quality of the first part as Bruce saves himself but Tut doesn't hold off in arranging to have the billionaire playboy kidnapped again. Only this time, it's Batman who ends up being captive to Tut along with a fallen Nefertiti. Both of them are put through the Pebble Torture resulting in Batman having to do the Bat Dance while Tut himself is eventually reverted back to his original personality. It's easy to see why this character would later to go on to influence the similarly themed Maxie Zeus for the comics but this show got there first and while I like Zeus, Tut is just that bit more interesting, especially when you take Victor Buono's larger than life performance into account. 8/10

Next blog I'll delve into The Bookworm Turns/While Gotham City Burns and Death In Slow Motion/The Riddler's False Notion

Monday, April 16, 2018

My Review of Empire's 4x12: "Sweet Sorrow"

Written by Eric Haywood & Jamie Rosengard
Directed by Eric Haywood

Lucious: "I love you."
Cookie: "I love you too, that's all that matters."

I've seen a lot of praise for this particular episode and having just watched it there, I can see why. The main plot revolved around Cookie, having seen her suffering a heart attack with Lucious trying and mostly failing to get her to take things easy and for Cookie to do her best to maintain her independence.

It was nice to see Lucious in the caregiver position this time around, considering we had Cookie in that role for him earlier in the season. I did like that he brought in both Carol and Candace to look after their sister when he wasn't around. The show doesn't give us enough scenes with Cookie and her sisters but when it does, they're gems and seeing the three of them squabbling was very entertaining without it going overboard.

More importantly, it showed us that heart attacks run in the Holloway family as the ladies father had also suffered one when they were younger and it also set up the seeds for Cookie and her sisters mother to be introduced in a later episode. We already know that Alfre Woodard will be playing the role towards the end of the season, so I like the set up here for her impending arrival.

Meanwhile following Andre's revelation about causing the car bomb, this episode did have him on the outs with his family but at the same time, he was also the one to expose Eddie's takeover plan to both Lucious and Cookie. I did like that Eddie actually admitted his treachery to both Cookie and Lucious before they ran him out of the company. Of course, I don't think this will be the last we've seen of Eddie this season though.

As for Jamal, his attempts of cultivating good PR for himself went south pretty fast but I did like that he was supportive for Becky and her decision to have a termination. I also that J Pop was written pretty sympathetically and stepped up for Becky as well. You know an episode is on to a winner when the B-plot is as enjoyable to watch as the main plot.

- Jamal was interviewed by Good Morning America's Robin Roberts while Eddie and his second wife, Celeste interacted with Lupe Fiasco at the start of the episode.
- I wonder if Candace and Andre have ever talked about marrying spouses who are a white. Both Cookie and Carol teased Candace again over that.
- Standout music: Tiana and Hakeem's Big Shoes.
- Chronology: From where Without Apology left off.

Sweet Sorrow excelled with all the scenes Cookie had with Lucious, Carol and Candace while the Jamal/Becky bits were also effective. I'm intrigued to see how Eddie will also strike back now that the Lyons are aware of his plans and the sooner we see Cookie's mother, the better too.

Rating: 8 out of 10

Friday, April 13, 2018

My Review of Gotham's 4x18: "That's Entertainment"

Written by Danny Cannon
Directed by Nick Copus

Gordon: "It's a long way down. You sure you'll outlive me?"
Jerome: "Oh, I'm sure because I'm more than a man. I'm an idea, a philosophy and I will live on in the shadows of Gotham's discontent. You'll be seeing me soon, Au Revoir."

Last time he was taken out properly, it was in The Last Laugh and back then, Jerome waxed on lyrically about how he'd live on because he was an idea that couldn't be suppressed. This time around, he made sure that his insane legacy would remain in the family as Jeremiah's fate took an exceptionally expected turn in the last scene of this episode.

Unlike some of the more avid fans, I have no issue with Jeremiah actually assuming the role of the Joker but I am surprised that Jerome's potential final act of malice wasn't saved for the finale. Then again, I guess with Gotham's fate lingering in the air, perhaps the showrunners want a Joker hook to help secure them a fifth season but whether or not it works out for them, we won't know until next month.

