Tuesday, April 30, 2019

My Review of Legends Of Tomorrow's 4x13: "Eggs MacGuffin"

Written by James Eagan & Tyron B. Carter
Directed by Chris Tammaro

Neron (as Ray): "Well done, Mr Green."
Gary: "I'm whole again."

Oh, Gary, you had to, didn't you? Oh well, it's not like this episode didn't heavily foreshadow it along with the fact that since his introduction, it's become a hobby for pretty much everyone to give crap to Gary, only for the latter to finally snap when Neron spotted a weakness that was only too easy to exploit.

Tempting Gary with his missing nipple while Constantine unwisely chose the wrong time to be somewhat harsh with Gary was good plotting on Neron's part. While a part of me would've liked Gary to have resisted the temptation, I do think it made more sense for him not to. Behind his cheerful demeanor was always someone who was going to snap at the worst possible time and behold, this was that time.

As for Ray - he spent most of this episode trying to resist giving into Neron until the threat of Nate's life made him surrender to the demon while Constantine's attempts to get rid of Neron again massively failed. Having an evil duo of Ray and Gary along with an unwilling Constantine should turn out to be entertaining for the remaining episodes but at least the Legends and Time Bureau have Nora in their back pocket.

Of course with Neron upping his game as a baddie, you'd think that would be the only thing for Sara and company to worry about, but as the episode ended, the golden egg that made up a huge plot for this one also turned out be a dragon egg. I'm not surprised the show is going there and the Game Of Thrones comparisons will be naturally inevitable but it should be fun though.

The egg itself was also used as part of Sara and Ava's attempts to matchmake with Nate and Zari and at this rate, I'm actually cool enough with the budding relationship. It's happening regardless of what fans might want or not and the use of Indiana Jones did add a little silliness to the overall antics this week when Nate and Zari went undercover and had to deal with Nazis to boot.

Then there was the Rebecca Silver subplot. Mona managed to be the worst kind of fangirl ever during Charlie and Mick's attempts to make a quick buck of the latter pseudonym at a romantic convention but Mick outing himself as Silver was a rather inspired moment. For all his abrasive boorish behaviour, I liked that he actually cared enough about the fanbase his romantic alias had cultivated and it was also nice to see Mick get an actual plot as well.

As for the book club - I burst out laughing as Sara got so into a book that even Ava herself hadn't bothered to read because she'd prefer to let Mona drone on about the book. It was nice to see Sara and Ava more on an even keel with each other this week and of course, the book's dogwalker character, along with unappreciated Vincent during the dragon egg plot was all for setting Gary's own betrayal of the gang this week.

- At some point, Constantine learnt some tricks from Marie Laveau, even if they didn't do him any good against Neron this week.
-  Nate and Zari had the aliases of the two main protagonists from Indiana Jones to boot, though Zari seemed unfamiliar with the film series.
- Nora has now become a member of the Time Bureau. Will that be enough to keep her around for next season?
- Chronology: 2019 Washington and Seattle as well as 1933 Arctic Expedition.

Eggs MacGuffin had it's moments of absurdity as does every episode but it was really the last fifteen minutes that really did the episode its favours. It's interesting to see what Neron is going to do next now that he has a massive upper hand against the current team.

Rating: 7 out of 10

Saturday, April 27, 2019

She's Back And Slightly Badder Than Ever - EDITED

Ah, it's been a few weeks of some interesting returns and picking up from where other shows have left off, so here's a roundup of some of the show I've been watching lately.

911: It's been several months since the first half of Season 2 but kicking things up a gear, I'm glad the latter half of the season will not overly hinge on the Doug storyline as it seems that after stabbing Chimney and terrorising Maddie, his story has been brought to a rather swift and deserved ending. Speaking of Chimney, I quite liked the flashback episode he got, even if elements of it felt a little similar to Hen's from earlier in the season. Still though, the second half of the season is looking good so far.

Arrow: This show can give and take in equal measures at times. Positives first - that Lost Canaries episode was freaking amazing and finally gave Laurel the justice she deserved, even if it came three seasons too late. Then there was meeting Diggle's stepfather, throwing in a sneaky Green Lantern reference and of course calming Mia down a little in the flashforwards. I still find her annoying but Emiko in the present is actually more annoying. As a big bad, she's kind of lacking and the show managed to waste a good actor like Adrian Paul like they did with Michael Emerson last season. Still though, it's on better form than two other CW DC shows at the moment.

Chilling Adventures Of Sabrina: Confusion over whether these nine episodes are a second season or the second part of the first one aside, things are certainly getting more interesting here. I'm liking Sabrina's budding relationship with Nick and Adam's introduction is working as a way to slightly humanise Lilith a bit but at the same time, Blackwood is working my last nerve as an antagonist and while the show is giving us a more badass Hilda, both Zelda and Ambrose don't seem to be as well served so far. Other positive though have been the experimental episodes, the show's handling of Theo's transitioning, the Harvey/Roz romance and the use of Dorian Gray as well.

Game Of Thrones: The biggest show on television is back for it's final season of six episodes and the first two so far were surprisingly more quieter, slightly bloodless affairs. They were however not boring especially with the second episode having some truly beautiful character moments as our band of heroes and former villains are holed up in Winterfell awaiting a big battle with death itself. I have liked the questioning of Dany's leadership skills and now that a certain revelation is out of the bag, it's going to be interesting to see who ends up on that bloody throne in the next four weeks.

Killing Eve: It's back for a second season and while BBC1 are stupidly not airing it alongside BBCAmerica/AMC, RTE2 thankfully are. The first three episodes have shifted dynamics a little with Konstantin not actually being dead, Villanelle dealing with a new handler in Raymond, Eve getting more team members with Jess and Hugo, the arrival of a new assassin named the Ghost and Carolyn being as morally ambiguous as ever. The first episode felt a little sluggish but the second and third ones were made of stronger stuff. We do need to see Eve and Villanelle interact again and the sooner the show loses Niko the better.

Pose: I wish the ratings on BBC2 were better for the show than they actually are, but given it's unique premise and the fact that BBC2 waited too long to air it, I'm not surprised they're not so good. The show itself however is definitely going from strength to strength. I loved the confrontation scenes with Patty and Angel as the latter's involvement with Stan was exposed and the further backstories for Elektra and Blanca were handled perfectly. Then there was the death of Pray Tell's boyfriend in the last episode I watched, which was poignant. I can't wait to see how the last two episodes wraps up this first season.

Supergirl: I'm getting a sense of deja vu here. I mean, didn't we already have Supergirl framed for something someone else beforehand? It certainly feels like it and without Lex, who honestly gives a toss about Agent Liberty? He's just a lacklustre villain and with four episodes left, I really cannot wait to see the back of the guy. Next season really does need to reign some of the political slant and focus on some decent storytelling instead. On the other hand, I am loving Nia's journey into her heroic persona and the show is clearly setting up a pairing with Alex and Kelly which could be good to watch but right now, we need more of Lex and Russian Supergirl now.

The Flash: Okay, I'm getting bored of everything. I'm bored of the Eobard Thawne sitting in a cell and doing nothing. I'm bored of Nora as a character and I'm bored of Cicada. Right now, both Nora and Cicada need to leave the show and I really do mean that. On the other hand, we did get a little bit on Caitlin's family (including the rise of a new Icicle no doubt) and a quite glimpse of Godspeed, but even the latter could've been used better. Right now, I'm just bored but hopefully the next three episodes can finish up this whole arc on a decent note.

