Thursday, December 14, 2017

My Review of Empire's 4x09: "Slave To Memory"

Written by Joshua Allen & Dianne Houston
Directed by Sanaa Hamri

Cookie (to Lucious, re Diana): "We got one shot to put this bitch down for good."

It's been building up for long enough and as fun as the DuBois lot have been as antagonists, this probably was the right moment to take them down for good with one of them dying and the other facing public disgrace and arrest to boot.

I loved that in spite of all the protocol that Diana undertook to keep the Lyons out of the Captain's Ball, she still couldn't succeed in having her fancy event go off without a hitch as Lucious and Cookie got to Angelo, made him sign a confession and then gatescrashed the event as Cookie delivered a powerful blow to Diana's social standing within the community.

Having all of Diana's crimes against the Lyon family revealed to her society pals was one way to bruise her ego but also having her arrested for Bella's abduction was another. While I'm sure we'll see her again in some capacity in the second half of the season, this was a glorious takedown for a character who was delightfully villainous but it wasn't just Diana who got her just desserts.

There was something deeply satisfying in seeing Lucious beating the crap out of Angelo after getting him to sign a confession but having Jamal inadvertently kill him to save Warren was another strong moment of the episode. I am glad to see Angelo killed off, even if it's left Jamal in something of a dire situation when the show returns in the Spring.

As for Warren, I think he more than redeemed himself in this episode and despite some justified anger, you could tell that Jamal still cares about him as well and given that Warren basically hung his own family out to dry, getting in with the Lyons or getting out of dodge full stop are probably his only options right now.

Of course it wasn't just the DuBois clan who suffered here too. Hakeem was able to get his revenge on Anika in a calm, collected manner by getting Bella off her and considering the crap Anika has pulled, this was a long time coming as well. How the show is going to keep her around for the remaining of the season, I'm not sure.

The rest of the episode then saw Shyne paying Andre a visit, desperate for the latter to keep his mouth shut, only for Andre to actually reveal to Lucious about his role in the car bomb from last season. However given that the episode ended with Lucious being snatched by Claudia, I think the newly back Lyon patriarch has bigger problems to deal with.

- Becky is pregnant and according to Eddie's ex-wife, Giselle, they're also broke/fleeced by a Ponzi scheme, so he'll be sticking around for a while longer.
- No Tiana and Tory for this one and Porscha didn't really do anything of consequence either.
- Chronology: Yet another version of Jamal/Hakeem's Love Is A Drug but also Andre's opening dream sequence number, Superstar, which was fantastic.
- Chronology: From where the previous episode more or less left off.

Slave To Memory served as a strong mid-season finale. This season has been pretty strong but I'm glad the show is closing down on the DuBois storyline, though I'm hoping that Claudia's Misery style arc with Lucious isn't overly prolonged.

Rating: 8 out of 10

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

My Review of Empire's 4x08: "Cupid Paints Blind"

Written by Diane Ademu-John & Carlito Rodriguez
Directed by Elizabeth Allen Rosenbaum

Pamela (to Andre): "You have got to be the dumbest criminal in the history of crime. Did you really think that you would get away with it?"

That I genuinely did not see coming. I knew something was going to be off with Andre and Pamela's relationship and naturally assumed that she was working for Diana DuBois but this twist was something else altogether. 

There was always going to be a consequence for Andre's therapist interfering with his meds but to have him imagine a girlfriend who he then imagined killing after she threatened to arrest him for his car bomb confession was pretty mind blowing for the show. Diana's meddling really did affect Andre both last and worst it would seem.

I guess in retrospect it might have been a bit obvious that Pamela wasn't real as she only ever really had scenes with Andre but it doesn't stop the reveal itself from delivering a fatal blow as both Cookie and Lucious have to witness Andre break down in the fashion that he did. If this doesn't ignite the old Lucious, I'm not sure what really will.

This episode alone it was mostly Cookie doing the heavy lifting against Diana. She got Thirsty to spot which one of Diana's bodyguards wasn't beside her while also paying Warren a visit and making a spectacle out of giving Diana back her mother's ring. At least with Warren, Cookie didn't have to do much in order to get him to co-operate.

