Archive for November, 2014

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It was Roy’s turn to shine, just when I said last week about it was nice seeing Felicity get some character development; and that all we needed now was for Roy to get some. Now while it wasn’t about Roy’s past before the show, it was about what happened to him when he was going through his Mirakuru induced madness.

He thinks he killed Sara.

Obviously he is tormented by this, who wouldn’t be? But he doesn’t know for certain that he killed Sara so he enlists the help of Felicity to make sure he doesn’t have an Mirakuru lingering in his system. Roy is relieved, Felicity is freaked out; so she runs a test and determines from the angle and force of the arrows that it would be similar to Roy throwing arrows in his Mirakuru rage.

Felicity does the smart thing, and tells Roy, tormenting him more. Roy then does the even smarter thing and tells Laurel that he killed Sara, when in fact all the evidence is circumstantial; so he would incur the almost-murderous wrath of Laurel to tell a “fact” when is in reality a maybe.

He feels guilty, but still it seems a stretch anyone would take the fateful step to admit to a murder they didn’t know for a fact they committed. It seemed very odd, as did how Felicity and Diggle treated the “revelation”. I felt that whole part of the episode it was very out of character except for Laurel and Oliver and it made the episode a bit odd.

The parallels between Oliver and Ted were quite interesting, obviously the writers planned it that way; however the poor acting on Ted’s part brought down the scenes. Another drag was Laurel mentioning that the Arrow was once her boyfriend, like that couldn’t compromise Oliver’s identity at all. Also Oliver critiques Ted for killing one person when he has killed how many people, exactly?

There were other problems but the ones that bothered me the most was the character inconsistencies, and I was gravely disappointed in Diggle who has often been the voice of moral clarity.

But Oliver was the only one who still believed in Roy, other than Roy himself. Roy tells Ted’s failed protégé that he is not the same, he will not end up the same. Oliver reassures Roy he won’t abandon him…he won’t lose faith, and he will help Roy face his fears and give him clarity; but sometimes clarity brings just as much darkness as before.

The themes of the episode were very strong, despite the flaws. The stumble should remain just that, and Arrow should return to form…but to be perfectly honest, the “I’m Cupid, stupid” didn’t garner much hope for next week.

What’s new to talk about concerning The Flash? They’re still playing up Barry’s attraction to Iris (and Iris’ total obliviousness to it). The humor is still there, the inconsistencies are still there…plus they ripped off a scene from Captain America: The First Avenger (hint: it had to do with Barry not being able to get drunk). Oh and let’s not forget the conveniences!

Of course Iris happens to stumble across Barry so her desire to write about “the Streak” will only continue to grow and add tension (and give ulcers for Joe and Barry) to the series, but at least we were given well explained reasoning for why Iris is doing what she is doing; she trying to give Barry hope.

She can’t understand why Barry has this sudden change of heart, why he won’t believe in “the Streak” when he had been saying for over a decade that a super-fast man killed his mother; but her brain, for the tension’s sake, can’t put two and two together and figure out that Barry might actually know something about “the Streak” (let alone the possibility of Barry being “the Streak”).

I liked the addition of Sgt. Bette and I was sad to see her die. I wasn’t the least bit surprised, but it would have been nice for her to have been a addition to the team. Her powers weren’t explained as well as they should have been, because if you think about her logically, she never would have been able to put on the gloves without blowing them up.

Inconsistencies aside, Sgt. Bette added to the development of Barry, giving us a better view of his moral values. She also showed how much of a manipulator Dr. Wells is; his story has by far become the most intriguing part of the show.

Unfortunately, The Flash returned to form as an exciting average show. The emotional scenes didn’t get any of the feels going, and I didn’t care one bit about the veiled threats and foreshadowing between Dr. Wells and the general. Also the writers should stick to not talking about existential forces, first claiming “the universe” somehow made Barry into what he is and then making a Jesus comparison when Caitlyn brings up that he walked on water. One or the other, guys.