There is a chance that for now, Jerome might have some life left in him but truth be told, I'm actually hoping his death this time actually sticks. Jerome has been fun to watch as a character but if Jeremiah really is going to step in as the Joker, then Jerome needs to remain dead in order for Cameron Monaghan to help sell the performance as the 'good' twin becoming the city's most iconic and dangerous of criminals.

As for Jerome, I think we all guessed that his hijacking of the festival and demands for both Jeremiah and Bruce was a way to distract Gordon from the main plot of the episode. The laughing gas storyline served a few purposes but mainly it was Jeremiah who really has suffered the worst of it and Oswald got the chance to save the day by actually working with Gordon, even if Jeremiah had spotted his betrayal coming a mile off.

I quite liked the grudging team up with Oswald and Gordon in this episode. The former stopped the city from descending into the brink of madness, if not entirely for selfless reasons while the latter actually got some decent shots into Jerome and even took the latter out. On top of that we also got to see Bruce fighting Firefly for the briefest of moments in this episode as well as Selina stopping by for some birthday cake.

Meanwhile away from the madness of Jerome's latest actions, Barbara found herself getting more and more into being the new Demon's Head while Tabitha's attempts to take some sense into her ended badly for the latter. I'm not surprised that Barbara would believe her own hype but I also don't think Tabitha should be too trusting of those blokes who are claiming to be working for Ras either. Either way, it seems like this storyline will be coming to a head in the next episode.

- Alfred pretty much gave Bruce a proto-Batmobile at the start of this episode.
- We've got a new mayor who managed to survive this episode. Whether he survives the rest of the season will be interesting to see.
- No Leslie, Nygma or Butch/Grundy in this episode.
- Chronology: February 19th, considering that's meant to be Bruce Wayne's actual birthday. The episode didn't seem to specify how old Bruce is meant to be in this episode.

That's Entertainment was certainly entertaining enough, if not as much as the previous two episodes. I get that some fans might not like the Jerome/Jeremiah/Joker twist but after years of skirting around the issue, I'm just glad some proper progress has been made on the matter. Whether it's enough to secure the show a future beyond the four remaining episodes of this season, it's hard to tell though.

Rating: 8 out of 10

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

My Review of Legends Of Tomorrow's 3x18: "The Good, The Bad And The Cuddly"

Written by Marc Guggenheim & Phil Klemmer
Directed by Dermott Downs

Beebo (to Mallus): "Beebo want cuddles."

Now those are three words I didn't expect to be using for a quote for this review. Then again, I also didn't expect that a deadly demon such as Mallus (pronounced Malice) would be taken out by the Blue God himself, Beebo in deluxe formation but at the same time, this is the sort of madness I've come to love with this show as well.

Trading Zambesi for the Wild West meant we got to see Jonah Hex once again but he was the tip of the iceberg for allies for the Legends in this finale. Having Jax, an alternate Kuasa, Helen of Troy, Ava and Nora after Ray/Damien went back in time and the latter chose to sacrifice himself to save his daughter proved to be a great thing when Mallus himself rounded up some vikings, Romans and pirates to help deal with the Legends as well.

Of course the use of the Totems was going to be Mallus's undoing but having Sara, Mick, Amaya, Nate, Zari and Wally merge together as a giant Beebo though still has to be seen to believed. Never have I see an epic battle in a comic book show and not been able to keep a straight face and yet, it was a satisfying way to actually take Mallus out of the equation once and for all.

As the season has progressed, the Totems have been so instrumental and Mallus has grown as a threat but so have the Legends. The amount of people who were willing to fight for them and Ava's rousing speech as well showed that they've truly grown as a team. Even Rip's sacrifice at the start of the episode as well was a testament to his belief in the band of misfits. I didn't expect Rip to die in this one but he wasn't the only exit we got here.