- Both Roswell: New Mexico and The 100 have been renewed for second and seventh seasons respectively by the CW.
- Santa Clarita Diet is the latest show to be dropped by Netflix after three seasons.
- Swamp Thing will be now 10 episodes instead of 13.
- Iain Glen has been cast as Bruce Wayne for the second season of Titans.
- Killing Eve's third season will be seen over by Suzanne Heathcote.
- Star Trek will be getting another animated spin-off to air on Nickelodeon.
- Shannen Doherty will reprise her role as Brenda Walsh in FOX's upcoming 90210 event series.
- In further shark jumping antics, Dynasty have replaced Nicollette Sheridan with Elizabeth Gillies as Alexis Carrington. Even by this show's standards, this is somewhat taking the piss.
- FOX have cancelled The Gifted after two seasons.
- Alex Landi has bagged a recurring role in the upcoming second season of Netflix's Insatiable.
- Emily Bett Rickards will be departing Arrow after it's seventh season.
- American Horror Story's ninth season has the subtitle of 1984 and will be influenced by the slasher genre.

My Review of Doom Patrol's 1x11: "Frances Patrol"

Written by April Fitzsimmons
Directed by Wayne Yip

John: "You really haven't fucked anyone since JFK? My God, Larry."
Larry: "Now that I think of it, there is a relationship I want to tell you about."

A couple of weeks ago, I said Danny Street was the best episode of the season but after this one, it certainly has some competition. An episode that largely gave us Larry/John dream sequence where the former confronted his closetness nature and reunited with an older version of the latter was going to be up my street.

Sure the outcome of John dying peacefully at the end was predictable but damn it, if that scene didn't make me well up. Some fabulous acting from both Tom Fitzpatrick as the older John who had moved on but still loved Larry as well as another great performance from Kyle Clements as the younger John who wanted Larry to be more honest with himself.

As for Matt Bomer - he's been excellent throughout this series and this episode was a clear highlight with him again. Yes, it's more than time for Larry to move on with his issues and accept himself and while it's been a slow journey for him, it's been one of the more compelling arcs of this whole season. Following John's death, I am hoping for a more at peace with himself version of Larry.

As for the dream sequences, the motel one was a lovely way to open the episode as Larry wanted to be alone with John and the latter wanted Larry to be himself. If this is the last time we'll see John, it's a shame as I've enjoyed the character but it felt like a fitting way to close this chapter on Larry's life for now.

Of course it wasn't just Larry getting some closure. Cliff's love rival died and it resulted in both him and Rita attending his funeral while Cliff's daughter Clara waxed lyrical about the man who adopted her and taught her some vital life lessons. Again, Cliff's own family issues seemed to get a little bit of a resolution courtesy of Cliff getting a watch out of an alligator named Frances. The same alligator that also killed Cliff's love rival.

I liked the pairing of Cliff and Rita in this episode as the latter was also on her mission of self discovery and finding the Chief. I think she was brilliant in trying to give Cliff a little perspective about Clara, even if it took a while for her words to get through to Cliff.

As for Victor and Jane - their pairing worked well too. It was nice to see Jane in control for the majority of the episode, while Victor shut down Grid before getting taken to the Ant Farm. Yup, it looks like we're not rid of Darren Jones just yet.

- Was this the first time the current team (or Jane specifically) referred to themselves as the Doom Patrol?
- Rita's real name is Gertrude, which she used when chatting to that guy at the bar during the funeral.
- While he didn't appear in the episode, Flex Mentallo was mentioned, so I'm sure we'll be meeting him within the next four episodes. Animal-Vegatable-Mineral Man is also still making a nuisance off himself off screen.
- Chronology: From where Jane Patrol and Hair Patrol left off.

The more I think of it, the more I'm convinced this show actually thrives more without the Chief and Nobody. Frances Patrol advanced nothing on either of their whereabouts and it was the most compelling with all five of our main players getting great material without either. For me though, Larry's was the best but given this review, you probably would've already guessed that.

Rating: 9 out of 10

Friday, April 26, 2019

My Review of Gotham's 5x12: "The Beginning ..."

Written by John Stephens
Directed by Rob Bailey

Harvey (re Batman): "Who is he?"
James: "A friend."

It's been five seasons and 100 episodes and expectations were certainly riding high on this episode. Could the show with it's budget pull off the Dark Knight? Would it feel like enough? Would we even get a clear shot of him in costume. Well, the answer to the last question was a resounding yes. For me, it also felt like more than enough as well.

It made sense to begin with one last scene with David Mazouz physically onscreen before pushing the narrative to ten years where the city has rebuilt itself from reunification and Gordon was on the verge of handing in his badge. Thanks to Jeremiah though, it seems like James won't be retiring the Commissioner role any time soon.

This episode felt like a series of vignettes, which is something that I've wanted the show to do for a while, so it's rather appropriate that this would be the episode to do it. Needless to say, all the vignettes are connected by our Batman and Joker of the pieces as the former saved the day behind the scenes while the latter played the long game and used certain players for his own goals.

First of all, there was Oswald. It seems that helping during the No Man's Land saga didn't exactly earn him a pardon and instead, he was sent to Blackgate for a decade and upon his release, Oswald had revenge in mind. I liked the call back to the pier and I laughed when Oswald's attempts to kill Gordon proved to be unsuccessful. Hasn't Oswald learned anything about James by now? It would seem not.

With Oswald gaining weight while in Blackgate, Edward was growing his hair out again in Arkham when he wasn't encouraging other inmates to be brutal to a seemingly catatonic Jeremiah. Edward certainly lost his own vicious streak in the last ten years and upon his escape decided to have a call back by kidnapping the thoroughly incompetent Mayor Aubrey James and trying to blow up the gala in Bruce Wayne's honour. Luckily for us, both Selina and Barbara were at hand to scupper Edward's latest attempts to remind everyone he was the Riddler.

Of course while both Oswald and Edward were a little too easily (even for them) outsmarted by our civilian allies this week, I absolutely enjoyed their reunion scene together. This show might not have wanted to take the plunge and make Nygmobblepot canon but the writers knew how much the pairing meant to audiences and it's why they got some great scenes together, especially the one that involved their encounter with a certain Caped Crusader and showing some appropriate trepidation with his presence in the city.

Then there was Selina herself. I've been critical of the Catwoman outfit they chose for Lili Simmons as the lack of ears have been a little off putting but it kind of worked on screen. We did get to see Catwoman steal a diamond while Batman watched but did nothing to apprehend her and that rooftop scene was certainly written for BatCat shippers in mind as Selina managed to articulate her own issues with Bruce nearly face to face. A part of me wished that scene had lasted a little longer but what we got was pretty spot on nonetheless.

Last but not least on the Rogues Gallery front - there was the Joker and Not Harley Quinn aka, Jeremiah (in desperate need of a name change) and Ecco as the latter broke her man out of Arkham but still managed to get herself killed when Jeremiah attacked Barbara and kidnapped Barbara Lee in order to attract James's attention. I guess the finale had to have one major death and sadly for Ecco, it had to be her while also hearing that she would soon be replaced.

The Ace Chemicals plant scene was pretty interesting as I did think for a moment we were going to get a full on Batman/Joker fight while Gordon rescued his daughter. We didn't but oddly enough what we did get felt satisfying enough as I got the impression Jeremiah realised who Batman was or didn't care enough about Bruce now that the Caped Crusader was on the scene.

Then for the last scene - I got the impression that Gordon had worked out that Batman was Bruce and Alfred had certainly informed Lucius about it as well. As for the Bat suit in general - for a TV budget it looked a little better than Joker and Catwoman's looks (which while not terrible, could've been a tiny bit better, more hair for the former and cat ears for the latter for example) but you can tell there was some CGI manipulation around the facial area. Either way, there was a certain chill in the air with the very last shot as a new era has befallen the city.