And please, enough with this beating around the bush, one of the characters just needs to come out and tell Barry that Central City (or the world, for that matter) needs a symbol of hope. Maybe they haven’t because the writers feel that would come across as a rip-off of Arrow or the Dark Knight Trilogy; but hey, you already ripped-off one comic-book movie, so could it really hurt to take the big selling point of those two franchises and begin making it your own instead of just implying what everyone watching already knows?

The Flash has two choices, settle on being a very fun, very average show; or roll the dice and decide to become something truly special?

The beginning of Gotham’s most recent episode was weird, two men with masks fight to the death in an abandoned office; one wins, the other is dead…but why? Weird seemed to be a major part of the motif, hence the scenes with Nigma and Oswald’s mother; although Oswald was himself pretty weird with the brooch, and then Mooney licks Oswald’s blood off the brooch pin.

Yeah, it was all pretty weird.

Fortunately it didn’t detract too much from the rest of the episode, but there is only so much weirdness one can pack into a single episode and not drag down the entire enjoyableness of said episode. Alfred also came across as a bit of a psycho with his whole, “I didn’t let Bruce kill you” speech to Tommy Elliot. I know you want to increase Bruce’s self-confidence, but that seems a little far.

There were a handful of coincidence scenes that brought down the episode as well and Barbara, while Jim shouldn’t have hung up on here, is not believable; I don’t know if it is the actor or the writing or a combination of both, but still don’t care if Barbara feels hurt by Jim, I doubt the sincerity of how much she cares for Jim. I still don’t care about her character, in fact, she’s starting to feel like a drag on the series. She may be Jim’s romantic interest, but let’s start seeing less of her (unless Fox or whoever gets their act together) and more of Gotham’s other leading ladies.

Speaking of leading ladies, they do bring back Selena Kyle, I don’t know why but I’m sure the show will tell us next week. Captain Essen got to shine some as she finally backs Gordon, and the side story of Gordon being angry at his fellow cops was the selling point of the episode, capped off with an awesome, humor-laced speech from Harvey to get his fellow cops to get behind Gordon…at least just a little bit.

I had fears that Bruce’s scenes with the school bullies would be fodder for the young Bruce Haters, but they connect the dots smoothly with Bruce’s side story, albeit with psycho Alfred. Liza’s story arc was also very interesting, for whatever reason a part of me has always liked her, even if she did kill someone to get Mooney’s job. She is developing feelings Falcone, whether that be romantic or otherwise is not spelled out, but something is happening to her emotionally and it will no doubt make itself known by the end of the season. If not, Fox just wasted a good opportunity.

Mr. Sionis was a good villain, calm, collected, and creepy; but the final fight with Gordon was pretty lame, especially with the tension they had built up throughout the episode. Oswald interrogating his replacement revealed that Oswald is still a sociopath at heart and still wants to ruin Mooney more than anything else.

The humor was there and even though Harvey has Gordon’s back, their final conversation of the episode foreshadowed future conflict. The episode did a real good job of laying down building blocks for future episodes, but I found the current one to be quite flat. I still had a good time and enjoyed it, but for reasons stated throughout, there were too many problems for me to get lost in the story and enjoy it.

Maybe I’m becoming more harsh or maybe the show isn’t as good as first thought, but I was just disappointed that last week’s epic episode was followed by such a meh, sort of one. I hope next week does better.

For the traditionalists out there, Elementary paid tribute to it’s literary roots with the orange “pips”. Of course, the original story didn’t deal with orange plastic beads that dissolved into a kind of drug and kills some kids…but hey, I suppose you can ony get so close to the original.

That’s what the BBC version is for I suppose (although being perfectly honest, they take quite a few liberties as well).

Sherlock still posses no understand of the privacy of others, which in the case of the show is a good thing. It’s good to know that Sherlock hasn’t changed too much.

As I thought from last week’s episode they played up the versus factor between Sherlock and Joan, and of course Sherlock wins because of his persistence. I’ll be okay with the “versus” aspect of the show if they keep it as tactfully as they did in this episode. That aspect of the show needs to be about enhancing the overall viewing experience and making sure it is not a distraction from the main story.

