Tuesday, March 29, 2016

My Review of Gotham's 2x16: "Prisoners"

Written by Danny Cannon
Directed by Scott White

Oswald: "You have demons?"
Elijah: "Sadly I do. You too I fear."

Wow, this was a bit of a departure from the usual, wasn't it? You know you're watching something out of the ordinary when even the bulk of Gordon's storyline is genuinely compelling and sending him to Blackgate certainly managed to do that. I wasn't expecting myself to be that immersed in his scenes but there you go.

Yes, there was some predictability to be had - inmates who wanted to kick the crap out of him, making threatening comments about Leslie and a corrupt warden who seemed fine with the idea of Gordon not surviving the World's End wing but none of that took away from how great the storyline actually was.

First off all, Bullock's unwavering loyalty to Gordon reach new heights this week when he willingly broke the law and allied himself with Falcone (nice to see him again) in order to break Gordon out of Blackgate so the latter could clear his name. I was wondering when Falcone was going to resurface in the series and this was a good way of adding him back into the mix. As for Gordon, I really hope he does manage to clear his name (even if he can't implicate Nygma) by the end of the next episode.

Keeping with the prison, I also quite liked Puck as a guest character. I thought at first he might have been pretending to side up with Gordon to later betray but he was actually a nice guy and I found his death at the end rather poignant too. That's some great guest acting work there.

Of course, this episode wasn't completely focused on Gordon's spell in Blackgate. We also had Oswald getting to know his family of sorts and they're an odd bunch. I mean, Elijah turned out to be genuinely remorseful for abandoning Oswald and seemed eager to make things right with him. Grace, Sasha and Charles on the other hand were less charitable.

Keeping with the cliches, the three of them were with Elijah for the money and their attempts to kill off Oswald only resulted in the latter being done in rather quickly than they expected. I really liked that Elijah wasn't a bad man and seemed genuinely sympathetic towards Oswald's darker impulses. I also get the feeling that his death is going to be the thing to break Strange's conditioning on Oswald pretty soon, especially when he finds out who murdered his father.

Also in "Prisoners"

Leslie lost the baby. I genuinely wasn't expecting that to happen but I guess the writers need a reason to write out her character for a few episodes.

Warden (to Gordon): "Follow the rules and perhaps you'll survive. Break them and you certainly won't."

For a moment, I thought Nygma was going to let slip to Bullock that he was involved in framing Gordon. 

Oswald: "Believe me, I've done bad things."
Elijah: "We're all sinners my boy."

Oswald: "To be fair, I never raped anybody."
Grace: "Oh, that's a mercy, now isn't it?"

Sasha's attempts of seducing Oswald were daft. The fact that Charles offered to do it - does that possibly mean we finally have a gay male character on this show?

Oswald (to Sasha): "Restrain yourself woman. I'm practically your brother, what are you thinking?"

Bullock: "You have every right to tell me to go to hell but I got no-one else to turn to."
Falcone: "You know Harvey, it's rude to wear a hat indoors."

No Bruce, Selina, Alfred, Barnes, Leslie, Butch, Tabitha or Barbara in this episode.

Grace (re Oswald): "The vermin has to go."
Charles: "But he likes it here. How can we persuade him to go?"

Chronology: A few weeks since the end of Mad Grey Dawn.

Something of a departure episode, Prisoners was a nice little shake up from the normal stuff with both Gordon and Oswald getting their moments to shine. I actually having episodes that are lighter with the cast could be a good thing, especially if they're as great as this one.

Rating: 9 out of 10

Saturday, March 26, 2016

Game Of Thrones - Season 5 Review

US Airdate: April 12th - June 14th 2015

Changing Events: In this season alone, the writers had found themselves at a point where catching up with the books hadn't been an obstacle. It was a case of doing some things differently along the way too. This season mostly followed some of the events seen in A Feast For Crows and A Dance With Dragons but there was also some deviation from the material that was truly noteworthy. Some of this worked better than others did admittedly.

Sansa's storyline for example was merged in with both Theon and Ramsay's scheme to rule Winterfell and considering how that played out in the books, involving Sansa in this storyline actually seemed like a smart idea at the time. Then that wedding happened past the halfway point of the season and the audience's tolerance for this show's penchant for strong violence finally snapped in a big way.

With the absence of Joffrey, Ramsay really has emerged as the most deplorable villain of the bunch and his mistreatment of Sansa certainly upped the ante. On the plus side, at least Sansa was finally able to get away from him even she had foolishly rejected Brienne's help at the start of the season. As for Theon, yeah, still don't really care for him that much but he had some alright moments in the season.

Then there was Daenerys and Tyrion. Bringing these two characters together was a stroke of genius and the episodes leading to it with both Tyrion and Jorah as a grudging team was also a genius moment but naturally things went a little to pot during the finale when Dany herself managed to reunite with the Dothraki and they kind of seemed a little less than welcoming to see her. Dany has had stronger seasons and moments and while her affair with Daario is far from thrilling, at least she was spared a dull marriage to an even less engaging character.

Keeping with the great team ups, I loved seeing both Jaime and Bronn heading to Dorne in order to get Myrcella back (less said about the better), even if Oberyn's daughters, the Sand Snakes and Ellaria were less than exciting characters to watch onscreen. Still, it was a good team as was the one with Brienne and Podrick, even if those two were largely kept out of the main action until the finale.

As for Arya, well she had a learning curve in this season following her entry into the house of black and white. Arya's been getting colder and colder with each passing season but the way things panned out for her following her murder on Meryn Trant, Arya might have finally bitten off more than she can chew for a change.

Cersei was also someone who massively bit off more than she could chew this season. Her attempts of getting rid of Maergary and Loras with the Faith and Jonathan Price's pious High Septon led to the show keeping with the controversial walk of shame scene in the finale but it was also the first time that Cersei genuinely had to suffer consequences for her many misdeeds. In a lot of ways this season really was Lena Headey and she truly excelled as Cersei's downfall really came into the fore.