Two deaths, both for love with Rip and Damien to one side, this episode also had Amaya go back to Zambesi and while I knew it was inevitable, I was a little surprised that Nate didn't go with her as well. I do hope this isn't the last we've seen of Amaya though, even if it's unlikely she'll be a regular again next season. While it took me a while to warm to her and Nate as a couple, this season did sell the pairing better and I loved Amaya's interactions with Sara and Zari as well. Even though Ava will be a regular next season, we do need another regular female character on board the Waverider.

As for the last moment of the episode, trust John Constantine to show up with a demon's head to warn the gang they've botched up again. Seeing Gary dressed as Constantine was a little bit surreal though Zari's comparison to an orangey menace made me laugh. Now how John will work as a regular next season, I don't but it's definitely clear the supernatural content is going to be upped a bit when the show comes back.

- It's been five years since Jax last saw the Legends. He's now a father. I'm glad he came back for this one. I also found the flirting with Zari and Jonah pretty sweet as well.
- Calling it now: we're going to get a Ray/Nora romantic pairing next season. I'm also wondering if Constantine and Gary have a thing on the side too.
- The gang arguing about how to pronounce Mallus's name and the latter's irritation over them getting it wrong.
- Chronology: 1942 & 1992 Zambesi, 1874 Salvation and 2018 Aruba.

The Good, The Bad And The Cuddly was a sublime way to end this season. It probably could've done with a few more minutes but it was action packed, emotional, funny, clever and surreal in equal measures. We should all be praising Beebo that this show has gotten a fourth season.

Rating: 9 out of 10

Saturday, April 07, 2018

My Review of Empire's 4x11: "Without Apology"

Written by Matt Pyken & Joshua Allen
Directed by Dianne Houston

Cookie: "I still run this bitch."

Oh Cookie. This week she went from one problem to the next one showing that she really did run both Empire and her family and then the episode ended with her getting a heart attack. Considering everything she's had to deal with since coming out of prison, it's probably surprising that this didn't come much sooner to be honest.

This episode alone, Cookie had a minor problem to deal with in ageing girl group 3 Black Divas who she tried to give a new contract to so they wouldn't cause Empire any bad publicity only for Lucious to nearly ruin her plan before the two of them banded together to actually get the ladies back on board by buying the rival label they were going to sign to.

I liked the focus on the older group and they certainly seemed to be justified in wanting to get a little even with the mistreatment they had experience at Empire. It was also amusing seeing them perform to uninterested people in the mall to getting a spotlight at Leviticus when they decided to play ball with Lucious and Cookie.

However the bigger storyline revolved around Andre finally confessing to his family about his involvement in the car explosion. It was inevitable this would happen and the results were delightfully explosive as Lucious rightfully lost the head with Andre while Hakeem and Jamal were unable to handle their brother's confession.

I didn't however expect the end scene with Cookie having a heart attack though. The scene was nicely shot but also reminded me of something more recent in my own family as well. However I don't think a heart attack will be the thing to take Cookie out of the mix from this show, not for quite a while though.

- Eddie and Wife No 3 are working with that app guy (who was also on Arrow this week) to take over Empire. Eddie also seems a little too interested in Tiana, who sensibly turned down Hakeem's proposal of marriage.
- I liked Jamal and Becky talking about the latter's pregnancy, even if she did end things with J Pop.
- Standout music: Three Black Divas more polished Can't Rock With You and Tiana/Jamal/Hakeem's Beautiful.
- Chronology: Not long from where Birds In A Cage left off.

Without Apology certainly had a little more to it than the previous episode. While I'm not entirely thrilled about Eddie and his wife plotting against Empire, I'm not too shocked by it either. The Andre scenes and the older girl band though were the highlights this week.

Rating: 7 out of 10

Friday, April 06, 2018

My Review of Gotham's 4x17: "Mandatory Brunch Meeting"

Written by Steven Lilien & Bryan Wynbrandt
Directed by Maja Vrvilo

Jerome (to Jeremiah): "I guess it's like what they say, we could all just go insane with just one bad day."

Had it not been a few weeks ago, I think the reveal of Jerome having a twin brother would've been a genuine shocker but in these days of the internet, it of course had to leak and somewhat dilute the surprise a bit for those who stumbled upon it. Saying that though, I can see where this one is going.