Speaking of Warren, when Angelo wasn't taking pleasure in his bruises and Cookie wasn't pointing a gun at him, Jamal was brooding over his vocals on that particular song before recording a new version with Hakeem as the latter got some introspection on how to be a parent from Shyne of all people. Much as I'm not on the love train for Shyne, I will admit that this episode utilised him pretty well by giving us some more into his background.

Of course when we weren't dealing with present day problems, there were some more flashbacks between Cookie and Poundcake in prison as the latter gave birth and had her baby taken away from her. I've really been enjoying the prison flashbacks this season, even if they don't feel too relevant to what the episodes are trying to convey. I think we all know how fiercely protective of her sons Cookie is without flashbacks reinforcing them, though they're still a welcome treat.

- Tiana stood her ground and gave Hakeem a much needed slap this week. Shyne also has three different kids from three different women.
- No Becky, Porsha or Tory for this episode.
- Standout music: Jamal and Hakeem's Love Is A Drug and Tiana's Let Me Rock.
- Chronology: Not long from where the previous episode left off.

Cupid Paints Blind certainly delivered the biggest twist this season and overall, it was a stunning episode to boot. With Cookie firmly out for blood and Andre suffering the worst of Diana's machinations, I can't wait to see what the next episode will bring to the table.

Rating: 8 out of 10

Friday, December 08, 2017

My Review of Gotham's 4x11: "Queen Takes Knight"

Written by John Stephens
Directed by Danny Cannon

Gordon (to Sofia): "This is about revenge for me killing Mario."

Exactly this time last year, Gordon's bull in a china shop method of doing things ended up with Mario Falcone being killed. One year later, Carmine Falcone finally bit the bullet and his daughter Sofia managed to achieve what Barbara kind of did last year by becoming Queen of Gotham and taking Oswald out of the picture for now.

Sofia playing the long game in itself wasn't the shocker here. No, we've known that from the first appearance that she was out to usurp Oswald and that her feelings for Jim were false but here, after all of her little plans coming together was she able to bask in the fact that she made an even bigger fool out of James than she did with Oswald.

You got to give Sofia her due - she really did play both Gordon and Oswald and both of them deserved it in their own way. I'm not entirely sure how either one of them will get out of their current predicaments - Oswald locked in Arkham for "killing" Martin and Gordon running the GCPD as a false hero but either way, it seems that Sofia is only just beginning with her takeover of the city.

This show's writing for female characters has not always been it's strongest with Selina up until this point the only consistently well written female character of the bunch but this season alone has been an improvement. The formation of the Sirens with Barbara, Tabitha and Selina was a great move, Leslie as a more benevolent crime lady in the Narrows has greatly helped that character, Harper's been a solid recurring presence in the GCPD and despite behind the scenes chaos, it also seems like Ivy herself will finally get more prominent on the show to boot. That in itself is satisfying as the little speech Sofia gave about Gordon's collective screw ups to be honest.

Having Sofia essentially going into Hangman mode in this episode was something of a blast. She faked it with the neck brace and wheelchair for a bit and she was pretty cold in revealing that she had her own father murdered and was the one responsible for bringing Pyg into the city in the first before also killing the latter. Now this is how you write a female villain, people.

Of course when the episode wasn't having Sofia strip away both Gordon and Oswald's power, we also saw the latter become acquainted with Jerome in Arkham and going by the trailer for the second half of the season, those two are going to be quite the team. After losing Zsasz to Sofia, Oswald could use just about anyone right now as a friend, even one as even more deranged as Jerome it would seem.

Moving things along, the episode also had some more poignant stuff to boot. Tabitha resorted to brute force to try and get Grundy to remember who he was as Butch, only to not stick around as the guy was starting to remember while Bruce and Alfred had a physical scrap that resulted in the latter being fired. Amidst all the other chaos, these two moments also sublimely delivered. The less said about Nygma's newfound crush on Leslie though, the better. Let's nip that little one in the bud, shall we?

