Friday, October 20, 2017

My Review of Gotham's 4x05: "The Blade's Path"

Written by Tze Chun
Directed by Scott White

Grundy: "Solomon Grundy, born on a Monday."

From now on, I will be referring to Butch Gilzean as Solomon Grundy because that's who he is now and if this episode is anything to go by, I am in total support of that. I've never really commented on Drew Powell's acting on the show and Butch has been a character I've liked but not been as invested in as I have been with others. After this episode though, he got more interesting.

The idea of having Solomon Grundy under our noses all this time instead of adding a new actor into the mix to take on the role was a good move on the show's part. This episode started with Butch being callously dropped into a toxic waste swamp and then emerging a lot worse for wear, no memory at all and adopting the Grundy name after hearing the rhyme on a gramophone and pissing off a bunch of homeless guys.

Of course the best part of Grundy's debut though was having him come into contact with Nygma, who couldn't even rob a pharmacy this week without being easily duped. Last season, Ed and Butch were hardly the best of friends and now this season, it seems like Nygma and Grundy are going to be buddies and it's a rather inspiring dynamic as the pair of them look out for each other while also getting involved in some underground boxing club run by a strange woman named Cherry.

The other aspect of this story turned out to be that the doctor involved in the underground club was Leslie, sporting a Deadpool style look. The reveal was hardly shocking but I guess the show had to reintroduce Leslie at some point and here seemed to be the right place to do it. I'm also hoping for now, it means her interactions with Gordon will also be kept to a minimum for now.

Speaking of Gordon, this week both him and Alfred banded together to try and stop Bruce from killing Ras, only to completely fail on that one. Ras clearly played Bruce like a fiddle this week and I don't believe for one moment that Bruce actually succeeded in bumping Ras off (the latter clearly had some contingency plan with his weird interaction with Barbara this week) but the latter did manage to succeed in getting under Bruce's skin and doubting his whole mission plan with what felt like very little effort. I don't doubt Ras will be popping up later in the season again though.

As for Oswald, the dynamic with him and Sofia definitely intensified this week. I've seen certain shippers literally crap themselves in fear about a possible romantic angle with the pair but going by their interactions this week, it seems more like Sofia is coming at Oswald in the same way Fish had Liza go after her father back in the first season.

Playing an almost maternal type role (the goulash, tending to his foot etc) is certainly a clever tactic on Sofia's part. You can see Oswald knowing she's up to something and trying to work it out while at the same time, succumbing to her 'kindness' and it's rather fascinating to watch. For shippers, I don't think you have anything to worry about there.

- Gordon and Bullock came into conflict over the Pax Penguina thing. Oswald's only been getting 86% results though, which maddened him this week.
- Grundy's transformation still had an Indian Hill link like nearly all of our Rogues on the series.
- No Selina, Tabitha, Ivy, Zsasz or Lucius this week.
- Chronology: Could it really have been a Monday when Grundy emerged from the swamp? Let's pretend it was, shall we?

The Blade's Path continues on what has been an extremely strong start for the season. Right now, it seems that Bruce's crusading and Ras are being put on hold but with the birth of Grundy and another rogue about to show up next week, I think the show can afford to hold things off for a bit there.

Rating: 8 out of 10

Thursday, October 19, 2017

Titans - Further Casting Revealed

I wanted to wait for a bit but now with the casting for the upcoming Titans series pretty much complete, here's a round up of who else to expect on the show.

Alan Ritchson has been confirmed for the role of Hank Hall/Hawk in a recurring role for the series. This isn't the first time the Blood Drive actor has taken on a heroic role in the DC universe as he previously played Arthur Curry/Aquaman in Smallville in a recurring capacity as well. Hank is being described as offensive, aggressive bruiser who fights crime with his partner and girlfriend. Speaking of whom.

The role of Dawn Grainger/Dove will be played by Charlie's Angels actress Minka Kelly. The actress will appear in a recurring capacity along with Ritchson and has been described as a strategic, defensive and lithe vigilante who fights crime with her partner and boyfriend Hawk.

Elsewhere the role of Garfield 'Gar' Logan/Beast Boy - one of the four regular roles for the series has now been confirmed as Ryan Potter (Big Hero 6). Previously there was an online campaign by certain DC fans for the actor to play the role of Tim Drake/Robin in the DCEU but it seems that the actor will be taking on another heroic role.