Then there was the Wall stuff. Not hugely compelling, other than Stannis truly losing the plot and sacrificing his own child before meeting a well deserved death along with the possible demise of Jon Snow and the events of Hardhome. I'm not sure where they'll go next season if Snow isn't brought back but at least Sam and Gilly had the sense to get out of there.


Again there are commentaries for the majority of the episodes (some with more than one) from various cast and crew members but there are also a smattering of other enticing features focusing on the poisons of Westeros, the set designs, Dorne (both weapons and an introduction to the place), a showcases of the locations for the season, new characters, trailers and a recap on the previous season. Once again, there's a wealth of stuff to enjoy.


5x01: The Wars To Come 7/10, 5x02: The House Of Black And White = 8/10,
5x03: High Sparrow = 8/10, 5x04: Sons Of Harpy = 8/10,
5x05: Kill The Boy = 7/10, 5x06: Unbowed, Unbent, Unbroken = 9/10,
5x07: The Gift = 9/10, 5x08: Hardhome = 8/10,
5x09: The Dance With Dragons = 9/10, 5x10: Mother's Mercy = 10/10

Season 5 is currently available on DVD.

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

When We Rise - Cast Announcement

While there are still a few more members to be confirmed for Dustin Lance Black's LGBT rights miniseries, When We Rise for ABC, the casting announced so far though is impressive.

Best known for her roles in The West Wing, Weeds and Angels In America, Mary Louise Parker has been cast in the role as women's right leader Roma Guy with Emily Skeggs playing a younger version of the character.

Playing the role of Roma's wife and social justice activist will be Rachel Griffiths, best known for her roles on Six Feet Under and Brothers & Sisters. Griffiths will take on the role of Diane with Fiona Dourif playing a younger version as well in the eight hour miniseries.

Also heading up the cast is Memento's Guy Pearce as LGBT activist Cleve Jones (Austin McKenzie playing a younger version of the character) while Jonathan Majors will play a younger version of African-American community organiser Ken Jones while former True Blood actress Carrie Preston will take on the role of gay rights activist Sally Gearhart as well as Teen Wolf's Charlie Carver in the role of Michael. The roles of an older version of Ken Jones and transgender activist Cecelia Chung are still to be cast, among a few others. That being said though, casting so far for this miniseries is seriously impressive. I'll post about the remaining cast and airdate when the information is made public. The miniseries is executive-produced by Black, Laurence Mark, Bruce Cohen and Gus Van Sant for ABC.

Casting Information: http://www.playbill.com/article/mary-louise-parker-emily-skeggs-rachel-griffiths-cast-in-when-we-rise

An airdate has yet to be confirmed on ABC for When We Rise.

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

My Review of Gotham's 2x15: "Mad Grey Dawn"

Written by Robert Hull
Directed by Nick Copus

Elijah (re Gertrude): "She never told me."
Oswald: "Told you what?"
Elijah: "That I had a son."

If there's one thing that can be said about this episode, it's certainly that it wasn't an eventful one. In fact, I think this might be the most eventful episode Gotham has ever done because so much actually happened here that I have to process things.

First of all, Nygma went into full Riddler mode, setting up traps, bombs and question marks to bamboozle Gordon and coupled with the bloody death of Pinkney, Gordon is now looking at a forty year stretch in Blackgate. Jeez, Ed - Gordon didn't even suspect you in the first place. Maybe you should've until after he had his conversation with you before embarking on his downfall, huh?

While I'm still mixed on Nygma's transformations (love the riddle/question mark bit, hate the serial killing aspect they're going with), this was certainly an interesting episode for Cory Michael Smith as Ed tilted further and further into the dark side. As for Gordon - I should feel bad for him but let's be honest, he's not going to be prison for long. He'll probably be freed by next week, not to mention the fact that he has both Bullock and Leslie on his side even if he was annoyingly defeatist by the end of this one.

As for Barnes - he might be right about Gordon killing Galavan but he seemed way too quick to believe that Gordon was capable of murdering another cop. Can we please just lose Barnes as a character? I keep saying it and only because it's true, the guy literally adds nothing to the show and all he's done is actually make me miss Essen even more. I hope he's gone by the finale if not before then.

Gordon's arrest also contributed to another interesting factor - Barbara finally waking up. Yup, Sleeping Beauty managed to snap out of it and given that we've got seven episodes left this season, I'm curious where they're going to go with her. Will Barbara be more evil than ever or do we have a redemption storyline in the works? Then again, she's also due an appointment with Hugo Strange too, which should be fun.

Keeping with the fun, Bruce is certainly adapting to the mean streets pretty well with Selina. This week he saw Ivy at work with magic mushrooms and took a beating from Butch's irritating nephew Sonny (please do not recur that character) all while throwing further hints to Selina about his imminent future.

Then there was Oswald himself. The scene where he was trying to be peaceful with Butch and Tabitha was certainly odd but I did like him trying to advise Nygma away from violence and anger, even if it didn't work. As for the meeting of his father Elijah and new family, well, I'm not expecting happy families in spite of the talk of it towards the end of this episode.

Also in "Mad Grey Dawn"

The title of the episode came from one of the paintings that Nygma wrecked at the start of this one. Art heist - Batman 1989 anyone?

Barnes: "Lies, huh? Tell me the truth again."
Gordon: "I didn't kill Galavan. I wasn't there."

Paul Reubens previously played the Penguin's father in the opening scene for Batman Returns. I love history repeating itself here. Oswald's 31 by the way.

Nygma: "I have the utmost faith in your abilities, Detective Gordon."