- Bullock appeared in this episode just so he could resign. His friendship with Jim also seems to be over for now too.
- No confirmation date as to when the second half of the season will air or what the title is for it yet.
- No Leslie or Lucius in this one but we did get to see that both Ivy and Ras will be interacting with Bruce soon again.
- Chronology: Not long from where Things That Go Boom left off.

Queen Takes Knight was a strong mid-season finale, arguably one of the strongest the show has done. Sofia really has stepped up fantastically as a villain and with so much set up for the second half, it'll be interesting to see how and when she'll eventually lose her grip on the city but for now, she really has managed to best both Gordon and Oswald.

Rating: 8 out of 10

Thursday, December 07, 2017

My Review of Legends Of Tomorrow's 3x09: "Beebo The God Of War"

Written by Grainne Godfree & James Eagan
Directed by Kevin Mock

Beebo: "Beebo hungry."

Every time I think this show can't possibly get away with pulling off something even dafter than before, they manage to pull it off yet again. For this festive themed delight, who would've thought that a clear substistute for Elmo/Furby would actually make it's way into becoming a Norse God and causing some proper chaos?

The episode opened with the younger Stein from 1992 wanting to get the last Beebo for Lily for Hanukkah, which he managed to do before winding up in 1000 AD and getting himself captured by a group of Vikings who then deemed Beebo to be their new war god, meaning that the Legends along with Ava's help had to swoop and retrieve the huggable toy, only for things to go their usually pear shaped way of things.

I did like the Viking woman who seemed determined to believe in Beebo's power as a god, even if her brother seemed more sceptical while the Legends themselves were having fun mingling with the not so natives before Mick's quest for alcohol ended up blowing their cover and Mick himself incinerated poor Beebo on the spot.

By doing this, not only did we see a cuddly toy get scorched to bits but it gave Damien Darhk and Nora a chance to rock up in this piece, have the former play Odin and then have Sara go through a gamut of losing scenarios before the gang properly banded together to take out Damien before Sara also got a rather chilling glimpse of Mallus to boot. The cherry on top though was Ray seizing control of Beebo and giving a spirited lecture on global warming to Vikings.

Of course when the gang weren't dealing with Beebo and Darhk this week, there was also the younger Stein and the feelings that the gang had towards Stein's recent death. I'm not surprised that Jax tried and ultimately failed to alter his friend's fate but I absolutely loved the scenes he had with younger Stein and his family along with Sara and Zari about the situation as well.

Right now, I'm hoping that Jax's departure is a temporary one but if it's not, then this was a heartfelt and lovely exit for the character. Jax has grown a lot in the three seasons we've seen him and his goodbye speeches were lovely to boot, especially with his last moment with Sara.

Of course this episode had a lot of pleasant surprises in it. Ava in her previous appearances has been rather stiff, character wise but here, she literally had her hair down, willingly defied Time Bureau orders, took Sara's concerns about Mallus seriously and even got stuck in with the main storyline of the week. It's obvious that Sara and Ava are going to be an item by the time we get into the second half of the season and I'm perfectly fine with that.

As for Citizen Cold - he cracked me up in this one. Leo's attempts of getting the gang to channel their grief through a Stein puppet was hilarious but his scenes with Mick as the two bickered and then came to an understanding of each other was another highlight of this episode. I really want Leo to stay for more than another episode. I've missed his presence on the show.

Then the episode with John Constantine rocking up on the Waverider asking for Sara's help with a little girl and a demon that knows Sara's name. Constantine is another character I'm delighted to see on board the show and one whose presence I can't wait to see even more when the show returns in the new year.

- Victor Garber's name is out of the credits and Matt Ryan wasn't listed as I assume they wanted to maintain Constantine's appearance as a surprise.
- Rip is now in a prison due to his actions from the previous episode. Ava mentioned that Damien and Nora have taken out a lot of the Time Bureau agents. Was Gary one of them?
- The gang know about Grodd being taken by Damien as well, which was nice. I also liked the scene with Jax and Zari playing video games.
- Chronology: 1992 Central City and 1000 AD and we had a Christmas meal on the Waverider as well.