Meanwhile Lindsey Gort (The Carrie Diaries) has been cast in the role of Amy Rohrbach, who has been described as a police detective who is the new partner of Dick Grayson (Brenton Thwaites). Presumably Amy will be the only character not to don a costume for the upcoming series.

More Casting Information:

Titans will be released on the DC streaming service in 2018. The series is currently filming.

My Review of Legends Of Tomorrow's 3x02: "Freakshow"

Written by Keto Shimizu & Grainne Godfree
Directed by Kevin Tancharoen

Ray (to PT Barnum): "You had me at circus."

Um, didn't American Horror Story cover the old freak show concept three years ago? Yes it did but for this show we've got an equally just as chaotic take on things to boot.This week, we're in the 1870s and our celebrity history figure is PT Barnum and the freak show has come to town with our Legends getting caught in the mix.

First of all, I have to say that I like Billy Zane as an actor so having him pop up as Barnum was a nice treat. He worked pretty well in the episode, even if his role became more antagonistic and he managed to capture Ray, Nate, Amaya and Jax and try and use them all for his show while Sara was distracted by Sharpe and Mick and Stein had to come to the rescue.

The freak show scenes themselves were executed well enough, with some comedy at the expense of Ray and Jax being forced to pretend they were conjoined twins while a sabre tooth tiger also managed to get loose and cause some havoc on the Waverider as well. Of course while this made for a satisfying enough A plot, it was the subplots that were a bit livelier.

Nate and Amaya's relationship in particular came under the microscope as we saw their break up in flashbacks while in the present day Nate managed to act like a complete jackass before being the one to help Amaya, who now seems to be unable to control her totem. The plus side was that she revealed this to the gang pretty fast and they were all determined to help her and she rejoined the team. I do have a feeling though that this season might end up seeing the character depart but I'm also hoping to be wrong on that one.

The other subplot included the Time Bureau also being a reminder that the Legends are still being monitor. The rather cute but utterly hapless Gary spent most of his time being knocked out and tied up while Ava and Sara were content flirting and fighting with each other before the former dropped a cryptic hint about Mallus which the gang failed to take seriously.

Speaking of Ava, aside from the inevitability of her and Sara hooking up, did anyone else get the impression that she was the Mallus follower who summoned Kuasa at the end of this episode? I'm probably wrong but I can't shake off the theory for some reason though. Either way, Kuasa is now in the game and the show has been clamouring for a female antagonist for a while, plus her connection to Amaya will certainly make their inevitable meeting interesting to boot.

- The Titanic jokes in this episode were greatly appreciated. It's just a pity we didn't have a proper scene with Victor Garber (Stein) and Billy Zane (Barnum).
- We saw Mari in this episode on the news to begin things and then ended with Kuasa coming out of the water. There was also another DC hero in Barnum's freak show as well.
- I liked the picture Sara had of herself with Laurel and Oliver. I'm really hoping she faces off with Black Siren soon too.
- Chronology: 1870 Wisconsin for most of this episode. Also Central City 2017 as well.

Freakshow wasn't the best episode we've ever had but it was a lot of fun and I do like that they're seeding in the Mallus threat pretty well and didn't waste time in having Amaya rejoin the gang as well. That along with Mick's scenes with the clowns and the shrunken tiger were amusing.

Rating: 7 out of 10

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

My Review of American Horror Story: Cult - Valerie Solanas Died For Your Sins: Scumbag

Written by Crystal Liu
Directed by Rachel Goldberg

Valerie: "You've taken my art, you've taken my life. You've taken my motherfucking legacy."
Andy: "Who are you kidding? Shooting me will be the only thing you'll be remembered for. I am your legacy."

Okay, this was an episode I was not particularly looking forward to watching or even reviewing. I'm far from the biggest fan of Lena Dunham, who I think it's fair to say is at best, a rather divisive and polarising figure, so having her on the show as infamous radical feminist Valerie Solanas in this rather flashback heavy episode was the sort of thing you've could've made a drinking game out of and ended up with liver failure as a result.