I at first thought Bell was subtly hitting on Kitty, but as the show went on it seemed more likely he was just trying to get a take on her characteristics and personality. I still wouldn’t be surprised if Bell also had an ulterior motive.

So Kitty is a bit weird, as if we didn’t already feel that way from the first episode when tried singlestick with Joan. Kitty doesn’t like being touched, is extremely jealous of Joan, lacks finesse and doesn’t think things through; and that was just the first half of the episode. The remainder of the episode put Kitty in a more sympathetic light, while also pointing out a few more of her faults until she got to the point of allowing her walls to be broken down a little. Kitty is the show’s biggest question mark, it could be their biggest flub but I feel it will more than likely become the strong selling point for the season.

The writers have never disappointed so we should expect Kitty to become a quality character, and possibly even likable to a degree.

The episode was solid as per expectation, with trademark, well done, twists. After so staunchly defending himself, a morose Mr. Coleman shows up at the precinct claiming responsibility for the murders; taking this (as he said, purely hypothetical) as his penance for not doing something sooner.

The only real disappointment I had with the show was that the attorney wasn’t responsible…because she was a real peach. But the writers knew better than me and in the spirit of Sherlock and Elementary’s previously seasons executed another high-quality murder mystery.

While the first two episodes may have not introduced some over-arching plot lines yet, the show doesn’t need to. As long as they continue in their tried and true formula, the intrigue of the weekly installments will be more than enough while the show still progresses upon the story lines of Sherlock’s and Joan’s reconciliation/new working partnership and how Kitty is going to fit into everything.

Sometimes the saying of “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” still finds a place to ring true.

Season Three has found its recipe for the rest of the year, Oliver will continue to take out bad guys while the threat of Ra’s al Ghul and Malcolm Merlyn loom ominously. Laurel has to come to terms with Sara’s death and her own turmoil. We will continue to wonder about Thea’s future and ponder what exactly is Ray Palmer up to?

While the show continues to build up to the climax of all these stories, we are given the entertaining weekly episodes Arrow has had two years to practice perfecting. By no means was this episode perfect: the tear gas didn’t bother the cops, the government spawns a villain (because that never happens), Felicty’s mom was used as bait, and the fact that Felicity’s boyfriend was the villain was by no means surprising; but the episode was fairly solid.

We were given backstory to everyone’s favorite hacker, Felicity Smoak, which if you think about it was way overdue; but it did also seem to be the perfect time. I never really wondered about Felicity’s past, probably because she is so clean cut and I absolutely love her character, but it was a good move by the show to go into her past; now all we really need is to find out a little more about Roy.

With Felicity’s expertise in hacking it was no surprise to see her “shady” past, what was more shocking to see was her punk getup. She looks so much better in her normal style and dress, although I think it would be cool is she stopped dyeing her hair blonde, just to get a better feel for what she looks like with dark hair, but that’s just me. Even after Felicity said that her boyfriend had committed suicide in prison, I still knew that it had to be him or it would be something totally out of left field. Unfortunately it was exactly as I suspected.

What I didn’t expect was how endearing Felicity’s mom was going to be. Is she a stereotypical busty, dumb, blonde? Yes, but she has heart and she really, really does love Felicity even if Felicity can’t stand her. I can understand why Felicity is embarrassed, although I personally would have been more mad at Ray Palmer, aka, guy with no understanding of personal space. I guess that’s what family and years of familiarity do to you. Having seen Felicity’s mom, it makes me wonder what her dad was like, especially since her mother says that she takes after her father more.

I’m glad the show cleared up the profession of Felicity’s mom. ‘Cocktail waitress’ can have plenty of different meanings, especially in Las Vegas, where Felicity’s mom lives. As it turns out, she is exactly that, a cocktail waitress with none of the seedier strings attached; at least that is what the show painted it to be, if she was anything more, they didn’t touch on it at all…which is good because it makes her character more sympathetic. The scenes between her and Felicity were among the best, especially when Felicity takes matters into her own hands and decides to kick some butt.