Butch (re Oswald): "He's a pathetic loser. He doesn't pose a threat to anyone."
Tabitha: "Are you serious? No way, he has to die."

Tabitha is so going to pay for mocking Oswald's mother. She's smart enough to know Oswald is still a danger and Butch should've listened to her.

Oswald: "I'm here to tell you, Ed as a friend, violence and anger are not the answer. I'm a changed man, better. You can change too."

Sonny: "The Gilzeans are all about consequences."
Selina: "More like all about pizza."

Oswald: "Sir, please tell me truthfully, is this a dream?"
Elijah: "Not a dream my boy, you're home."

No Alfred in this episode. I'm actually surprised that he seems to be obeying Bruce's wishes. I thought he'd be spying on him from afar.

Selina (re Gordon): "You okay?"
Bruce: "This isn't right. This can't be right."
Selina: "Tell me something that is."

Chronology: There was a four week time jump in this episode between Gordon getting arrested and then sent to Blackgate.

Mad Grey Dawn certainly lived up to the first word of the title. I don't think we've had an episode this busy since the very first one and it certainly went into some interesting places. Oswald's new found family have good potential while Nygma's descent into Riddler territory is heating up nicely enough along with Bruce embracing his destiny.

Rating: 8 out of 10

Saturday, March 19, 2016

Recap/Review: How To Get Away With Murder's 2x15: Anna Mae

And for this finale we've solved one murder mystery, set up another one for next season, revealed a massive betrayal and spent some time with Annalise's family.

Written by Pete Nowalk
Directed by Bill D'Elia

The Homecoming: In an almost unusual change of pace, the majority of Annalise's scenes in this episode were actually in Memphis where she was staying with her mother, reconnecting with her siblings and be heavily wary of her father's motives while interacting with Nate and confessing to her mother about losing a baby. The last scene lead to a truly poignant moment in the back garden between Annalise and Ophelia and if you thought that Viola Davis and Cicely Tyson worked well last season, they're even better to watch again in this episode. I genuinely enjoyed all of the scene with Annalise and her family this week but there was also a mystery to finally put to bed and this episode thankfully did that.

He's The Killer: As in Caleb and not Philip - the latter of whom conveyed this information to Annalise. Caleb also killed his racist aunt and he was the one informing on the Keating lot as well. However while Caleb was revealed as the murdered and Catherine/Philip probably freed, he didn't actually get sent down. Instead he killed himself in the bathtub but after 15 episodes, at least this storyline has finally been put to rest, even if Michaela felt stupid for massively misjudging Caleb though.

Carrying That Guilt: Keeping with mysteries, for those who were curious as to how Sam was able to coerce Frank into murdering Lila, this episode enlightened us on that one. It seemed that Frank was paid to bug Annalise's hotel room and then Mahoney arranged for her to be hit, causing the death of her baby. While Bonnie filled Annalise in on this little fact, Frank did a runner by the end of the episode. Conveniently around the same time as something else pretty major happened.

I'm Your Son: History really does have a habit of repeating itself, doesn't it? We witnessed his mother dying and now he witness his father getting shot right in front of him. It obviously could've been Frank in a twisted way to make amends to Annalise. More than likely it's going to be someone else but either way, Wallace Mahoney's death will definitely be the ongoing mystery strand for the first half of next season.

Naughty, Naughty: I'm not sure what the writers intend to do with Asher and Michaela and while it doesn't bother me as such, it does still comes across as a bit random though. Then there was Frank finding out about Laurel and Wes's brief kiss and Oliver sabotaging Connor's attempts of getting into Stanford, which wasn't his best move. I have a feeling that Oliver's new found thrill seeking is going to backfire on him spectacularly next season, especially now that Conrad Ricamora has been elevated to regular status.

The show will be back on ABC from late September for it's third season.

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Slash: The Movie - A Perspective On The Genre

Note, this is not a review of the movie but more of an analysis of some unfair backlash I've seen in relation to the actual movie itself. For those of you who don't have a clue what I'm talking about, I'll soon enlighten you.

Written and directed by Clay Liford and screened at SXSW (South by Southwest) last weekend, Slash is a coming of age movie focusing on a teenager named Neil Shafer aka Van_Fan_42 (Teen Wolf's Michael Johnston) who is into writing slash fiction for a galaxy hero character named Vanguard and it's a secret that becomes public knowledge within the film as Neil befriends a fellow slash fiction fan in Julia (Hannah Marks, Awkward) who actively encourages him to write his material online and find himself attending some fanfiction conventions, hosted by Denis (Michael Ian Black). Other cast members in this movie include Jessie Ennis, Peter Vark, Missi Pyle, Sarah Ramos, Nate Rubin and Ben J. Pierce.

Fanfiction has often gets an unfairly bad rap and over the years a certain book/movie franchise that shall not be named hasn't exactly helped portray it in a positive light either but having seen the trailer for this little movie, I have to admit that I'm actually looking forward to it. It seems charming, has a likeable lead character/protagonist and it's one of the rare times that slash fiction is actually looked at from a male perspective, so the comments from a certain fandom reporter in relation to the movie actually irked me and motivated me into writing this article and promoting this movie.

According to this reporter, while they liked certain elements of the movie, they didn't seem to like the idea that the notion of slash fiction was actually given a male perspective. Considering that the majority of slash fiction is male characters/often real life people written into sexual situations with other men regardless of their own orientation and so on, I think it's actually a lot more interesting that this movie is focusing on a male perspective instead of the usually known female perspective of the genre. Last time I checked, a lot of men (myself included) have read, enjoyed or even written slash itself.