- Let's be honest, the only ones who looked noticeably older were Oswald, Barbara Lee, Selina and oddly enough, Alvarez. I liked that the latter and Harper were a part of this episode.
- In 10 years Barbara has grown her hair to a similar style to Poison Ivy and has become a business tycoon. We didn't find out who took over the Sirens though. Leslie also helped to defuse a bomb here.
- Alfred was rocking the cane during his various scenes in this episode. It seemed that Bruce had returned to the city weeks before his no show at the gala though, given the Bat sightings reported throughout the episode.
- How many call back to the pilot did this episode have? It seemed like there were a few, some more noticeable than others.
- The final title card had the Bat symbol and Jeremiah got a batarang to the hand.
- Chronology: 10 years since the events of They Did What?

The Beginning ... might have marked the ending for this show and the launch of a sequel series that we'll never see but at least it went out in style. Yes, it could've done with being a two parter and yes, I wish we had seen a few more characters in it but for a show that managed to do it's own thing while also alluding to some of the best and varied Bat related media out there, this was a fantastic way to end the show. I'll miss it but with Batwoman, Titans, Pennyworth and The Batman all looming in the corner, we're never too long away from this madcap part of the DC universe. Gotham, you were one of the most bonkers series I've watched and I'm glad I didn't miss a single moment of it.

Rating: 9 out of 10

Wednesday, April 24, 2019

My Review of Now Apocalypse's 1x04: "The Downward Spiral"

Written by Gregg Araki & Karley Sciortino
Directed by Gregg Araki

Circle Jerk Group: "Men have feelings too."

Yes, yes they do and while the title of the group that both Ulysses and For attended was a bit too on the nose for it's own good, the plot did seem to benefit at least one of them. I had kind of hoped that Ulysses would tell the group about his alien encounters and maybe advance the plot a bit but instead it was mostly for Ford to unload about his own intimacy issues.

I'm not surprised the group initially mistook Ulysses and Ford for a couple until the latter made it obvious he was talking about his girlfriend and not being cool about her sleeping with her ex. Needless to say, he got some interesting enough advice along with the mantra of men having feelings too but if I were Ford, I'd somewhat read in between the lines with Severine.

She clearly likes him but not enough to want to just sleep with only Ford and made that cleat when she seemed more interested in keeping Ford at arm's length during their last scene together. Then again, I'm still slightly convinced that Ford has more chemistry with his best mate than his girlfriend, so there's that.

Speaking of Ulysses - the thing with Gabriel went literally nowhere as the latter turned out to be a no show but Ulysses did get to have sex with a hot delivery straight guy named Tlayolotl (Greg Audino) or T for short. I did find T's candidness about being a straight guy who likes to have sex with men amusing despite being married to a religious woman interesting enough but if he's doing it a lot, then surely he might be bisexual and in denial?

As for the alien plot - still no real advancements there. Severine might have been looking at something but Ford kept distracting her and Ulysses ended the episode by seeing a homeless woman and an icky mess. Other than that though, nothing of real significance there.

As for Carly - she seemed despondent about her acting career, was mostly snarky with Ulysses in between auditioning for new roommates and web camming. I did find her reaction to Ulysses when he suggested the Palm Spring trip (Ford's suggestion of course) rather annoying and it's the first time I did find Carly annoying was in this episode.

- I'm glad Ulysses commented on Tlayolotl's arrival being something out of a porn scene as all the sex scenes on the show have felt like a porn parody, so points for self awareness.
- Carly's clients this week wanted to be humiliated, her to be still and of course to pee. She told Ulysses about the latter one.
- Does Ulysses even have a boss at his work and why is he the only person doing security? Surely he'd at least have one co-worker wherever he's working.
- Chronology: From where the previous one left off.

The Downward Spiral didn't really feel like one as such. We didn't see any of the characters behave any more recklessly than they have been so far and while nothing with the main plot was advanced, at least the Circle Jerk group and Ulysses/Tlayolotl's scenes delivered pretty well.

Rating: 7 out of 10

My Review of Now Apocalypse's 1x03: "The Rules Of Attraction"

Written by Gregg Araki & Karley Sciortino
Directed by Gregg Araki

Ulysses: "I've always found three ways sort of bewildering myself. I mean I never know where to sit."
Ford: "I know, right?"

Three episodes in and if Ulysses and Ford aren't endgame for this show, then what's the point, am I right? I mean for Uly - Gabriel is clearly going to be trouble for him and possibly not of the fun kind and while Ford might be straight, he seems to have more chemistry with his best friend and slightly predatory Otto than he does with his own girlfriend, the latter who seems rather put off by Ford's overall clingy behaviour as well.

This week for Ford, he woke up with morning wood and seemed to be overcompensating with Ulysses over his enjoyment of the three way he had in the last episode, but at the same time got visibly upset when Severine told him she was having sex with her ex-boyfriend Mustafa as well. On the other hand, at least he had Uly to cheer him up.

Of course when Ford wasn't learning that his girlfriend was shagging her ex, he was also be propositioned by Otto into doing a photoshoot with a cream cake that felt like a porn parody. I know Ford is written to be a tad naive but even he should be smart enough to know that Otto has zero interest in his scripting abilities and more interest in that body of his. Something tell me Ford will learn that lesson pretty soon.

In keeping with the straight characters getting harassed by predatory gays this week, was anyone surprised when Frank tried it on with Carly and then turned into a massive bitch when the latter rejected her? Nope, not surprising in the slightest. On the other hand at least Carly seemed more self aware and will probably get her own back on Frank for her actions.

As for Ulysses - he lamented about encountering a couple having sex during his job to Carly as the latter remained uninterested in his alien conspiracies while his search for Gabriel actually led to the latter texting him from a blocked number. Ulysses, you're probably in danger. Then again, who's to say with this show.

- Jethro seems to be completely into being dominated by Carly, the latter who was reading The Happy Hooker and auditioning for Fast & Furious 12.
- Speaking of books, Ulysses spotted one of Mitchell Kent's during his own research while Severine and those twins encountered some dead animals killed in a strange way.
- I liked the three way discussion with Ulysses and Ford and even Frank talked about her previous marriages before trying it on with Carly.
- Chronology: From where the previous episode left off.

The Rules Of Attraction had a lot to say on the subject of sex (and even took a poke at beta males for one scene) but I did find it weird that both Ford and Carly got a similar storyline this week, even if the outcomes were different and maybe Ulysses should tell someone else about his alien encounter than his skeptical female friend.

Rating: 7 out of 10

Tuesday, April 23, 2019

My Review of Legends Of Tomorrow's 4x12: "The Eggplant, The Witch & The Wardrobe"

Written by Morgan Faust & Daphne Miles
Directed by Mairzee Almas

Ava: "But you could've chosen any one of those other women."
Sara: "I don't want other women."

Well, she was missing for two episodes, so I guess we were due a rather episode outing for Ava and if you enjoyed I, Ava in the previous season and are overall an Avalance fan, then this should be a firm favourite.

Now I'm more neutral on Sara/Ava as a couple and I think this was an episode that saw a further creative upswing on things. Especially as after slowly teasing the main antagonist for the season, this episode wasted no time in having Neron make his presence known to the gang.

Last time we left the couple, Sara and Ava had fallen out over the way things were being dealt with at the Time Bureau and in that time, Neron decided to send Ava's soul to purgatory in order to prime her body as a vessel for Tabitha, who I assume we'll be meeting in the next four episodes, if not a lot sooner considering how this one actually ended.