This season so far has been a lot of fun with a great underlying threat in Mallus looming around and for a mid season finale, Beebo The God Of War was excellent. It gave us closure for Stein, hopefully wrote Jax out for a little while, had some beautiful character moments, priceless humour and a chain smoking bisexual occult detective pop up at the end. Is it February 2018 yet?

Rating: 9 out of 10

Monday, December 04, 2017

My Review of Batman 66: Batman Vs. Two Face (2017)

Written by Michael Jelenic & James Tucker
Directed by Rick Morales

Robin (re Two Face/Harvey Dent): "His friendship means a lot to you, doesn't it?"
Batman: "Yes, but not as much as yours does, Boy Wonder. I wouldn't want anyone else at my side in this never-ending fight against crime."

In the last fortnight, I purchased the complete Batman 66 series and am currently about three quarters into the show's second season, so I decided to put it on pause to catch up with Adam West's final outing as the Caped Crusader as this second animated movie decided to add a few characters not seen in the TV series but added into the comics in recent years as the main antagonist.

First of all, I have to admit that I do find William Shatner to be rather divisive as a person. The guy might be the original Captain Kirk but he can be a bit hit and miss as an actor and his Twitter handle at times is a mess but for the role of Bruce's friend, Harvey Dent and Batman's latest enemy, Two Face, his casting certainly helped to generate some hype here.

Dent's formation into Two Face has usually been at the hand of Sal Maroni, though Batman: The Animated Series had Rupert Thorne play his role in that transformation but here, it's mainly down to Hugo Strange (Jim Ward) coming up with a machine to extract the badness out of villains such as Joker (Jeff Bergman), Penguin (William Salyers), Riddler (Wally Wingert) as well as Egghead and Mr Freeze, only for the machine to backfire and cause Harvey to become Two Face and that's before the opening credits even rolled.

Then the movie takes a bit of a time jump where Two Face has committed some crimes, has been caught and Harvey has seemingly been cured of his dual personality (physically at least) while Batman and Robin (Burt Ward) were doing battles with both King Tut (Wingert) and Bookworm (Bergman), only to realise that Harvey wasn't cured after all.

The one thing I did like about this movie was the rivalry between Dick/Robin and Harvey Dent for Bruce/Batman's approval. Aside from using it as a means of developing Bruce's friendships with both Dick and Harvey, it also provided some reasonable conflict between the Caped Crusaders before Robin was temporarily infected with the same condition that Harvey as the latter then revealed that he planned to give Gotham the same dual personality he had.

Of course when Two Face wasn't bringing out the city's bad side, he also managed to capture the Caped Crusaders and planned to auction off their identities to the highest bidder, while also revealing that he knew who Batman and Robin really were himself. However in a bit of a twist (but not really), the Dynamic Duo had at least one villain on their side - Catwoman (Julie Newmar).

In the previous movie, she had been something of a grudging ally to the duo and in this one, when she wasn't receiving prison visits from Batman and escaping from the slammer, she actually bought the guys off Two Face before helping to beat up the Joker, Penguin, Riddler, Shame, Clock King, Freeze and Egghead to boot. The end scene then when she won another Batman auction definitely proved this film was as accommodating for Bat/Cat shippers as the previous one was.

As for Two Face, I do think this movie did a good job of exploring the character's inner battle between embracing his criminal side and Harvey Dent fighting for his identity back. It was a bit convenient that once Dent had returned, Two Face's knowledge of the Dynamic Duo's identity would be gone but perhaps the comics could somewhat reverse this outcome if Harvey ever becomes his bad self again.

- Along with Hugo Strange and Two Face, this movie also gave us Dr Harleen Quinzel (Sirena Itwin), who was an assistant to the former while also breaking the Joker out of prison in a scene for the Blu Ray DVD.
- Lee Meriweather appeared in the movie as Lucille Diamond but also managed to get a scene dressed as Catwoman to boot.
- Early drafts for the movie were to include both Poison Ivy and Wonder Woman, but alas, neither character appeared here.
- There's elements of Two-Face Strikes Again and The Strange Secret Of Bruce Wayne in this movie along with the fact that this was an idea for a lost episode in the series itself.
- Adam West: 1928-2017. Rest Well, Bright Knight. Lovely tribute there.