Looks like the instruction Diggle had been giving Felicity has finally paid off.

The other really interesting aspect of this week’s episode was the Thea/Malcolm saga. While Malcolm saw a minimal amount of screen time, mostly to creepily stare at his daughter spending time with Oliver (almost as if he’s stalking her). If you didn’t think Malcolm was off his rocker yet, you do now. Despite the creepy cameo, Malcom’s spectral presence looms over the show like Darth Vader did for the original Star Wars; and you can’t help but feel he is pulling the strings of Thea’s subconscious every time you hear her speak.

Malcolm Merlyn is her father, he has trained her, and now she has a sizable part of his fortune (we all know he didn’t give her all of it), this is going to go south for Oliver and Co. sometime in the near future. At least that is the expected path, how that path turns out could be unexpectedly awesome or comic-book cliche; but at least the tension of the situation is palpable and building. Can we be blamed if we feel that Thea is somehow not going to keep her promise to donate all of Malcolm’s money?

It also seems like Laurel is always going through an issue of some sort. I swear this show has more issues than a comic book store (see what I did there…yeah, it’s lame). Oliver just had to come back to Sterling City didn’t he? Now I’m wondering how he actually got back on Lian Yu with him being in Hong Kong, but no doubt the show will address that in due time.

As Felicity said “love in spite of everything is what makes its special” and it makes you realize that Arrow has always had strong familial tones and themes to it. It is something I have enjoyed and that I believe separates Arrow from the slew of shows out there.

It isn’t as if Barry Allen isn’t fast enough already, but The Flash got a much needed boost from its CW cousin in the form of Felicity Smoak. The addition of Wentworth Miller’s calm acting style with his character of Leonard Snart also did wonders for the episode; which thus far has been my hands-down favorite.

I can see some calling me out, that I’m only saying this because I’m an Arrow fan…oh, and I was a huge Prison Break fan by the way. I’ll admit I have bias, but the addition of Felicity and Leonard didn’t take anything away from the usual cast, it only added to it; and in my opinion, this show desperately needed this.

The realism (disclaimer: as realistic as a superhero show can be) of the show was done well, if Barry is physically fast and his metabolism is supercharged, it only makes sense that his mental functioning would be on par with the rest of his body. I also liked they explained how Barry didn’t turn into an ice cube, like the cop did, after he got hit from Cisco’s ice gun.

And speaking of Cisco, I’m just going to state it like it is. If you don’t know what The Flash is by now; a rip-roaring good time that hearkens back to an older era of feel-good comics, with a fair amount of good-natured hokeyness to it; you really should stop watching. And if that style doesn’t suit you, then so be it, find a show you can enjoy more, because let’s be honest, The Flash isn’t going to get the same sort of outside of comics following Arrow or the Dark Knight Trilogy is going to get.
And you know what, that’s okay.

Normally I would spend some time on what the episode did wrong, but I think we all have a good idea of what those errors are and of the limitations of the show. There’s plenty of corny; Eddie Thawne is your average pretty boy idiot; Iris is oblivious, to both Barry and to her dad; Barry still whines too much; TV convenience is higher than your average show; and the cast flip-flops on emotion way too much.
To be perfectly honest, none of these issues are really that bad, plenty of shows do it; but that is just the problem. The Flash will always standout from the TV crowd because it is a Superhero show (although with the semi-outrageous crop of movies and TV shows comic out, it is becoming less and less so) but that will only get you so far.

To be perfectly honest, The Flash has just felt very average to me; a fun and enjoyable average, but still average. Nothing has really stuck out for me, but like I said before, that’s okay. Look at shows like Chuck and Serenity, as long as The Flash develops a passionate following, it should remain on the airwaves (the ‘should’ is for Serenity) and that is the most important thing.

As long as Joe West is the voice of reason, there are logical explanations for Barry’s (and other meta-humans) phenomena, the geek humor stays at a good constant, Dr. Wells remains enigmatic as ever, and the superbly done effects remain at top notch; the show should find its proper niche…and have a handful of good episodes (like this one) along the way.