Determined to save Ava, Sara got John and Nora to help send her into purgatory and once there, it became a Megastore Nightmare with a rather unhelpful Gary and some other bloke as Sara and Ava navigated through flat packs, bed warranties and mountains of mail and dishes in order to get to the roots of their problems as a couple and as individuals.

A lot of the analogies here were thoroughly predictable but executed rather well as both Sara and Ava finally came to an understanding and got themselves out of purgatory, so that was one part of Neron's plan to fail. Of course, all his failures are temporary but let's look into them shall we?

We know that he needs a vessel for Tabitha and while the show could bring a new actress for the role, it's likely that following the failure to use Ava that he'll latch onto someone else. Nora seems a likely candidate given that he left Desmond's body to try and use her before both Nora and Constantine managed to outsmart Neron. Then Ray had to pick the worst time to make an entrance.

I wasn't surprised when the final scene revealed that Neron possessed Ray and while I'm sure Brandon Routh will do some great bad guy acting in the next few episodes, I am slightly annoyed that John didn't check Ray over after the whole incident. Aside from that though, I did like seeing John and Nora working together against Neron.

As for the rest of the episode, there was some nice scenes with Ray and Nate and Nate and Neron in the episode but the Zari/Nate budding romance definitely felt more cartoonish this week. Between the Ava and Neron plots we had Charlie, Mona and Mick all giving Zari their own takes on how she should pursue Nate before a wrecking ball made sure an embarrassing text she sent wouldn't be read.

At this point, they should just get it over with as I don't think we need any more weeks of UST between Zari and Nate now that Neron has a hold on Ray. As for Constantine and Desmond - well, the latter might be alive and demon free, but he's clearly not in the mood to be around John for the foreseeable future, which is to be expected even if it's a shame.

- I really did think Nora was going to go along with Neron's scheme, until it became obvious that she and John had been working together in order to get Neron weakened. Nice callbacks to Daddy Darhkest as well.
- The eggplant part of the episode came from the use of a certain emoji. I really want to know what the rest of Mick's suggestions to Zari were.
- Still not really keen on this whole Hey World theme park idea though given the finale's title, we're not going to be getting rid of it anytime soon though.
- Chronology: 2019 Washington DC.

As I said earlier in the review, The Eggplant, The Witch & The Wardrobe definitely felt like a creative upswing for the show, exploring the issues with Sara/Ava and adding another twist into the Neron storyline, which I'm really enjoying even if it's been pretty telegraphed at times with his various machinations. Still though, evil Ray for a few episodes, anyone?

Rating: 8 out of 10

Saturday, April 20, 2019

My Review of Doom Patrol's 1x10: "Hair Patrol"

Written by Eric Dietel
Directed by Salli Richardson-Whitfield

The Beard Hunter: "Look at me, look at my face. I want you to always remember this- Ernest Franklin, the man who defeated Cyborg. I wonder who will play me in the movie."

Yup, this guy was definitely something else alright. I could've done without the image of seeing Ernest consume both Niles and Victor's facial hair in order to get a read on them, which seems to be something the show added itself as the comics Beard Hunter apparently had no powers and was killing bearded men due to his own inability to actually grow one himself.

As a distraction, he was kind of okay in itself and I guessed he proved his effectiveness by getting under Victor's skin the way he did. Not to mention it showed the Bureau of Normalcy weren't wasting time in trying to deal with the gang following the events with Darren Jones and Danny the Street, which I guess is a good thing in moving the storyline along a little.

For the most part though, I did find the Beard Hunter amusing and irritating in equal measures so his eventual death at the end of this episode was almost a nice way of ending things this week. Tommy Snider did fine as Ernest but I do think he could've been a character that really would've grated had we gotten any more of him. Then again, you never know with this show.

Of course while Victor and Rita were mostly working together to deal with Ernest, we got a lot of flashbacks to an adventure Caulder had in 1913 where he encountered a immortal cave woman, fell madly in love with her, got a little feral, killed his Bureau of Oddity co-worker, Alistair while also attracting the attention of Mr Nobody as well.

Ten episodes in and the biggest criticism that can be leveled at this season has been overextending this missing arc with Caulder. With five episodes left to go, it really does feel like the show needs to wind it down and just get him back with the team, even if he did reveal to Nobody that he'd sacrifice them over his former girlfriend this week. Nobody made some hints about not everyone making it out of the season alive and I assume going into a second season, we're going to have something of a fairly big-ish cast shake up.

- The episode's director, Salli Richardson-Whitfield is probably best known for being a regular in SyFy series, Eureka.
- Is it bad that I kind of agreed with Ernest regarding This Is Us? I tried to get into that show but couldn't.
- The first episode I think in which we didn't encounter another one of Jane's personalities, given that her, Larry and Cliff were barely in this one.
- Chronology: The majority of the 1910's for Caulder's flashback storyline along with the Beard Hunter story being parallel with the events of Jane Patrol.

Hair Patrol isn't one of the best episodes going with a polarising guest antagonist and a seeming no ending to this Caulder missing arc, which has gone far too long now. Then again, with five episodes left to go and the promise of a cast shake up, I wouldn't be surprised if Caulder is one of the characters who won't go into the next season.

Rating: 6 out of 10

Friday, April 19, 2019

My Review of Gotham's 5x11: "They Did What?"

Written by Tze Chun
Directed by Carol Banker

Alfred (to Bruce): "But I want you to know Master Bruce, you are the only son that I will ever have and I could not be more proud."

I think if you didn't have the tiniest little bit of a tear during that scene, then you're obviously made of stone. For a penultimate episode to the series finale, this set the bar rather high with the No Man's Land/Nyssa/Bane plot coming to an end and Bruce departing his city for a decade and it did so with style.

First of all, it was cold of Bruce to leave Gotham without saying goodbye to Selina, especially as she opened up to him big time this episode and played a vital role in helping him take down Bane and Nyssa. At the same time, while Bruce must become Batman, it's also down to Selina to become Catwoman and seeing that reunion next week should be very interesting indeed.

However I should add that this episode marked the departure of Camren Bicondova in the role as Selina Kyle and that Catwoman in next week's series finale will be played by Lili Simmons instead. Camren already articulated on social media her reasons for departing the role and while I wish she was in the last episode, I do want to thank her for the brilliant work she did for five seasons as Selina Kyle.

I did like the use of bats as a means of initially setting Bane back and it's clear that Bruce picked up on an idea there as well during that particular fight scene. Then there was all of the regulars (including Oswald and Edward) standing up to Bane and his army before the latter was surprisingly not killed off and sent to prison instead. The show has often pushed it's luck with killing vital characters, so it was a relief that both Bane and Nyssa actually managed to survive their humiliating defeat this week.

I did think when Nyssa got stabbed by Barbara with the same knife that her father was stabbed with last season that she was going to die, but instead she managed to get into the submarine and leave the city, complete with an adorable pet to look after and probably rename. Goodbye Edward the dog, I think I'll miss you the most, you adorable scamp.

Villain wise though, I do think the show could've handled both Nyssa and Bane a little better. It does feel like the show got too enamoured with Jeremiah and Ecco at times (and the former was mentioned a lot here) that the focus on the two main antagonists for the season wasn't as strong as it could've been. On the other hand, at least we know they're still out there to cause future headache for everyone when the time comes.

As for Gordon - this episode did reward him for his heroics while also reaffirming that in spite of their own contributions towards saving the day, both Oswald and Edward are still villains and the city has only barely seen what a partnership between the Penguin and Riddler will be truly like. We definitely know they're both up for a costume upgrade in the next decade along with three other characters next week.