Batman Vs. Two Face marks a poignant end to an era to a more playful version of the Caped Crusaders. While it's not quite as strong as last year's Return Of The Caped Crusaders, there's still plenty to enjoy with it's successful capturing of the TV series spirit and the animation itself being rather on point to boot.

Rating: 8 out of 10

Saturday, December 02, 2017

Titans - First Look At Brenton Thwaites As Robin

I got it wrong. It seems like Brenton Thwaites is going to be portraying the Boy Wonder rather than the grown up counterpart in the first season of DC's streaming service series, Titans.

The series, due to air online in 2018 released a photo of Brenton as Dick Grayson/Robin last night and it seems going by the reaction, that people are rather pleased with this look. While it would've been nice to have had a body shot one (as well as pictures of Raven, Starfire and Beast Boy), it does seem like they've got the look of the Boy Wonder rather on point. It also makes me wonder if we're going to see over the course of the first season Grayson transition from Robin to Nightwing, with the latter factoring into a likely second season.

The series pilot is written by Geoff Johns (current DC movie universe), Greg Berlanti (the current Arrow universe) and Akiva Goldsman, who also penned Batman Forever and Batman & Robin. The director or episode count for the series has yet to be confirmed but given this reveal, I'm guessing a lot more information will be soon coming regarding the upcoming series.

Press Release:

Titans will stream on DC's streaming service in 2018.

My Review of Empire's 4x07: "The Lady Doth Protest"

Written by Matt Pyken & Eric Haywood
Directed by Karen Gaviola

Cookie (to Diana): "We coming for you, bitch!"

At this rate, Cookie, you might want to get a move on with that. Sure, Jamal gave Warren something of a savage beat down when he realised the latter was Diana's nephew and working to destroy his family but that only played into Diana's hands after the failed attempt of getting Jamal to partake in a threesome.

I did feel for Warren in this episode. Okay, he was a little crass with the way he was trying to initiate a threesome (first a hot bartender, then another hot guy off a cruising app) but over the last few episodes, it's been clear that his feelings for Jamal have been genuine, so Diana ended up screwing him over as much as the Lyons with her latest stunt to boot.

Right now, the next episode needs to give us some kind of a victory for the Lyons because we've had more than enough of Diana actually getting the best of them that it's going to lose a bit of momentum soon. I do however find it interesting that although Lucious is essentially his old self that he wasn't able to step in this week, though Cookie should be able to handle Diana herself.

When we weren't having this particular reveal displayed out so publicly, Andre also had a freak out of his own when he thought that Pamela might have been dead. Instead she later turned up alive and also panicked that she staged another person's death, which seemed to intrigue Andre. I'm finding this relationship pretty interesting to watch but I'm also waiting for the shoe to drop and have Pamela have some connection with the DuBois family at this point.

As for the rest of the episode, Porscha finally stood up to Cookie when Eddie's recording methods basically alienated everyone at Empire. I thought this plot was actually pretty decent and it was nice to see Porscha make a stand but it was also resolved a little too quickly as well, even if Cookie did finally treat Porscha with some basic respect.

- We had more flashbacks of Cookie's time in prison where she helped her rival Poundcake with her pregnancy when she wasn't getting divorce papers from Lucious.
- The writers are so setting up Anika and Angelo as a couple, aren't they?
- Standout music: Jamal  and Tory's versions of Light It All Up.
- Chronology: Not long from where the previous episode left off.

The Lady Doth Protest isn't the strongest episode we've had but it had it's moments. It's a shame that Jamal and Warren's relationship has come to the messy end that it did but it was inevitably going to go bad. I did like the Cookie flashbacks in this one though.

Rating: 6 out of 10

Friday, December 01, 2017

My Review of Gotham's 4x10: "Things That Go Boom"

Written by Steven Lilien & Bryan Wynbrandt
Directed by Louis Shaw Milito

Oswald (to Sofia/the Sirens): "You wanted a war. You got one!"