In flashbacks we get the famous moment where a dejected Solanas shoots Andy Warhol (played by Evan Peters rather skillfully) and automatically become a cult icon in her own making as we're briefed on her backstory (abused by stepfather, prostitute, given children up, etc) as she forms her own group of psychotic man haters that would even make the worst of the Tumblr crowd shudder a little (or give them some bad ideas).

Of course with Dunham somewhat dominating proceedings in her guest appearance, the episode also brings back Frances Conroy as a cigar smoking radical feminist, who is quickly revealed as an older version of Solanas's lover, Bebe Babbot who decides to round up Winter, Beverly and Ivy and give them a harsh lesson on how men tend to shaft women once again.

Throughout the flashbacks we got to see Valerie's cult of man hating murderesses in action as they apparently were the real Zodiac killers going about knocking off couples in a bid to make Valerie's SCUM (Society for Cutting Up Men) Manifesto into a reality while the two token gay men involved were forced to degrade themselves in an attempt to prove their worth only for one of them to get hacked to bits anyways.

I have to admit that I nearly lost the will to live sitting through Valerie's scenes and I honestly wondered if the episode was deliberately going out of it's way to take the piss out of radical feminists and the more woke male feminists to boot. It certainly did more to make me feel less sympathy for Solanas rather than any, although I will admit that Dunham excelled herself during the moment where Valerie lamented about her tainted legacy while Evan Peters being on rather top form as Andy Warhol, which should bode well when he plays other cult leaders in later episodes.

As for the present day stuff, the episode did have some surprises. Less so with Beverly suddenly rebelling against Kai but more that the latter was a few steps ahead once again. In a handful of scenes he was able to manipulate the girls into murdering Harrison while also revealing that Bebe is working for him as well. With Kai's cult status growing, he's certainly proving to be more and more dangerous as his own original cult dwindles.

- Ally was missing for this episode but we know that she was released and Meadow was announced as Kai's would be killer.
- Men Lead, Women Bleed? No wonder Winter was more than happy to kill Harrison, who did admittedly seem somewhat misogynistic anyways.
- The return of Jamie Brewer in this episode along with Dot Marie Jones was a nice surprise here even if they were a part of Solanas's cult.
- Chronology: From where Mid-Western Assassin left off along with 1960s and 1970s flashbacks for Solanas's story.

Well, this was certainly a divisive episode. Valerie Solanas Died For Your Sins: Scumbag for it's intentions for being a feminist episode, did more to highlight the more destructive side of it that social media has been doing for a while now. I will admit that there were some good performances and shocking moments but other than that, it's a bit of a frustrating one.

Rating: 7 out of 10

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

My Review of Empire's 4x03: "Evil Manners"

Written by Matt Pyken & Carlito Rodriguez
Directed by Bille Woodruff

Diana (to Cookie): "It's time we put these hostilities behind us."

Big difference between what one says and what one does, huh, Diana? This week Diana seemed more determined to continue on her mission to take out the Lyon family while Angelo seemed to prefer to drink himself into a stupor and call Warren a whore and add nothing else of value to an otherwise enjoyable episode.

Diana got a minor victory at the start when her cousin the bank clerk guy was able to reject Cookie for money but she ended up having to save face when Cookie was able to charm those women at the photoshoot they all shared. I hope Cookie is smart enough to see through Diana's "let bygones be bygones" facade because Jamal is sinking further in Warren's clutches.

Jamal really had all the hit and miss material this week. On one hand, I loved that he was honest to Lucious about their past and I enjoyed all their scenes together but he was unable to stop Shyne from figuring out that Lucious has memory loss and he certainly was reckless in telling Warren about Lucious, which mean Diana has one more trump card she can now play with.

Of course when Jamal wasn't revealing things he shouldn't have, the episode gave us some interesting flashbacks to Cookie's time in prison where it seemed like the women were more keen on being her friend than an enemy. They tied in fair enough to her current situation at the photoshoot and again, I liked that Cookie was honest to Lucious about being in prison for seventeen years.

As for the rest of the episode, when Shyne wasn't vying for more albums and settling for five, Andre and Detective Rose seemed to be playing mind games with one another while Hakeem seemed determined to keep Anika away from Bella as best as possible with Tiana taking on a more neutral role. Both plots were decent enough but the best stuff was with Jamal, Cookie and Lucious this week.