- The baby was named Barbara Lee Gordon after her three parents and she wore purple like her future self will do. Jim also became Commissioner and the city rejoined the main land.
- Oswald lost an eye this episode and for a moment, I thought we were going to get him and Edward stabbing each other. Wayne Enterprises also went boom in this one too.
- Even though we're unlikely to see Dick Grayson in next week's series finale, I did like the fact that the episode found a way to reference Nightwing.
- Chronology: The final day of No Man's Land.

They Did What provided a slightly less bombastic resolution to the overall season plot than expected but it was one that largely worked in the episode's favour. There were so many character moments here that I adored but if I had to pick five, I'd go with: Barbara/Leslie, Bruce/Selina. Bruce/Alfred, Oswald/Edward and Jim/Barbara/Lee. I'm going to seriously miss this show when it ends next week.

Rating: 8 out of 10

Thursday, April 18, 2019

Doctor Who - Where Has All The Hype Gone (and things they probably should do for Series 12)

It's been ages since I've written anything related to Doctor Who - in fact over three months since submitting my review for New Year's Day special, Resolution and with Series 12 in production, not that you'd know it, given the overt secrecy that seems to be in place, a question has to be asked: where has all the hype gone?

No, seriously, where has it gone? In the last few months since the airing of Series 11, the show's presence has never felt so sparse. The merchandise seems to be far less than before, the official magazine has barely any content regarding the current era and seem to be even more reliant on more Big Finish and Classic Who content than ever before because Chibnall won't let them discuss anything regarding Series 12 and with the show's own fandom more seemingly splintered than before, it doesn't seem to be the greatest time to be a fan of the show at the moment. Since Resolution's airing, we've had one frivolous scene for Comic Relief and the announcement of a VR game called The Runaway which seems to have generated more apathy than enthusiasm and aside from that, nada on everything else in relation to the show's future.

Now, I'm not demanding wall to wall spoilers and with the show unlikely to air again until March or April 2020 (not spoilers, just speculation on my part), to me it seems like bad business practice for both the BBC and Chris Chibnall not to make more of an effort to keep the show in the public eye while the show is off the air. In the past between series, both Russell T. Davies and Steven Moffat would ensure the official magazine got some details such as guest casting, writer and director announcements from each filming block and things like that were great for keeping the show in the public eye. Why Chibnall seems a little too hellbent on so much secrecy (remember none of the monsters appeared in any promotional or trailer material last series) beggars belief and the BBC themselves seem to be increasingly tone deaf and clueless as to how to run this show. There are rumours circulating that Series 12 may spell a departure for both Chris Chibnall and Jodie Whittaker but like I said, they're rumours and regardless of their veracity, one thing is for certain: changes need to be made to the current regime with the show and not a moment too soon.

For the most part, I did like Series 11 but when stacked against the content we had from 2005-2017, it's hard to deny that overall, it was lacking a bit as well. The political messages while not a bad thing could've been far better written than they actually were, the monsters were woefully impacting compared to previous series and not even promoted, at times the show felt too ordinary (and that's one thing the series should never ever feel) and also a bit too safe. Going into Series 12, I fear it's going to be a case of more of the same with both Chibnall and the BBC unwisely doubling down on legitimate criticisms that have been made in regards to the current era but in order for next series to make a positive impact, it needs to do a lot better in terms of writing, monsters, promotion and take some genuine risks. The companion dynamic desperately needs to be shifted (I say a death for one of the current three "Fam" members) and a few returning past elements aside from Daleks are also essential going forward. Simply put, it needs to feel like Doctor Who for everyone rather than a show for a certain type of audience. If it doesn't, then I genuinely think we're going to be in trouble.

What are your thoughts on the show right now? Do you think it's in a good place or do you think the series needs to make some changes in order to be better?

Tuesday, April 16, 2019

My Review of Legends Of Tomorrow's 4x11: "Séance & Sensibility"

Written by Grainne Godfree & Jackie Canino
Directed by Alexandra La Roche

Charlie: "Wait a sec, is this a Bollywood musical number?"
Zari: "You bet your ass it is."

Once again, we're mixing genres as this week's main mission involved both Jane Austen (Jenna Rosenow) and Hindu love god Kamadeva (Sachin Bhatt) in an episode that certainly aimed to put a song in people's hearts while doing something of a deconstruction on the nature of romance. The results are certainly an interesting bag alright.

We know that Mona was madly in love with the Kaupe because she's certainly not been shy about discussing it, so when things started going a bit too lust fueled in 1802 Bath, it didn't take long for the female Legends members to get themselves involved in a story where Sanjay was an unassuming coachman who Zari found a bit hot, only for him to be revealed as the main instigator of everything going awry this week.

It's hard to actually classify him as a baddie because technically, he wasn't. He was just a bit too keen on spreading the love and even when the Legends had him contained for a bit on the Waverider, it didn't stop him from getting nearly every one on the ship a little too hot and bothered before getting Zari to let go of her inhibitions, resulting a rather inspired but obvious Bollywood number. This also led to Mona being the one to save the day by breaking Sanjay's hold on Zari as well for good measure.

Of course before Mona became the sensible one in the group (even Sara and Charlie got drawn into the musical number) she was mostly in fangirl mode with Jane Austen, got into one hell of a spat with Zari, became Wolfie and needed her literary idol to talk some sense into her. I really do hope this is the last episode where Mona broods about the Kaupe, even if she did save the day with this one.

As for the boys, well they were mostly involved in the Hank plot of things. Ray wanted to be supportive for Nate and assume the worst in Nora but it didn't take much for Ray to stash her on the Waverider and the two of them also became affected by Kamadeva's lusty charms this week. While I do sometimes find it a bit much having real life couples playing a buddy couple on a show, I can't deny that Ray and Nora actually do fit as a pair.

Speaking of pairing, the show is really planning to go there with Zari and Nate. The flirting has been upped, we had Sara, Charlie and Mona all offering their own love advice to Zari on the matter and Zari did have a dream three way with Nate and Sanjay. You know what, I'm not going to complain about this Zari/Nate pairing. I'm just going to let it play out and hope for the best.

Keeping with the lovers bit, Constantine was the only one to notice that Hank's spirit was still looming around at the funeral and when he did make contact with him, Neron also made an appearance so excluding Mick (unless the guy's love of a good buffet counts for something), even those not involved in the main storyline had a love related plot this week. Now we just need John and Neron to actually interact with each other face to face but at least that's one more person to attest to Nora's innocence though.

- I could've sworn this episode had actually gotten Emerald Fennel for Jane Austen but nope, it was Jenna Rosenow who is something of a dead ringer for Fennel. Her English accent was good though.
- Constantine managed to get himself a black tie for Hank's funeral, making his look that bit more comic book accurate for this episode.
- Sara dreamed of Ava this week (who still didn't appear) and Charlie fancies a bit of David Bowie. As you do. The musical number was called Surrender.
- Chronology: 1802 Bath and 2019 Washington DC.

Séance & Sensibility was a bit of a step up from the previous two episodes. It's nice that Neron is out as the Big Bad and hopefully Constantine makes the rest of the gang privy to this as well. The episode looked gorgeously shot, blending two different genres pretty well and Kamadeva definitely can draw comparisons to the Music Meister from The Flash/Supergirl musical crossover two seasons ago.

Rating: 8 out of 10

Monday, April 15, 2019

My Review of Now Apocalypse's 1x02: "Where Is My Mind?"

Written by Gregg Araki & Karley Sciortino
Directed by Gregg Araki

Ulysses: "I feel like you're not taking me seriously."
Carly: "Your feeling is correct."