However this fandom reporter and some of their followers seemed to take exception to the movie's outlook on a genre they feel specifically belongs to them. I'm not trying to be mean or harsh here but seeing as the subject matters usually tends to be men in this particular genre, I actually find myself quite annoyed by the prospect that according to this reporter, another point of view of the genre cannot be explored. More ludicrously is the assumption that going with a male perspective for a film like Slash is somehow the eqivalent of erasing any female involvement within the genre, an accusation that holds no credibility as the movie acknowledges female slash writers with the Julia character of the piece. Simply put, slash as a genre isn't just for women and given that the genre tends to fetishise gay men to a certain point, maybe it's actually a good thing to see a movie that actually focuses on it from a male perspective for once. Aside from the slash element, there's also the coming of age and friendship themes between the main protagonists as well to give the movie that extra boost.

I'm linking the official site to this movie where there's a tonne of cool content and some great interactive stuff too as well as interviews and insight from cast and crew members. I'm also providing a link to the official YouTube channel where there is one video of the cast reading slash fiction that should be seen.

Official Site: http://slashthemovie.com/
YouTube Site: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCvmpkF5D2Q4e6ASTEy6CuzA/videos?sort=dd&shelf_id=0&view=0

Slash is looking for more distribution but fingers crossed, it'll become available within the next few months.

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

My Review of Gotham's 2x14: "This Ball Of Mud And Meanness"

Written by Jordan Harper
Directed by John Behring

Jeri (to Gordon): "You are a lot less fun than advertised."

This episode on the other hand was a lot better than advertised. I'd even go far as to say that it might be the best episode of Gotham's second season so far and we still have another eight episodes to go. Why was it so good? Let's count the ways, shall we?

First of all, I never had any doubt that for all his determination that Bruce wasn't going to go through with killing Matches Malone. Just like last week we had Selina, Alfred, Gordon and even Jeri (more on her in a bit) challenge Bruce's supposed killer instinct but none of the above could stop him from facing off Matches. Jeri herself even lead Bruce directly to Matches's run down little apartment and there's where the best scene happened in this episode.

Bruce got to Matches's place with the intention of murdering but not before Matches gave him a rundown on the ways he's killed people, the rates he has for killing men, women and children (not babies though, even Matches has limits) and when confronted about killing Thomas and Martha Wayne, Matches lets Bruce do most of the talking before adding his own bit into things.

The way the episode played out it seems more that Matches might have known who killed the Waynes rather than having done it himself. He did however challenge Bruce's killer instinct and while it was predictable that Bruce couldn't kill Matches, it didn't stop the latter from ending his own life. As for Gordon, he seemed curious about who hired Matches to bump off Thomas and Martha compared to Bullock being less than interested in things.

The end of this episode though did genuinely surprise me. Having Bruce leave home to live with Selina in the streets as part of his future Bat training was a nice twist. The episode might have really hammered home Bruce's future but I don't care. The whole plot really came alive and even with the limitations of what they can realistically do with Bruce's training at this stage, this is still an interesting turn of events.

As for Gordon - did anyone else like how both Jeri and Nygma seemed to have his number this week? Jeri is this half of the season's hint of a possible Joker in waiting and Lori Petty is brilliant during her scene with both Bruce and Gordon, especially when she called the latter out on being less fun than advertised. She also survived the episode so hopefully another appearance isn't too far off because like Jerome, she was a lot of fun to watch here.

As for Nygma - paranoia really does bring out his twisted side, doesn't it? With both Leslie and Gordon realising that something isn't right with Kringle's absence, Ed spent most of this episode not so quietly seething about Gordon closing in on him. I like that they're delving into the Riddler side of things with Nygma but it also reminds me of the fact that I hated them making him into a serial killer as well.

Last but not least - anyone else find it a little too convenient that Oswald became a free man after passing a few of Hugo's insane tests? I'm not complaining by the way. Three episodes of Oswald in Arkham is more than enough and Hugo did hint at a long game he had for Oswald, something which even Peabody seemed sceptical about as well. Now Oswald has to do is take Butch and Tabitha down and reclaim Gotham for himself.

Also in "This Ball Of Mud And Meanness"

Given the title of this episode, did anyone else think this might have been a Clayface origin story? Just me then.

Bruce: "That's too much."
Cupcake: "The boy's cheap."

I found Mr Cupcake an amusing side character and was it me or did Jeri's look seem like a mash up of both the Joker and Harley Quinn? Jeri also had the Maniax playing in the background during her performance too.

Oswald: "I want to be normal. I want to be good. You must think I'm lying to you."
Hugo: "No. I can tell when somebody's lying to me."

Nygma: "So that's the game is it, Jimbo? Trying to outsmart me? Play me for a fool? I don't think so!"

Along with Nygma really signalling his move into Riddler territory, there was also a Crane reference from Hugo Strange during Oswald's 'therapy' scenes.

Jeri: "Hi Bruce. What took you so long?"

Matches: "You're kind of young to be putting out a contract."
Bruce: "I'm old enough."

Speaking of the Maniax, we saw one of them again, didn't we? The guy who didn't like Oswald having ice cream.

Jeri: "Everybody knows about your temper."
Gordon: "This isn't about me. There's a kid out there in danger."

Bruce: "Who hired you?"
Matches: "Maybe nobody did. Maybe I just saw some rich suckers."

No Barbara, Butch, Barnes or Tabitha in this episode. We did briefly see Mama Kapelput at the start of the episode though.

Oswald: "I'm sane?"
Hugo: "You're as sane and normal as any other citizen."

Chronology: Two years since the "Pilot" episode according to Bruce during his confrontation with Matches.

I absolutely loved this episode. This Ball Of Mud And Meanness really felt like a true turning point moment for Bruce and it showed just how great David Mazouz can be in the role when given the right material to work with. Jeri might not be a future Joker but like Jerome before her, she's a character I really want to see once again though.

Rating: 9 out of 10

Saturday, March 12, 2016

Recap/Review: How To Get Away With Murder's 2x14: There's My Baby

Penultimate episode and was it me, or did it feel like a finale? Maybe if they drew a line under the Hapstall case it would've been, but dammit, a lot really did happen here.