As wars go, not sure this was the most explosive one we've had just yet. This week, the pretense was dropped and Sofia made her intention to dethrone Oswald pretty clear and the rest of the episode was just the two of them trying to best either with both Gordon and the Sirens throwing their own spanners into the work along with Martin for good measure.

For those who hated the idea of Oswald and Sofia being close, this episode must have been a godsend to them. Oswald reacted predictably by trying to have Sofia tortured by a creepy dentist while Sofia managed to blackmail her way into not getting the cavity search from hell before getting snatched by the Sirens in broad daylight.

Having Sofia paired with Barbara, Tabitha and Selina is actually a good move and their plan to use Oswald's affections for Martin (whom Sofia had actually manipulated into telling Oswald about her and Gordon kissing) was actually a decent move until it appeared that Oswald was willing to kill a child in order not be weakened.

The reveal that Oswald just faked Martin's death was a good move as even killing a child would be a no no for Oswald. Oswald spent most of the episode being steps behind Sofia before getting a clue how to play her at the end of this one. As for Sofia, she's got the Sirens under her thumb for now while at the same time having lost Gordon as a pawn too. It'll be interesting to see how Oswald and Sofia's war ends, which I assume it might do next week but not before another player gets added into the mix.

Of course when this episode wasn't about Oswald and Sofia going head to head with each other, there was also Gordon trying to learn more about Professor Pyg. Having the latter open the episode with a death of a fellow inmate before ending it with a guard was a good way to show that Arkham wouldn't be a deterrent for Lazlo and I loved that he slipped when he talked in his real accent to Gordon. Having Pyg on the loose should add to the chaos for next week's mid-season finale.

Last but not least, we got more Narrows stuff. This week both Leslie and Nygma banded together to bring a rival neighborhood leader to heel and as a subplot, it worked well enough. I've quite liked this grudging friendship of sorts with Lee and Ed and that the former was honest about the latter being physically fine. For a moment, it almost as though Ed could possibly turn a corner but then we got a glimmer of the Riddler, so we can all guess what's going to happen next.

- How did Oswald not seemingly know where Barbara was before her phone call? She's been in the same place since her reappearance at the start of the start.
- Standout music: Pyg made sure we'll never listen to Ave Maria the same way again.
- No Bruce and Alfred this week or Bullock. I hope the latter is back soon.
- Chronology: Not long since the events of Let The Eat Pie.

Things That Go Boom was a bit more of a tiny boom than a big explosion. Next week looks like it will be the real war as Oswald and Sofia battle for the city while Gordon blunders everything. There's also the fact that Pyg is on the loose and a certain return to also look forward to as well.

Rating: 7 out of 10

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Rating: 10 out of 10

Saturday, November 25, 2017

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

Written by Joshua Allen & Dianne Houston
Directed by Sanaa Hamri

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Rating: 8 out of 10

Thursday, November 23, 2017

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Rating: 7 out of 10

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

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

Written by Joe Fazzio
Directed by Rob Hardy

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Rating: 9 out of 10

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

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

Written by Iturri Sosa
Directed by Nathan Hope

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Rating: 7 out of 10

Saturday, November 18, 2017

My Review of Justice League (2017)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Rating: 8 out of 10

Thursday, November 16, 2017

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

Written by Keto Shimizu & Ubah Mohamed
Directed by David Geddes

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Rating: 8 out of 10

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

My Review of American Horror Story: Cult - Great Again

Written by Tim Minear
Directed by Jennifer Lynch

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Rating: 9 out of 10

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

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

Written by Janeika James & Jasheika James
Directed by Howie Deutch

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Rating: 7 out of 10

Saturday, November 11, 2017

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

Written by Daniel Robinson
Directed by Nzingha Stewart

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Rating: 8 out of 10

Friday, November 10, 2017

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

Written by Charlie Huston
Directed by Rob Bailey

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Rating: 8 out of 10

Thursday, November 09, 2017

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Rating: 9 out of 10

Wednesday, November 08, 2017

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

Written by Ryan Murphy & Brad Falchuk
Directed by Bradley Buecker

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Rating: 8 out of 10

Tuesday, November 07, 2017

Upside Down Again

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

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

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

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

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

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

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