Of course, because if your main character on a show like this admits to witnessing the most strangest of alien encounters, it's natural that his sarcastic, cynical best friend would be less than willing to give him the benefit of the doubt here. Then again, if I were Carly, I probably wouldn't be so quick to believe Ulysses's outlandish story either.

I did however like that Ulysses at least told someone and that he made something of an effort to actually do some research into reptile aliens, even if said research just extended to watching a conspiracy theorist named Mitchell Kent (Henry Rollins) online, whom Carly wasted little time in ridiculing as well.

Still though, between brooding over Gabriel, who clearly is ghosting Ulysses, at least the latter also managed to bag himself a security job and ended the episode encountering another weird sex encounter, this time at his place of work. Two episodes in, and I do wonder if this will be a recurring trope that might lose momentum, even if Ulysses's screaming is too funny at times.

Moving away from Ulysses for a bit though, this episode did a bit of a job trying to flesh out his two friends a little more though. With Carly, I quite like her spiky nature and watching her making no effort to mask her disdain for her fellow classmates during her acting classes was more amusing than her cam girl antics in the first episode.

However, it was the spanking scene with Jethro (Desmond Chiam) that seems to draw a bit more of her inner self out. Jethro seemed frustrated over not connecting with Carly and she was more than annoyed that he was on the phone while they were doing, so the discovery of Carly's sex toys managed to provide an outlet for both of them. I did like the commentary about Jethro being an alpha male and letting himself submit to his girlfriend's own kinks, so good points there, show.

Then there was Ford's own sex issues as well. I guessed from the last episode that Barnabus wanted to fuck him and the scene with the two of them at a premiere party along with Otto West (yeah, no idea who he was meant to be based on) screamed of any bog standard gay porn scene that even Ulysses clocked on about.

As for the three way scene with Ford, Severine and Daphne - I'll admit it was the least interesting part of the episode but there is something rather endearing about Ford as a character. He's not the brightest bulb out there but he does seem to genuinely like Severine and even opened his mind to her more European side of things in the bedroom.

- Mary Lynn Rajskub popped up as Carly's acting coach, Frank and going by that exchange in the bathroom, it did seem like she was trying to come on to Carly as well.
- According to Mitchell the likes of Obama, Beyonce, Hitler, the Queen to name a few are shape shifting reptile aliens. Severine was also looking at alien pictures in this one.
- Standout music: Gusgus's Teenage Sensation during that Carly and Jethro scene.
- Chronology: From where the first episode left off with a few flashbacks thrown in for good measure.

I liked enough of Where Is My Mind to know that I want to stick with the show for the remainder of the season. While the sex scenes can be a little hit and miss in parts, I do think this episode did a better job with making both Carly and Ford as interesting as Ulysses and I do like how shady Severine kind of is as well.

Rating: 7 out of 10

My Review of Now Apocalypse's 1x01: "This Is The Beginning Of The End"

Written by Gregg Araki & Karley Sciortino
Directed by Gregg Araki

Ulysses: "It's not like I'm brave or anything, it's more reckless stupidity. An adrenaline fix. Throwing myself into the void to see what happens."

I seem to be on a roll recently when it comes to sniffing out the more quirkier of shows to watch and review for this site and with all the episodes for this one released but still airing every Sunday for Starz, this ten part series might be one of the weirdest things I've watched yet.

Set in present day LA, our main protagonist of the piece is a pansexual, weed smoking hedonist named Ulysses Zane (Avan Jogia) who when he isn't screwing married men, lusting after his straight male roommate Ford Halstead (Beau Mirchoff) and copping off with the mysterious Gabriel (Tyler Posey) through a handjob session in public at night, has other weird shit going on with him.

Yup, it seems that Ulysses being a double Scorpio has been having some rather colourful dreams about a dark alley and a man calling for help. His best friend and bored camera girl Carly Carlson (Kelli Berglund) is uninterested in Ulysses's dreams and even think he needs to lay off getting stoned before bedtime, only for the ending of the episode (and a certain climax with Gabriel) to give some reasonable weight to Ulysses's so called premonitions.

I guess I should've expected the last scene with an alien raping that poor homeless man we met halfway through the episode and Ulysses's reaction at the end did highlight that this will not be a show that should be taken too seriously. Mostly it seems to be a pretty twenty something millenials mostly doing stupid stuff while a bigger plot involving aliens will also simmer a little in the background.

Keeping with the alien plot, this seems to be the way to naturally give Ford's commitment phobic girlfriend, Severine Bordeaux (Roxane Mesquida) a bit more of an interesting role in the series as it progresses along. She's revealed to be working for some top secret company and certainly knows something up if her brief scene with her co-workers is anything to go by.

As for our main guy - I like Ulysses. He's hot and slightly idiotic and reckless but I think Avan Jogia is a decent actor who pulls the role off pretty well. Right now, I have no idea why he's being singled out for seeing aliens but I bet it entails more than him being a double Scorpio for starters. As for Gabriel - the obvious question must be asked: is he an alien too? He did make a lot of pointed remarks about fate and then there was that universe collapsing climax scene as well for good measure. I guess time will tell on this one.

- No real opening credits as such but the end credits were nicely colourful as has the promotional material for the show.
- Ford fell into the category of struggling screenwriter who got bamboozled by a porn producer. He does seem to be the straight guy written to be lusted after gay men in this series. He also didn't seem that keen on an open relationship as well.
- Standout music: Years & Years Sanctify.
- Chronology: I'm assuming this is meant to be set in 2019, what with Ulysses and Carly's mostly scathing commentary on acting, social media, young versus older people, dating, etc.

This Is The Beginning Of The End is a fun opening episode. The show clearly isn't meant to be taken seriously and it's commentary while hardly original or insightful does at least make for a few decent zingers as well. The best compliment I can give the show is that it looks rather colourful and if you want something that's pretty daft but entertaining, this could be something to watch.

Rating: 7 out of 10

Saturday, April 13, 2019

My Review of Doom Patrol's 1x09: "Jane Patrol"

Written by Marcus Dalzine
Directed by Harry Jierjian

Jane (to her father): "You destroy everything. I will not let you destroy him. I hate you. I hate you, you filthy, disgusting man! I am not afraid of you!"

An episode that explored the literal inner workings of Jane was always going to be something of a dark and trippy affair and low and behold, this episode did not disappoint in the slightest. Playing Crazy Jane and her 64 personalities was always going to be a stretch for any actor but Diane Guerrero has really pulled of the character with aplomb and this episode easily marked her best work to date.

At the end of the previous episode, Karen got dragged away to the Underground by a rather pissed off Hammerhead while Jane herself was in something of a catatonic state. Worried about their friend's well being, Larry helped Cliff to venture into the dark recesses of Jane's mind as she underwent her own journey and confronted a rather pronounced demon in the shape of her abusive father.

Before getting to that though, it was nice to see some faces to Jane's personalities such as Hammerhead, Pretty Polly, Silver Tongue, the Secretary and so on as Karen openly insulted the lot of them before getting chucked into a cell and presuming that Cliff had romantic feelings for Jane before eventually disappearing from the rest of the story. Not that losing Karen early into the episode was a bad thing as Penny Farthing, Jack Straw and Miranda all played their part in Cliff's mission to get Jane back.

Jack Straw literally just looked like a straw but helped in getting Cliff out of the prison while Penny Farthing (minus stutter) filled in some of the gaps about Jane's psyche while also being far more helpful and entertaining than she was during the Cult two parter we had not so long ago. Miranda on the other hand just emphasised how messy's Jane's past was before Cliff realised that she had been abused by her father as a child.