Written by J.C. Lee & Erika Harrison
Directed by Stephen Williams

The Loss Of A Son: Last week we saw Rose kill herself and this week we saw the death of Annalise's unborn son following a car crash as she was determined to get back at Wallace Mahoney and his role in Rose's suicide. Viola Davis has always been incredible and this episode she was absolutely stunning as Annalise and Sam had to cope with the death of their child in flashbacks while in the present day, she fought off Philip, confessed everything to Wes, dealt with both Eve and Nate and then went to her mother in the final scene of the episode. Some truly incredible acting from Viola throughout this episode.

He Knows Everything: It might have taken 29 episodes, but throughout them Wes now knows exactly happened to his mother (when he wasn't venting his anger at Laurel) as Annalise not only told him about how Rose really died but also that the rather horrible Wallace Mahoney is his father, which means we'll be seeing that unpleasant character in the present day at some point. I like that they've moved forward with that storyline but it does make you wonder if this was the original intention with Annalise and Wes all along, story wise.

Bad People In Common: Well, because of Sam and Annalise, both Frank and Bonnie have murdered people - Lila and Rebecca and in this episode, both of them had the opportunity to call the other out on their respective kills. Bonnie also managed to figure that it was Sam who ordered the hit on Lila with little prompting from Frank as well. I also liked the flashbacks with Frank calling Annalise out on her mistreatment of him and Bonnie having therapy with Sam to deal with her esteem issues. The flashbacks in this second half have been interesting, especially as we also had Sam and Eve briefly interact with each other in flashback too.

The Hook Up: Oh ABC, sometimes you really do oversell a moment. Asher and Michaela hooking up with each other came across as more random than actually shocking. Saying that, I would've been furious if it had been Connor/Michaela and Connor/Asher just would've come across as fan pandering as well, so I'm cool with Asher/Michaela for the time being. It's no worse than Laurel/Wes now is it? Still though, it was a little jarring considering that Michaela spent most of this episode freaking out about Caleb disappearing. Speaking of which, anyone else find that a tad suspect?

Carpe Diem: We haven't had that many Connor/Oliver moments in the second half of this season so in a lot of ways, this episode was a blessing. Not only did Oliver get to witness Annalise drunk and ranting but he got a little spooked by Laurel blaming Frank for shooting Annalise but he also reminded Connor that he's stronger than the latter thinks he is and he also quit his job. This was basically a great episode for these two.

Next week, it's the finale and the resolution to the Hapstall case once and for all.

Friday, March 11, 2016

My Review of Legends Of Tomorrow's 1x08: "Night Of The Hawk"

Written by Sarah Nicole Jones & Cortney Norris
Directed by Joe Dante

Sara (to Stein, re Lindsay): "That's the thing that sucks about feelings is that you realise how much you can hurt someone or get hurt."

Okay, in some ways this episode felt like an after school special but if you're going to do a show about time travel, then it's not unreasonable to have episodes that explore less enlightened times and this one decided to tackle racism, sexuality and sexism in one fell swoop. The results were pretty interesting to be honest.

Going with the latter two first - Sara found herself having to play nurse to Stein's doctor at a local asylum in Oregon in the latest attempt to take out Vandal Savage once and for all. Sara's not exactly the shy and retiring type so she wasn't best impressed with sexist doctors but she was very much impressed with a certain nurse named Lindsay Carlisle (Ali Liebert) in this one.

Although we saw Sara's relationship with Nyssa during her time on Arrow, I think this was the first time in which she even referenced herself as not being straight when herself and Jackson were highlighting the negative aspects of the time period they were in with Stein. It's an interesting little scene as they both raised valid points.

Sara's moments with Lindsay ended up being an awakening for both characters though. On one hand, the episode talked about Lindsay having to hide sexuality but on the other hand, we also saw Sara freak out a little as it was her first time being intimate with someone since her resurrection but things did end on a far nicer note with Sara and Lindsay mutually rescuing each other and unlike The 100, no LGBT female character died as a result. Sorry for that.

Of course with Sara experiencing a sexual reawakening, both Kendra and Jax experience some bouts of racism during their stay in 1958. Kendra got to play house with Ray but had to deal with some ignorance from two of her new neighbours while also trying to stop Savage by herself as well. Kendra's plan nearly worked but for another day, Savage managed to slip out of the team's grasp.

As for Jax, he really did get the short straw of all the characters this week. While Rip and Cold got to play gumshoe detectives, Jax had to deal with intolerant bigots while attempting to help the more open minded Betty and to make things just as bad also got turned into a bird type of creature courtesy of Savage's experiments as well. On the plus side, at least Stein was able to cure him.

However it was the final few moments of the episode that really ramped up the excitement. The Waverider got hijacked by Chronos and his team and Sara, Ray and Kendra ended up being stranded in 1958, which makes the title for the next episode pretty damn appropriate too. As for Cold - he really is shaping up to be a hero but the ambiguity as to what happened to Heatwave also lingered in this episode too.

- Curtis Knox, the alias that Savage used in this episode was also character that Dean Cain played in Smallville. Nice little shout out there.
- The more they talk about Mick, the more convinced that I am he's alive. Snart obviously didn't or couldn't kill him.
- There were a couple of terms like "Ninja" and "serial killer" that were not around in the time period of this episode.
- The show won't be back until March 31st for it's remaining eight episodes.

This episode might not have said anything too new on the issues it raised but I did like how topical Night Of The Hawk attempted to be and the cliffhanger it left us with should have some interesting repercussions when it returns.

Rating: 8 out of 10

Thursday, March 10, 2016

Journey To The Underworld

It's been a while since I've done this but here's a look at some of the shows I've recently caught up on ....