- Who was that woman that Diana had to mess with Andre? By the way, Diana views Andre as the Scarecrow, Jamal as the Tin Man and Hakeem as the Cowardly Lion.
- No Claudia, Tory or Porscha this week.
- Standout music: Rantionale's Tethered, Hakeem's Shut Up and Jamal/Hakeem's Chase The Sky.
- Chronology: Not long from where the previous episode left.

I enjoyed the episode. Evil Manners certainly showed a lot of DuBois scheming and while Cookie managed to inadvertently get one on Diana, Jamal on the otherhand wasn't so quick to see through Warren though. Add some great music and bits of Lucious's memories trying to surface and this was a goodie.

Rating: 8 out of 10

Saturday, October 14, 2017

My Review of How To Get Away With Murder's 4x03: "It's For The Greater Good"

Written by Erika Harrison
Directed by Nicole Rubio

Michaela (to Isaac): "He’s dead isn’t he? Everyone around us dies. That’s what we do."

I have to admit, I am loving the cliffhanger moments this season. To recap - Laurel went into premature labour, the baby's missing, Frank's consoling her, Isaac is looking for Annalise who is also missing, there's blood on the elevator of Annalise's apartment and now we've got Michaela outside the baby unit lamenting about him being dead.

I get that we're meant to think in this case the "he" is Laurel's son, but I get the feeling the "he" is actually someone else in the mix. I've read some theories this week about it being Simon but would Michaela really be distraught if someone like him died? Probably not under normal circumstances but if the Keating 4 and company played a role in his death, then maybe yeah.

I mean, it might not be Simon either but I definitely don't think that Laurel's baby is actually dead, even if there's the chance that for some reason Michaela might believe he is. I am however still trying to figure how Isaac is going to get involved with the rest of the gang when so far, his interactions in the present day have been restricted to Annalise and even then it seemed like she was about done with him this week

Isaac this week did seem more of a hindrance to Annalise than an actual help with him publicly getting her to hand over urine sample during her cases and being dismissive of her cases as well, so I am wondering how he ingratiates himself into her fractured inner circle in the next few episodes. I did love Annalise challenging him and this week, she was on fire, case wise.

Having her turn the other lawyer (played excellently by Marianne Jean Baptiste) in order to free her client was pretty nifty, even if she did have to deal with the likes of Bonnie and Nate playing her at her own game this week. I have to admit, both Bonnie and Nate came off worse to me in that scene than Annalise did but at least Bonnie did something good with hiring Laurel.

Speaking of Laurel, I knew it was going to take a bit for her to get Michaela to risk her position at Caplan & Gold to avenge Wes but at least the episode didn't drag it out. The competition between Michaela and Simon played out well enough and I like that Michaela has Tegan on her side but I guess maybe we should be taking Simon a little seriously if he's going to have a bigger role this season.

As for Connor and Asher - I'm bored of their mutual moping and they were the weak links of the episode for me. I did like that the gang organised an intervention for Connor even if it didn't take and I liked the introduction of his dads too, which was a nice surprise but aside from some fit go go dancers and Oliver being the smart one in the bunch, the plotline was the least engaging this week.

- Jasmine appeared in the episode, only to be killed off. I sort of knew the show was going to do this but I'm surprised they did it so quickly though.
- Frank really does need a bit more to do this week but I do like that he's slowly working his way into everyone's good books again.
- Who else aside from Frank knows where Annalise lives now?
- Chronology: From where I'm Not Her left off.

It's For The Greater Good was the strongest episode we've had so far. The main mystery is moving along nicely and there's some great stuff with Annalise, Laurel and Michaela but both Asher and Connor are in need of some better material at the moment but other than that, the season is solid so far and the cases have been interesting too.

Rating: 8 out of 10

Friday, October 13, 2017

My Review of Gotham's 4x04: "The Demon's Head"

Written by Ben McKenzie
Directed by Kenneth Fink

Ras (to Bruce): "You're finally beginning to see things clearly. The question is: are you strong enough?"

Have I mentioned that Gotham are doing a far better job with their depiction of Ras Al Ghul than the Arrow universe did? Well, even if I have, it bears repeating as this episode really showed what a magnificently dangerous man Ras well and truly can be when pushed into a corner.