Then there was getting to the The Sisters and Black Annis - neither of whom seemed to have Jane's best intentions at heart but in spite of their machinations (and also Cliff's growing influence), Jane did however managed to confront a puzzle version of her father at the Well and come out the other side. As for whether or not she's actually better, I think Cliff might be a little too hopeful there but at least Jane got to confront some demons in this episode overall.

- Other personalities briefly glimpsed at in this episode included Driver 8, Lucy Fugue, Scarlet Harlot, Kit W'the Canstick, Jill In Irons, Flit, The Nun, Mama Pentecost, Baby Doll and Driller Bill.
- Niles again was kept to an old memory, one which Cliff saw in Jane's head but at least next week's episode might show him and Nobody in the present day.
- Not a huge amount for either Rita, Larry or Cyborg to do this week but next episode it seems they'll have enough going on for them.
- Chronology: From where Danny Patrol left off.

Jane Patrol was another strong offering with a delirious look into the character's inner workings, a nice mixture of guest actors portraying her various personalities and along with Jane working through some of her own issues, we did get to see Cliff work through some of his own as well. It didn't advance much of the main plot like last week's didn't either but it still was one of the strongest episodes we've had this season.

Rating: 8 out of 10

Thursday, April 11, 2019

My Review of Legends Of Tomorrow's 4x10: "The Getaway"

Written by Matthew Maala & Ubah Mohammed
Directed by Viet Nguyen

Ray (to a Sheriff): "My friends and I are time travelers. We've kidnapped Nixon and we're headed to Disney World."

And on this show, you know that to be an absolute certainty. Road trip, anyone? Well, this week for our Motley crew that's what we got along with a kidnapped president and a truth bug that had most of our cast members revealing more than they actually wanted but nothing (except Mick's Fabio revelation) that was out of the way shocking for all involved.

It's not surprising that Sara is struggling with her latest break up with Ava and it was less surprising that a part of her blamed Mona for it as well. I guess it was better for the two of them to get that one out of the way along with Sara and John finding out that Mona was a Kaupe as well. I did like (but also expected) that Sara would be the one to talk Mona back into reverting to her normal form.

As for Mona, she's managed to earn herself a place on the Waverider for the remainder of the season and it's probably a good thing too considering the Time Bureau's desire to kill her at this rate. I'm still a little mixed on Mona as a character but I think she's improved a little bit since her introduction earlier in the season.

Of course with Mona being a regular now, this episode also marked a departure for Hank. I'm not too surprised that he didn't make it out of this season alive but I did think his death would've happened a little later in the season. Still though, the moment both him and Nate actually started to bond should've been the obvious signal for Hank not being much longer for the world. Then he chose his son over his work and that really cinched the deal.

I'm glad to see that Neron isn't wasting his time in showing how much of a nasty piece of work he can be but yet again, we're stuck in a situation where an innocent character is being blamed for a death. This time with Nate convinced that Nora murdered his father and the latter not getting a chance to point out her innocence.

Saying that, despite the predictable scenario, it was nice to see Nora back this week and I actually liked her and Gary working together to uncover more about Hank while Zari provided various roadblocks with Hank's pursuit of the Legends this week. On a negative note, it does seem like the show is massively gearing towards a Nate/Zari romance and to be honest, I'm not especially keen on the idea myself. I think they really do work better as friends.

Then there's Richard Nixon himself. Paul Ganus did an okay job in the role and the character was largely treated as a comedy sidepiece in a manner more OTT than the former President's depiction in Doctor Who back in 2011. Still, the truth bug did come close to improving old Dickie before the Legends had to ensure that his real history remained intact. 

- Charlie was mostly sidelined in this episode while Ava was a no show. I do hope Sara/Ava's latest break up isn't dragged out for too long though. Nora is also reading Mick's books. 
- Constantine having a surprisingly negative effect on Ray's sleeping patterns did actually surprise me but it makes sense. It's also nice that Mick isn't the only one who feels that way about John.
- Zari has a pretty good DJ voice. 
- Chronology: 1973 for most of this episode with the gang and Nixon.

The Getaway made for a good road trip episode with the show nicely ironing Mona's integration with the Legends while at the same time, upping the ante a little with Neron showing his bad self with Hank. Now we just need Neron and Constantine to actually face off with each other.

Rating: 7 out of 10

Monday, April 08, 2019

My Review of Doom Patrol's 1x08: "Danny Patrol"

Written by Tom Farrell
Directed by Dermott Downs

Maura Lee (to Darren): "Didn't your mama tell you never lay your hands on a woman?"

And the award for most fabulous episode so far goes to - well, this episode, if we're being honest. I should be used to the quirkiness of this show eight episodes in but this one really took (or more truthfully gave) the cake on how far the show can push being out there as possible. In other words: I loved it.

I wasn't hugely familiar with Danny the Street but the concept itself was executed pretty well given that in their quest to find Caulder (and still getting no closer than before), both Victor and Larry ended up taking a trip to Springfield, Ohio and landed on Danny where they soon met their lovely tour guide, the brilliantly named drag queen Maura Lee Karupt.

Focusing on Maura Lee Karupt for a bit. Easily the best guest character we've had so far with Alan Mingo Jr playing well with both Matt Bomer and Joivan Wade during their many scenes together and their backstory of being a member of the same agency (Bureau of Normalcy) who tormented Larry decades ago was a pretty good twist before embracing what Danny could do for them. After this episode, I'll be disappointed if we don't see Danny again.

There was something gratifying watching Maura Lee giving Darren the beatdown he had coming and watching Victor trying his best to bring out Larry's heroic was interesting too. I can see why Larry might not be ready but like Rita, I do think he's getting that bit closer to embracing the role and coming into his own.

Speaking of Rita, this week both her and Cliff were relegated into dealing with arguably Jane's worst personality yet - the rom com obsessed Karen, complete with love spell abilities. If you didn't hate rom coms beforehand, then two minutes with the overly chipper Karen will certainly put you off them for the rest of your life as she managed to charm both Doug and his family into thinking she was wife material for Doug.

Of course with Cliff around, things for Karen didn't really pan out so good as Jane's more caustic personality Hammerhead came out to play and nearly killed poor Doug to boot. Then the episode ended with Jane seemingly catatonic, so next week's installment should be more chaotic fun as Cliff will be forced to get inside her head to get Jane back.

- It's good to see that the gang are taking Jane's picture of doom from the last episode seriously as Cliff ripped the piss with Victor being a potential killer. I did like Cliff's little scene with the kid dressed as a robot.
- While Danny does seem to be afraid of Mr Nobody, at least they tried to give Victor a little clue to help find Niles. I can't wait to see how Niles and Danny first met.
- Standout music: Larry and Maura Lee's bloody fabulous duet of Kelly Clarkson's People Like Us. Any excuse to get Matt Bomer to sing is more than fine by me.
- Chronology: Larry had flashbacks to the Ant Farm in 1963 to help establish the Bureau of Normalcy.

Easily the best episode of the season. Making a sentient street into a reality on screen probably wasn't that tough but Danny Patrol definitely had a lot of fun with this concept and it brought out the best with Larry and Victor this week and you can bet I want to see both Danny and Maura Lee back before this season ends.

Rating: 9 out of 10

Saturday, April 06, 2019

My Review of Shazam! (2019)

Written by Henry Gayden & Darren Lemke
Directed by David F. Sandberg

Shazam: "Hey, what's up? I'm a superhero."

Who would've thought that the trajectory from both Justice League to Aquaman could have a positive effect on the general perception of the DCEU and following the latter's massive success, the question now was whether or not the seventh entry into this franchise would continue this newfound critical success or be a step backward. I'm happy to say, it's definitely the former here.