Arrow: Sky1 are now currently airing the more recent episodes but I was impatient and did something of a catch up of my own. A couple of things - a) most of the flashbacks are still dull b) the Olicity stuff only works in small doses which is why I don't care too much for their break up and c) they certainly resolved the William storyline a little quickly, didn't they? On the other hand, the death of Amanda Waller, brief appearance of Vixen, Nyssa vs. Malcolm and the introduction of Damian's equally ruthless wife certainly added to the show during the last few episodes. It's also become increasingly clear whom the dead body is going to be as well, isn't it?

Once Upon A Time: The show has been off the air for nearly three months and given how disappointing and even terrible in places the first half of Season 5 was, I was relieved that the 100th episode actually delivered. Not only did we see a few familiar faces (Neal, James, Henry Sr, Pan, Blind Witch, Cora, etc) but this whole plot with the Underworld is actually a step up from the dull Dark One/Arthur plots and Hades is a far more charismatic villain than Arthur ever was in one brief scene alone. I'm really hoping now that the show has properly gotten it's groove back as this episode was a nice way of celebrating a landmark and returning the show to form.

Supergirl: With a certain crossover imminent, the last few episodes have been having their own fun in playing around with other things. We've had episodes adapting infamous comic strips from Kara's more famous cousin to good success, the death of Astra, the ending of Jimmy and Lucy's relationship, not to mention Maxwell Lord taken down temporarily as a threat, a brief encounter with Indigo, the arrival of Siobhan Smythe (who'll become Silver Banshee any episode now) and more moments for both Alex and Hank to shine. The show has certainly gotten more and more enjoyable during it's second half.

The Flash: And this show on the other hand has truly excelled itself. Okay, the episode with King Shark was a bit filler except for the reveal of Zoom's identity but the episodes focusing on Earth 2, along with the introduction of Killer Frost were definitely a high point in this show's second season. I like that we got to see Caitlin (well, a version of her) as that character and I really liked seeing Barry, Cisco and Iris's counterparts from that world as well. The Zoom stuff is moving along at a good pace too and it'll be great when the gang finally find out who they've been fighting all along.

The X Files: This revival has been interesting to see unfold. Within six episodes we were able to get back into Mulder and Scully's world and it genuinely felt like they had never left the screen and considering the ratings smash this was for FOX, it's a matter of when we'll see an eleventh season rather than if. I have to admit out of the six episodes, it was the Were Monster one that stuck with me the most for it's sheer absurdity. The finale wasn't bad as such but the show has done better ones and the cliffhanger was a frustrating moment. Still though, it might not be long before we see Mulder and Scully again.

- Pete Ploszec has bagged a recurring role as mysterious teacher Garrett Douglas for Teen Wolf's sixth season.
- Once Upon A Time has been picked up for a sixth season, Agents Of Shield a fourth season and How To Get Away With Murder a third one.
- Supergirl has also been picked up for a second season by CBS.
- Both Lady Gaga and Angela Bassett have been confirmed for the sixth season of American Horror Story.
- Augustus Prew, Rick Yune and Steve Mouzakis have been cast in major recurring roles for the upcoming Prison Break revival.
- Teddy Sears has joined the cast for 24: Legacy.
- Jonathan Groff and Anna Torv has been cast in leading roles for upcoming Netflix show, Mindhunter.
- Sky1 have cancelled You, Me And The Apocalypse.

Tuesday, March 08, 2016

My Review of Gotham's 2x13: "A Dead Man Feels No Cold"

Written by Seth Boston
Directed by Eagle Egilsson

Victor: "I should have died with Nora. This all should have ended."
Hugo: "Then take this opportunity, Victor. Pretend that you did die. Death is not an ending. Death is a new beginning."

Well, this one certainly played with canon in a different. I mean, sure, Gotham has been doing that since it's pilot episode but every now and then you get a moment or two where that really sinks in and this episode provided two of them with the outcomes for both Victor and Nora Fries.

The show went down the predictable route of using both Nora and Arkham Asylum as a means of smoking Victor out - a plan this time round thought up by Barnes, agreed by Gordon and rightfully ridiculed by both Bullock and Leslie and just as predictably, things went as bad as they could for everyone.

Not only did GCPD fail to actually get Victor but the latter also managed to get both Nora and Leslie and head back to his own place in order to save his wife. Of course, the subversion happened when Nora decided to take her own life and Victor's attempts of doing the same thing resulted in a stay in Indian Hill and a total transformation as well.

It's interesting that the writers went this route for Freeze's storyline but I'm intrigued by it too. Hugo manipulating Victor along the way, including their encounter during the closing moments of this episode has managed to set up some chaos for later episodes. Victor's outcome is tragic but it's one that Strange clearly intends to use to his advantage.

Speaking of Strange, he was a bigger presence in this episode but so was his assistant, Peabody who is just as creepy as he is. Her unpleasant demeanour, especially during her scenes with Oswald highlighted that she wasn't someone to be messed with too. Keeping with Oswald for a moment, this whole faking insanity thing has well and truly backfired on him.

As for the rest of the episode, we had some domestics with both Gordon and Leslie as the former was a patronising arse about the latter endangering herself while the latter rightfully called the former out on his lying bullshit. Personally I was on Leslie's side more in this episode than I was on Gordon's.

As for Bruce - the quest to become a crusader is certainly taking shaping but right now, he's more motivated in actually killing Patrick 'Matches' Malone than letting the law do their duty. In this episode alone we had Leslie, Alfred and Selina all trying and failing to talk some sense into him. I do think in spite of his anger, Bruce isn't actually going to go through with his plan though.

Also in "A Dead Man Feels No Cold"

Nora and Leslie made some very obvious parallels to both Victor and Gordon throughout the episode.

Bruce: "I wasn't scared."
Leslie: "No? What did you feel?"
Bruce: "I felt alive. Intensely alive."