Now I wasn't shocked that he killed kindly museum guy Niles, who had the misfortune of examining the knife that Bruce bought at the auction that Ras was so desperately keen on acquiring. I was however shocked that the show actually went ahead and allowed Ras to slit poor Alex's throat when Bruce refused to hand over the knife towards the end of this episode.

Considering the amount of things that the show has done in it's four seasons, seeing an innocent kid getting murdered was by far the most shocking they've done. I liked the character of Alex. He wasn't the brightest bulb in the room but he was sympathetic and it was nice to see Bruce interact with someone his age range that wasn't Selina for a change. Had things been different, Alex might have been a good friend to Bruce but Ras certainly put an end to that one.

Of course when Ras wasn't killing people to get his knife, he was sending a bodyguard with a dog man creature named Anubis to try and do the same thing while formally introducing himself to Gordon in an attempt to play nice. The latter stance almost worked until Alfred blew both Gordon and Ras's mutual scheming against one another.

Still though, this was a truly excellent episode for Ras where he definitely emerged as a big threat and even with him being shipped off to Blackgate, I didn't need the trailer for next week to inform me that he would get out of his prison sooner than later. Of course, it wasn't just Ras that fared well in this episode.

Both Bruce and Gordon themselves were on fine form and it was nice to see the pair of them actually working together to try and stop Ras. I also liked that Gordon was a lot more competent in this episode than usual and that he actually gave Bruce some pretty sound advice as well. This is a version of James the show needs more and more.

Saying that though, I don't think Gordon really understand what he's done with bringing Sofia back to the city. In this episode alone, it seemed like she was able to play off both Oswald and Gordon while at least letting them both think that they have her sussed out. Now this side to Sofia, I'm also in favour of. I'd rather see Sofia using both Jim and Oswald than being played so easily by both.

As for Oswald, when he wasn't testing Sofia out as a potential threat, he was also having to deal with Nygma's frankly pathetic attempts at revenge. I have to admit, I loved the rapping riddles bit (mainly for Zsasz's reactions) and I also loved the moment where Oswald and Edward finally faced off and the former stopped Fries from freezing the latter as well. Oswald not putting Edward on ice again will probably come back to haunt or maybe it'll be the beginning of a truce between the two. I imagine we won't have too long to wait for an answer to that one though.

- Benjamin McKenzie (Gordon) wrote this episode after directing last season's These Delicate And Dark Obsessions. He really should write/direct more for the series.
- How gorgeous does the Iceberg Lounge actually look? I love the umbrella light especially. It's just in this episode I really got a proper look at the place.
- No Selina, Ivy, Tabitha, Butch or Bullock in this episode and Barbara was relegated to at least two scenes. We did get some more of Harper though who seems okay, character wise.
- Chronology: More or less from where They Who Hide Behind Masks left off.

Now that was brilliant. The Demon's Head certainly showed us that Ras mean business as an antagonist this season and the excellent team up of Gordon and Bruce really worked well for the episode with the Oswald, Nygma and Sofia subplots. Can Benjamin McKenzie write another episode for the series?

Rating: 9 out of 10

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Constantine - Trailer For Animated Series Released/Legends Of Tomorrow Appearance Confirmed

One of the many highlights from last week's New York Comic Con was the confirmation that a certain petty dabbler still has more life in him just yet.

Matt Ryan played the role of exorcist and conman, John Constantine in NBC's Constantine series, which ran for 13 episodes between 2014-2015. Following the series cancellation, Ryan reprised the role in Arrow's fourth season in the episode titled Haunted, before appearing in the Justice League Dark movie and in 2018 the character will headline his own animated series on the CWSeed.

The trailer, released during the weekend showed Constantine up to his old tricks in a church surrounded by demons but it seems that this time around he can swear as well as smoke in his new form.

However, viewers won't just have the character in animated form to enjoy once again as it's also been confirmed that Matt Ryan will also be appearing in the ninth and tenth episodes of Legends Of Tomorrow's third season as well. The spoilers for the appearances sound genuinely exciting as Constantine's appearance on the series will coincide with the return of Damien Darhk (Neal McDonough) and introduction of new antagonist, Mallus.