Largely set during Christmas, you've got a young Thaddeus Sivana (Ethan Pugiotto) in flashbacks being belittled by his older brother and father (John Glover) on a car drive before a chance encounter with the Wizard (Djimon Hounsou) sees him getting the chance to become a champion, only for the temptation of the Seven Deadly Sins to become too much for him and with that, a humiliating rejection from the Wizard and a change of events for his family.

Over forty years later, Sivana (Mark Strong) has become obsessed with getting power from the Seven Deadly Sins and after investigating various others rejected by the Wizard, he finds a way to get into the dimension to become the main antagonist of the movie. With the baddie sorted out, it was time for the Wizard to find himself his champion and that came in the form of foster kid, Billy Batson (Asher Angel).

Billy is our main hero of the piece and he's just a kid. A kid who lost his mother at a toy fair when he was much younger and has since then been running away from every foster home, until landing in his latest one, headed by the kindly Victor (Cooper Andrews) and Rosa Vasquez (Marta Milans) who also have other foster kids - Mary Bromfield (Grace Fulton), Eugene Choi (Ian Chen), Darla Dudley (Faithe Herman), Pedro Pena (Jovan Armand) and of course, the superhero savvy Freddy Freeman (Jack Dylan Grazer).

It's Freddy with whom Billy connects with first in his new surroundings and it's Freddy whom Billy also confides into when his encounter with the Wizard results in his transformation into the superhero Shazam (Zachary Levi) and seeing the two of them bond while figuring out the latter's abilities as a hero is what helps to anchor a lot of the movie. That and the fact that a lot of those scenes are played for absurd comedy that really works here. There are plenty of strong performances in this movie but naturally Zachary Levi, Asher Angel and Jack Dylan Grazer are the highlights throughout.

The theme of family is the dominating factor in this movie. The Wizard mourns the loss of his own siblings and refused to move on until finding his champion while Sivana's more dysfunctional relationship with his own family comes to a rather brutal end when he got his own abilities. Then there's Billy's quest to find his own mother, which ended on a rather sour note for him before he embraces his new family over the course of the film and with the latter, it did genuinely feel earned as well, making those moments all the more effective.

Then there's the family themselves. Normally you'd expect for Sandberg and the WB to wait until the sequel (which I think is a safe bet) to give the rest of the family their powers but this one didn't waste time in having Billy pass his powers and as a result, we got to see older versions of Freddy (Adam Brody), Mary (Michelle Borth), Pedro (DJ Cotrona), Darla (Meagan Good) and Eugene (Ross Butler) in order to help defeat both Sivana and the Seven Deadly Sins during the big climatic fight sequence.

In terms of baddies, both the DCEU and MCU have the common link of being hit and miss there. I think here though, Sivana was actually a pretty credible foe with clear motivation, a general sense of nastiness and theatricality while also played well by Mark Strong. CGI wise, the Seven Deadly Sins looked far better than say Doomsday or Steppenwolf from previous movies and of course, there's also another villain who managed to pop up as a sequel hook as well.

- The mid credit sequence saw Mister Mind (voiced by David F. Sandberg) making contact with Sivana in the latter's prison with the offer of more power to him.
- Post credit sequence saw Billy realising that he couldn't talk to fish while Freddy made the obvious references to Aquaman. Djimon Hounsou previously played the Fisherman King.
- The movie through it's closing animated credits and various newspaper clipping, props and Freddy's clothing made references to our main heroes, but we also got a Superman cameo in the last scene, albeit with a body double though.
- There was a brief cameo of other baddies, the Crocodile Men while the Wizard was clearly talking about Black Adam when lamenting over a previous champion who went mad with their powers.
- Standout music: Bing Crosby's Do You Hear What I Hear? Queen's Don't Stop Me Now, the use of the 1978 Superman theme, the Ramones I Don't Want To Grow Up and in general, Benjamin Wallfisch's score for the movie.
- Chronology: Christmas 1974 to begin Sivana's story with the Wizard and also Christmas 2019 in Philadelphia for the main story for Billy and his new family.

Shazam! is a triumph of a movie. It's literally got everything to be a perfect movie - a seasonal setting, a little bit of horror, some great comedy, character driven drama, a hero(es) worth rooting for and an equally compelling set of individual baddies to get invested into while the theme of family and diversity (including a possible gay character) feel organic, great use of music and wonderful references to past movies. This is a movie that might not have been released at the most perfect of times but it's one that deserves to be as big a hit as it can possibly be.

Rating: 9 out of 10

Thursday, April 04, 2019

My Review of Legends Of Tomorrow's 4x09: "Lucha de Apuestas"

Written by Keto Shimizu & Tyron B. Carter
Directed by Andrew Kasch

Mona (to Mick): "You were right, there is no such thing as happily ever after."

And this episode felt so lighthearted. I mean, I knew Mona's relationship with the Kaupe couldn't last if the show was going to keep her around as a regular but even I was a tad surprised by the end scene of this one, in spite of it being massively telegraphed.

This week two relationships came to an ending of sorts. Mona and Konane would've separated anyways as Mick's words about the two of them being from different worlds was enough to make her look at her relationship logically and try to break away from him before he was killed off and Mona revealed that she too was now a Kaupe by killing her boyfriend's killer.

This episode was pretty heavy on Mona as a character, which I suppose was fair enough as Charlie's introduction episode (the same one that debuted Mona) largely focused on her and while Mona is not my favourite new regular this season, I think Ramona Young carried the episode pretty well and worked with the Legends too, especially Mick, who unsurprisingly was mostly irritated by her even if he did give her some sound advice towards the end.

The action itself was also a nice change of scenery as the Kaupe had been hiding out in Mexico and winning wrestling contests as El Lobo while the history of El Cura was being sacrificed as a direct result. This put Constantine into fanboy mode as instead of wrecking a timeline like he did in the previous two episodes, he ended up fixing one by taking on the role of Cura's coach with predictably amusing results. The big brawl between Lobo, Cura, the Time Agents and everyone else was also the funniest moment of the episode with both Constantine and Charlie encouraging the chaos of it all.

On a serious note though - the episode didn't waste time in making the Legends aware of Hank torturing magical creatures despite their initial skepticism of Mona's claims and it was nice to see both Nate and Zari team up in order to keep a watchful eye on Hank. Saying that, I could've done without that cringey exchange where Nate's mother told Zari she had child bearing hips. I implore this show not to make Nate and Zari a thing, at least romantically.

As for Sara and Ava - did this episode just break them up again? I mean it's good for them to occasionally differ on their methods for dealing with this but this episode sort of regressed Ava to her earlier standoffish side in order to bring back that previous divide between the Time Bureau and the Legends. Hopefully though, it doesn't drag and I'm saying this as someone who's not generally too fussed about Avalance as a pairing.

- We briefly saw Mike the Spike again and Ray's brief flash card moment as acting captain gave us reminders of both Vandal Savage and Damien Darhk again.
- Gary got himself memory wiped when he tried and failed to bring in Mona. As you do. We can also add Mona to the growing list of people who has read Mick's books.
- Going by the trailer for next week, it does look like Nora will finally be back in the mix as well.
- Chronology: Mexico 1961 for a good portion of this episode.

After a four month break, Lucha de Apuestas might not be the strongest episode to come back with but it's a solid mid-season opener that probably depends on how you take to Mona as a character. I think to her credit, she does seem a decent fit with the Legends and it's nice that the gang are on to Hank and that Nate too isn't naively taken in by his father.

Rating: 7 out of 10