Barbara made a brief comatose appearance where Leslie got to call her a "bitch" and Peabody referred to her as "Sleeping Beauty".

Bullock: "I'll let you tell Lee we're taking her patient to the nuthouse."
Gordon: "She'll understand."

Inmate: "You're a goose."
Oswald: "No, I'm not. I'm a Penguin."

At the end of the episode, not only did we see Theo in a tank but I really think we saw Jerome in one beside him too.

Oswald: "It's mental torture."
Gordon: "It's therapy."

Nora (to Leslie, re Victor): "He's not an evil man. He believes the good of saving me outweighs the bad of his actions."

No Nygma, Butch or Tabitha in this episode. I wish we had also lost Barnes as he truly grated in his one scene this week.

Selina (re Matches): "So you're gonna kill him?"
Bruce: "Yeah."

Hugo (to Peabody): "The beauty of life can spring forth from even the harshest of climates. We need to be more aggressive in our treatment."

Chronology: Not far from where Mr Freeze left off.

A solid episode with an interesting change of events. I quite liked some of the subversion that A Dead Man Feels No Cold offered and Victor's transformation at the end of the episode is arguably one of the least severe looks for the character but still worked. The Gordon/Leslie scenes though dragged this week but overall, another good episode.

Rating: 7 out of 10

Monday, March 07, 2016

Recap/Review: How To Get Away With Murder's 2x13: Something Bad Happened

Again, apologies for the delay with this recap/review. Things should be more on track for the last two episodes but I have now caught up with this episode and it was certainly a great one.

Written by Michael Foley & Warren Hsu Leonard
Directed by Zetna Fuentes

Genuine Shocker: As in we found what exactly happened to Rose and we still have two episodes left to go. Last week, it did look like she had been murdered by Wes/Christophe and while that would've been easy, would it have been satisfying? I don't know but what I do know is that between Annalise/Eve and Papa Mahoney (who really is an absolute prick of a character), Rose actually ended up killing herself in front of Annalise, who freaked the fuck out and left the woman to die as Christophe had the misfortune of seeing his mother's last few moments. It certainly helped to explain a lot about Wes as Rose's death was finally made apparent.

The Truth Won't Set You Free: Wes spent most of this episode again avoiding Annalise, being actively pissed off at Laurel for betraying his confidence while trying to convince his therapist that he might have killed his own mother. Of course by the end of the episode, Wes had had enough and decided to get some answers from Eve while Annalise had to deal with Philip, who just happened to be waiting for her it would seem. I do like that they revealed the Rose storyline but with two episodes left, we still have some other stuff to get through.

Motherhood Calling: In flashbacks, we saw Annalise roping in Eve to apply some pressure in order to get Rose to testify for Charles. In the present day, Eve got a surprise visit from Wes at her lobby. Back in flashbacks though we got more of an exploration of Annalise and Eve's relationship was explored. Annalise did pull out the 'I'm no gay' card, which was fine but couldn't they address the possibility of her being bisexual though? Eve on the other hand clearly wasn't over the moon that her ex was expecting a son with Sam but she was supportive enough. I'm starting to think that Annalise ended up faking a miscarriage and that she had her baby adopted instead. Then again, with two episodes left, anything could happen on this show.

Sleepover At Asher's: Yup, that happened and between Asher dressing up as a naff mascot, serving up lunchables or whatever it was and trolling the shit out of Laurel (bad timing, dude), it was an oddly light experience. There was some moments of snark with Oliver thinking the gang were overreacting and both Connor and Michaela had some nice moments as well when Annalise was telling them not to drop themselves in it for exchange of immunity after handing over Connor's laptop to Denver in order to smoke Philip out. As the last moment of the episode showed, we all saw how that particularly turned out.

Better Lives Beforehand: Frank and Bonnie at a bar mulling over things before the Keating Five brought carnage into their work place. It was actually a nice character moment between the two of them as Bonnie was trying to keep her distance from Asher and Laurel was freezing Frank out as much as possible (when she wasn't confronting Annalise about Frank's confession). An interesting moment in another very heavy episode.

Next week we find out what happened to Annalise's baby and there's a shocking hook up.

Friday, March 04, 2016

My Review of Legends Of Tomorrow's 1x07: "Marooned"

Written by Anderson Mackenzie & Phil Klemmer
Directed by Gregory Smith

Cold: "People change."
Heatwave: "You think you're some kind of hero but deep down, you're still the same punk kid I saved in juvie. You don't have the guts to kill me. Kill me. Only one of us is walking out of here alive."

And that escalated pretty badly, didn't it? Last week we saw both Cold and Heatwave at odds with each other over Star City 2046 and this week, Mick could barely tolerate being around Leonard and was happy to then go on a rescue mission/obvious trap with Rip, Stein and Jackson while Cold stayed behind and worked/flirted with Sara some more. Of course, it only got worse from there.

Sometimes I do have to question what passes for a brain cell in Rip's head. For a man leading a suicide mission against Vandal Savage, he repeatedly has said and done some rather stupid things and this week he truly excelled himself by basically telling Mick that he was little more than a meat head. Mick was already in a dark place and Rip's moment of tactlessness was enough to send him over the edge and actually side with the Time Pirates this week.

It's interesting that they tapped into Mick's darker side this early-ish into the season and the end scene where Cold took care of him certainly shocked me. I don't think Mick will be dead, more just put on ice for a few episodes but saying that, he's also one of the few characters I'm not seeing making it out of this season alive though. Unlike Cold, I don't think Mick will change for the better even though he's had his moments in early episodes this season.

Still while this episode ended a partnership with Cold and Heatwave, was another one started with Sara and Leonard? They've had some flirty moments in previous episodes and when they nearly froze to death in this one, they were both sharing some rather intimate information. I'm totally down with this pairing. There's a natural chemistry and it could be fun as well.