"As for the character of Constantine, we knew that an alienated, chain-smoking, bisexual, world-weary demonologist would feel right at home among our Legends. His appearance in episode 310 will involve the following: a revisiting of Arrow season four and the events following that season’s finale episode; a confrontation with this season’s Big Bad on Legends — the name we’ve only heard whispered until now Mallus; some hot sex — something that has been in short supply on the Waverider thus far in season three; and Damien Darhk, because how can you do an episode about dark magic and not have Damien Darhk? More than anything, the episode promises to be scary as you know what — tonally it’s The Exorcist meets One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest. Demonic possession in a mental institution, what’s not to love?"

The fact that they're also talking about the character's bisexuality is promising, considering that his own series did seem to skirt around the subject. I'm also hoping that beyond his two scheduled appearances that perhaps we might see more of the character in the future.

Constantine - Animated Series Trailer:
Legends Of Tomorrow Spoilers:

Constantine will air on CWSeed in 2018 as will his appearances on Legends Of Tomorrow.

My Review of Legends Of Tomorrow's 3x01: "Aruba-Con"

Written by Phil Klemmer & Marc Guggenheim
Directed by Rob Seidenglanz

Ray: "You're gonna steal the Waverider?"
Sara: "We're gonna fix our mistakes."

And we're back. Picking up from where things went all a bit The Wedding Of River Song, the Legends find themselves in a messy 2017 but they don't have much time to dwell on it because Rip just set up a new group of helpers called the Time Bureau in order to fix the mess Sara and company somewhat created.

The Time Bureau are just like the Legends, except they wear suits and are mostly humour defunct but they're not quite as good at fixing things as Rip would have anyone else believe as this episode also demonstrated. With the exception of the rather uptight Agent Sharpe, the rest of the Bureau are mostly background men doing and saying little of consequence. Sharpe on the other hand made her disapproval of the Legends known while also potentially being into Sara if rumours are anything to go by.

Of course with what I assumed was going to be the main plot somewhat resolved in the first two minutes, Rip effectively broke up the Legends and sent them on their separate ways. Nate and Amaya broke up as the latter went back to Zambesi and the former became a hero in Central City. Then there was Ray working on some holistic app with an annoying wonder kid while Sara worked in a store in Star City with an irritating boss, Stein got to learn he was going to be a grandfather, Jax dropped out of college and Mick actually got his vacation in Aruba with a hitch of course.

The hitch being Julius Caesar whom Mick managed to apprehend before the Time Bureau somewhat botched things up and Sara rebelled by reclaiming the Waverider, assembling her team and trying to send Caesar back to his own time and it would've gone pretty well if Nate hadn't blundered things but then the episode would've lost a few minutes.

Simon Merrills did a great job as the leader of Rome and I really enjoyed his scene with both Mick and Sara throughout the episode. I also liked the team up of Sara and Sharpe fighting Caesar's men as much as I had enjoyed Jax's rather weak impersonation of Ares as well. Of course with Caesar being sent back to his own time, memories erased and both Rip and Sharpe holding different views about the Legends, the episode also dropped an important clanger on us - Mallus.

Although this season is giving a resurrected Damien Darkh, his daughter Eleanor and Amaya's villainous granddaughter, Kuasa in later episodes this season, it seems that Mallus will be the main antagonist this season. However, they're also going to be a threat that we're going to be waiting to see until the second half of the season but I'll enjoy hearing more about the character until they make their way onto the show.

- Rip is now a recurring character this season and it seems that we'll be losing Stein while also gaining Zari as the season plays out.
- Kid Flash was working with Nate in this episode and we got some Felicity shade from Ray's boss as well.
- It seems this season will have eighteen episodes, which is a good thing.
- Chronology: Mostly 2017 but there was also trips to 49BC and 1942 Zambesi. It's also been five years since Rip last saw the gang.

A fun opening episode. Aruba-Con set up a lot of potentially exciting prospects while also hinting at some serious dynamic shifts at the same time. I've missed how utterly bonkers this series can be and this episode served as a perfect reminder of how that continuously works in it's favour. Welcome back, Legends. You guys might screw up time but you're a lot more fun than Rip's new project.

Rating: 8 out of 10