Also played by Cameron Monaghan, Jeremiah Valeska seems to be the more stable of the twins, having been sent to St Ignatius when he was a kid in order to get away from his homicidal twin and adopting the name Xander Wilde while also living as a reclusive architect in a place that looks as wild as anything a reclusive in Gotham would live in.

I liked that Jeremiah had anticipated that Jerome was coming for him and quickly positioned his right hand woman, Ecco into getting Jerome before the latter could get him. Of course, it was also obvious that Jerome would make sure to have both the Scarecrow and Tetch on hand while Gordon and Bullock also stumbled upon Jeremiah's hiding place.

Performance wise, I think Cameron did a good job in separating the two brothers reasonably well but the interactions between Jerome and Jeremiah made it pretty clear how this show will be handling the Joker storyline in it's last slew of episodes as well. After all, Jerome did talk about everyone having one bad day and I think that day is going to be pretty imminent for Jeremiah rather soon.

Of course when we weren't getting a brother reunion in this episode, we were seeing Jerome setting up his Legion of Horribles by recruiting the likes of Mr Freeze, Firefly, Oswald and Grundy to his cause as a rather unfortunate businessman then came to a grim end with the effects of a new laughing gas that leaves one hell of a smile on your face. Actually, the Grundy bit was Oswald's effort and that took some persuading but those two had some brilliant scenes in this one.

Outside of the Jerome storyline though, we had an interesting plotline with Leslie and the Riddler. First of all, I am not in the slightest bit surprised that Lee and Ed are hooking up and while I don't ship, I actually don't hate either. I do imagine however the Nygmobblepot are probably seething with this development though.

I'm not entirely sure what Leslie's angle here is though. I don't believe she has real feelings for Ed but at the same time, why is she encouraging him to up his bank robbing quota? I did like the Riddle off between the pair of them and despite her motives, I think Leslie might have at least spared poor Lars an awful fate but I do think if she's trying to micromanage the Riddler, it's going to inevitably backfire on her.

- With this show recasting both the Scarecrow and Ivy this season, the original actress to play Firefly reprised her role for this one.
- I know she's not meant to be Harley Quinn but Ecco certainly looked the part. It also seems that Hugo Strange will be resurfacing fairly soon as well.
- No Selina, Barbara, Tabitha, Lucius, Sofia or Ras this week.
- Chronology: Not long from where One Of My Three Soups left off.

Mandatory Brunch Meeting certainly gave a little game change to the Jerome/Joker plotline with the addition of Jeremiah into the mix. The storyline though is pretty compelling and the subplot with Leslie/Riddler also worked well with the episode, though I assume those two will also be tangled into the main storyline pretty soon now.

Rating: 8 out of 10

Thursday, April 05, 2018

My Review of Empire's 4x10: "Birds In A Cage"

Written & Directed by Craig Brewer

Claudia (to Cookie): "You can have Lucious but Dwight is mine."

It really has felt like a long while since the show was on the air. Last time I watched this, the DuBois family had been taken (Angelo in a more permanent way of course), Andre confessed to Lucious his past sins and Lucious ended up trapped in a cabin by a crazed Claudia.

It's of little surprise then that the latter plot strand was the main focus here with Claudia resorting to extreme measures to get 'Dwight' back by going full on Annie Wilkes on the guy. I genuinely thought this was going to be a storyline that would dealt with for a few episodes so I was rather surprised to see how quickly resolved it was here.

Cookie literally wasted zero time in working with Thirsty to find Claudia's own shrink and realise where she was keeping Lucious and even try to rescue Lucious as well before Claudia went full on psycho and tried to kill her before she killed her own therapist. I'm also a little surprised that Lucious spared Claudia but I guess that means she can reappear in the finale to cause more mayhem for Cookie and Lucious.

However, crazy as Claudia was, she did manage to point out the destructive aspects of Cookie and Lucious's relationship, even if she didn't say anything particularly new in that regard. Speaking of Cookie, we got some more prison flashbacks where she suffered at the hands of that prison guard following Poundcake's betrayal of her. I think thematically it did tie in reasonably well to Lucious's ordeal at Claudia's hands as well.