Similarly fun were Ray and Kendra. Last week, I didn't really feel it but this week among the shameless Star Trek references, it was felt a lot more natural and rather lovely actually. Also can I point out that Kendra has really come to life as a character in the last few episodes? Ray has also had some good moments this week too.

As for the main plot - we got some nice flashbacks exploring Rip's time as a Time Master, falling in love with Miranda while in the present day actually helping to save Captain Baxter from those Time Pirates and getting a bit of a heads up as to where Vandal Savage was currently located. To be honest though, I'm cool with another delay or two before the gang encounter Savage as well.

- Jackson made some Star Wars references in this episode as well. He also had a joke at Stein's expense about the latter's former weed smoking ways.
- Kendra's fighting skills really seem to have come along since her training sessions with Sara. She definitely kicked those Time Pirates around the place.
- I kind of hope we get to see Baxter again in another episode. I liked that she softened towards Rip as the episode ended.
- Chronology - no specified idea really. It was a space episode so I guess none was given but it's a trip to the 1950s next week.

Marooned was clearly meant as the bottle saving episode as this is clearly not a cheap show to make. Bottle episodes can be great in forcing the writers behind them to be a bit more creative and between some great character moments and a nice exploration into Rip's past, this one worked. The Time Pirates weren't too threatening a foe but worked reasonably well enough for the episode.

Rating: 8 out of 10

Tuesday, March 01, 2016

My Review of Gotham's 2x12: "Mr Freeze"

Written by Ken Woodruff
Directed by Nick Copus

Victor: "I'm coming for you, Nora. I'm coming to save you."

Let's get the obvious stuff out of the way first of all, shall we? First of all, it's felt like ages since we've actually had an episode of Gotham and secondly this episode is shamelessly lifting from the classic Batman: The Animated Series episode, Heart Of Ice and to be honest, why the hell not? Nowadays that episode is the definitive backstory for a certain chilly customer and the best one too.

On here, we're more into the before effects of things as poor Nora Fries's health is deteriorating and her husband Victor is doing everything in his power to try and save her. Mainly by freezing people, unfreezing them and hoping for the best. However until the last moment of this episode, his experiments were mostly failing but the man is a trier and deserves points for that alone.

Nathan Darrow from House Of Cards has turned out to be a great choice for the role of Victor Fries. His desperation to save Nora certainly made him sympathetic amidst the extremes he was more than happy to resort to in order to help his wife. Because of this, I really do want GCPD to fail in actually apprehending him even if they do have Nora in custody and rumbled his experiments as well.

The funny thing about this episode is that Victor was moments from turning himself in but to Alvarez's cynicism and his last experiment actually succeeding in quite a public manner, he decided to leave the station as quickly as he entered the place. On the plus side, this chilling story (I'll cut it with the ice puns from here) will continue on next week.

Of course it wasn't just Victor Fries popping up in this episode too. The show decided to really go for it and add two major villains with the second being Professor Hugo Strange and boy, is he a man with a few fingers in the pie, right?

B.D Wong not only looks the part a little too well for my liking but also embodies it a little too well as even Oswald (who was arrested, declared insane and sent to Arkham) seemed creeped out by him during their one scene in the episode. Also not only is Strange in charge of Arkham but he's also attached to the Indian Hill fiasco and now has Victor Fries to contend with as well. I can already say that he might be something of an improvement on Theo Galavan. He's certainly more dangerous for sure.

As for Gordon, the episode wasn't exactly plausible about how he was reinstated back to his job but aside from both Barnes and Harvey Dent clearly not believing him, at least we got to see Gordon and Bullock back to their usual buddy routine. After feeling a little underused in the previous half of the season, this one did feel like we got a little more Bullock than we had done in a while.

Also in "Mr Freeze"

The first half of this season had the subtitle of Rise Of The Villains. This half's subtitle is Wrath Of The Villains.

Dent: "Were you involved in Theo Galavan's murder?"
Gordon: "No, I was not."

Butch has become king of Gotham and Tabitha made a strong case to be his right hand woman which Selina observed from afar.

Tabitha: "Why so glum? You're the king of Gotham now."
Butch: "I'm not glum, I'm thinking."

Nygma: "I don't like being called names, detective."
Gordon: "Sorry Ed, I'm sure Harvey was just being colourful."

I like that Nygma showed some support for Oswald in this episode while smartly denying his association with him to Gordon. However, he let some anger slip out with Bullock.

Oswald (to Barnes): "I'm not a criminal. I'm just insane."

Victor: "I'm sorry."
Nora: "It's not that. I'm just thinking of all those poor mice you're experimenting on."

It's been a chilly month for DC villains on the small screen. We've already had Killer Frost on The Flash and Captain Cold as a regular on Legends Of Tomorrow. Victor even got his Mr Freeze moniker by the end of this episode.

Nygma: "Is there anything I can do to help?"
Oswald: "I'm beyond help. Forget me my friend."

Hugo: "Surely this must be a traumatic experience for you."
Oswald: "Please. This is a pillow fight compared to what I've been through."

A few no shows in this one - no appearances from Bruce, Alfred, Barbara or Theo but I'm guessing the latter being experimented on offscreen. We did get to see Lucius again though.

Nora (to Gordon/Bullock): "My husband did terrible things but he did these terrible things for my sake. I'm dying, he wants to save me. I can't tell you how sorry I am but I can't betray him.

Hugo (re Victor): "Hi, Mr Freeze."

Chronology: 27 days since the events of Worse Than A Crime.

That was a really great opening episode. These mini-arc that the second have been doing have worked a treat and having both Mr Freeze and Hugo Strange in the same episode worked a treat. Mr Freeze was a chilly, but sympathetic installment.

Rating: 8 out of 10