As for the rest of the episode, it was nice to see Porscha being supportive to Becky when she realised that the latter was pregnant while at the same time, I liked that Hakeem was there for both Jamal and Andre, even if his methods were a little hamfisted. Meanwhile the episode also ended with Andre ready to go into full on confession mode, which should make things very interesting next episode.

- That blonde look does not suit Cookie, at least not in this episode.
- No Anika, Eddie, Warren, Shyne or Tiana this week.
- Standout music: Not a lot this week, so I guess Tori and Hakeem's Talk Less though Claudia using a distorted version of Snitch Bitch to torture Lucious was something else.
- Chronology: Not long from where the previous episode left.

Birds In A Cage had some interesting parallels to both Cookie and Lucious dealing with prisons and their captors and it put paid to Claudia for the time being as well. It's not the strongest episode we've had and the music highlights were a bit lacking but it definitely had some lovely character moments though.

Rating: 7 out of 10

Tuesday, April 03, 2018

My Review of Legends Of Tomorrow's 3x17: "Guest Starring John Noble"

Written by Keto Shimizu & James Eagan
Directed by Ralph Hemecker

Mallus (to everyone): "I am so much more than a God."

And after most of the season trying to re-emerge, this episode ended with Mallus finally making his long awaited appearance and having Nora subsequently killed off to boot. CGI wise, Mallus could look better but he certainly could look a lot worse too.

Taking things back to Zambesi where the biggest tragedy to befall Amaya's family and village was an interesting move for Mallus to be reborn as such. I found the Legends trying to prevent the event but also having something else - Grodd in this case, be the cause of Mallus coming out to play big time - and almost destroy Zambesi was somewhat expected.

The show hasn't really done a lot with Grood since Damien brought him into the Mallus storyline but here, the psychic gorilla tried and thankfully failed to kill a young Barack Obama while also getting himself shrunk by Ray for his efforts. I did have a laugh at seeing Grodd in the jar but wasn't at all surprised when Damien let him out again.

Speaking of Damien, having him join the team was a bit odd and amusing to watch. I liked his scenes with Sara and Ray the most but his betrayal of them in order to save Nora was totally expected. Regardless of what happens in next week's finale, I don't think we're going to be losing the character any time soon and nor do I expect that he will be turning a new leaf either. There was however some joy in seeing Sara stab Damien in the back for his latest action, even if she didn't quite kill him.

Then there's the Amaya side of things. Both Nate and Wally had opposing stances when it came to her actions in Zambesi. Wally rightfully pointed out the consequences of Amaya's actions while Nate was more eager to help his girlfriend. I have to admit, I was more on Wally's side here, even if I completely got what Amaya was attempting to do. Plus it was somewhat nice to see younger versions of Kuasa, Mari and Esi, the latter being Amaya's daughter and reluctant bearer of the Ananzi totem.

As for the title itself - the use of John Noble was absolutely genius. Having Ray get him to record some dialogue while he was in the midst of filming one of his most famous roles was such a cheeky thing for the show to do but it completely works for the episode nonetheless.

- Nate got the Earth totem, which he managed to work and Ray the Water totem, which he could not work. No surprise that Damien got the death totem then.
- Ava is actually in her twelfth incarnation and Rip was unbelievably (even for him) cold in telling her that too.
- Bit weird seeing Mick mainly using his heat gun to take out Grodd when he was wearing the Fire totem as well.
- Chronology: 1992 Zambesi, 1999 New Zealand during filming of The Lord Of The Rings for John Noble and 1979 for Obama himself. A pretty good likeness with Lovell Adams-Gray as Barack.

Guest Starring John Noble had a lot going on. It's use of the title actor to one side, it certainly brought forth Mallus in a suitably strong, mixed up the alliances and had some nice interpersonal drama to boot. Next week's finale should put this storyline to rest as well as some possible exits but we do know now that we've got a fourth season to look forward to as well.

Rating: 8 out of 10