Category Archives: Reviews

Review/Recap: Batwoman – How Queer Everything Is Today S1E10

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When Kate was pulled out of Gotham to help save the multiverse for Crisis on Infinite Earths, much like Black Lightning, she was dealing with some pretty heavy stuff. Her twin sister, the villainess currently known as Alice, was on a mission to destroy everyone in her life, and to an extent in Gotham,  but her. Her stepmother was dead, her stepsister was forcing her to choose a side, her dad was in handcuffs after a stellar frame job and,  the city going to the Arkham ready psychos. While the biggest thing that Kara had to worry about was working for Lex Luthor in a world where people thought he was a good guy, Batwoman had to return to her world and it was literally falling apart to such a degree that Crisis felt like a vacation.

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Queer picks up with Kate riding a badass BatHarley to save a train full of passengers, some of whom are just trying to see Jagged Little Pill after the breaks were cut. After the rescue is complete a cop “saves” her and now she can’t get rid of him or the shipping that the press keeps doing. Alice is having a tea party at the cemetery and semi-vandalizing her dead stepmother’s gravestone while her boyfriend tries to bring her back to reality because he knows something she won’t see, that the twins are never, ever, ever getting back together.

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A new threat is looming and it’s an animated puppy avatar cyber-terrorist who’s holding the city’s digital secrets hostage unless his crowdfunding drive to the tune of five million dollars is received by Friday at midnight. Kate spends a lot of the episode trying to come to terms with all of the parts of her that she is hiding to save not only her secret identity but, the city. While Kate is all about hunting the hacker, who is hiding out at her old prep school, Mary is trying to save the only parent that she has left from being wrongfully convicted of killing her mother. Both of the girls have a very valid mission in the episode but, with all of the secrets keeping them apart it’s quite possible that all the work Kate has been doing to keep Mary safe might be for nothing. Batwoman finds the hacker and discovers that she’s just a scared school girl, Parker, who was upset after her ex outed her to her super religious parents and she just wanted the money to escape. Kate finds herself mask on staring into a mirror, realizing that hiding who she is might be bad, not just for her but, for everyone.  Alice kidnaps Parker and of course, Batwoman comes to the rescue and to save Parker, she takes off her mask. Finding out that Batwoman is the “super gay” Kate, makes Parker feel a sense of loyalty, not just to The Bat but, she doesn’t want to be responsible for outing everyone after what happened to her when she was outed. But, Kate tells her that it is OK and so Parker sends a mass text out to everyone and turns the tables on Alice, handcuffing her and trying to get her to tell her how to diffuse the bomb she planted at the school. Kate lets her know that she is dead to her and with sirens blazing in the background, Alice discovers that Parker didn’t do what she asked, she sent one text to Alice and another one to everyone else in the building, warning them that there was a bomb in the building, giving them time to escape. When everything is said and done and Alice ends up in an interrogation room in Sophie’s care, Batwoman comes out as a lesbian because she knows that there is more than one Parker out there and, and she goes to hug Mary because she didn’t know how else to be there for her and, she wants to be there for everyone in Gotham in every way that she can. The episode ends with a twist that I can’t wait to see unravel next week, Beth is back, just in time for her and Kate’s birthday and she has no clue who Alice is and since we know all about Crisis, we know that this can all unfold in a lot of different ways.

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Batwoman and Supergirl play on Sunday night and they run back to back, with Supergirl raising the darkness meter and Batwoman holding steady, they go together like PB & J which is a good thing. Batwoman sticks to her paragons ethos and is still a crusader of courage and she’s willing to go against anyone who is against the greater, common good.  Kate’s character remains consistent and the writing remains pop-culture heavy (even crossing brands) and well written, showing every side of the human condition. Out of all of the episodes that I have seen since the pilot, this one is my favorite. It showed how dark people can get when they are afraid of being exposed, how rational people can act irrationally when they’re afraid of their life being upturned. Queer was an emotional and realistic take on things, the lighting kept you uneasy and the directing and camera work made you feel like you were a fly on the wall stuck in voyeur position which made this an interesting experience and an entertaining watch. I also loved how they slid a pretty realistic “Representation Matters” monologue into the script, it was just honest enough to avoid being too cliched and it didn’t come off as pandering or out of place. I really hope that we see more of Parker, she’s a talented young woman and when Batwoman gives her to offer to come see her if she needs to talk, I hope she takes her up on it because statistically speaking, having even one supportive adult in an LGBTQ+ kids life ups their chances of surviving and staying alive. I also loved how Parker’s face lit up when she discovered that the Gotham’s hero was just like her, it gave her hope and that’s what everyone in Gotham and, in the world out here needs.

Overall Rating: 9.3

Review/Recap: Supergirl – The Bottle Episode S5E10

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The official midseason premiere of Supergirl picks up after the events of Crisis on Infinite Earths. Kara is disgusted with Lex and her being known worldwide as collaborators and she wants to come clean with Lena upfront this time so that their friendship can be open and honest but, she doesn’t know that Lena escaped the Crisis with her memory untouched. While Lex tries to bring Lena into the fold she and her unwiped mind let him in on the fact that no one seems to remember the Leviathan is still out there. Brainiac 5 meets another Brainiac 5 in what appears to be an side effect of the Crisis and in attempting to bring the alterna Brainiac to Alex at the DEO, he finds himself in a room full of Brainiac 5’s including a female one who is head of the DEO.

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Kara’s attempt to come clean to Lena is met with exactly the opposition you’d expect but, ever the Paragon of Hope, Supergirl still believes that she can get their friendship back and they can work together to save the world. Back at the DEO someone is wiping out the Brainiacs with a biosynthetic virus and the Brainiacs have all converged on Earth-Prime and Brainiac Prime lets them all know that all the multiverses are dead. Lex summons Supergirl and Alex to his office to make his version of a peace pact and give each other an update on where all of Earth Prime’s threats stand.

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Meanwhile, at Al’s Bar the Brainiac’s learn that all of Al’s Bar was a wormhole site and when the universes merged all of the people in Al’s Bar’s across the multiverse were transported to Earth-Prime. We also find out that Lex’s mom is back too and since Lena is on the loose looking for a partner so she goes to mommy dearest who tells her to chose Lex over Kara because she will never trust Lex, so he can never hurt her. Alex is having a big problem, understandably, about working for Lex and goes to J’onn J’onzz for help who tells her to follow her heart and do what she thinks is right even if it’s “wrong”. The female Braniac 5 is up to something and at first glance appears to be working for the Leviathan, or at least very interested in what is going on with them. She finds Brainiac 5  to find out what’s going on with him and learns about his personality inhibitors and attempts to change him. Lady Brainiac (Kor-El) attempts to get him to reconnect to the big brain while one of the other Brainiac’s is visited by Nia who catches him holding on to a bottle that contains the 7 billion souls that he has contained to save them and wants to open his universe in Prime. Nia alerts Brainiac Prime, and Supergirl about what is going on and they come to her aid but Earth Bottling Brainiac is already on the move, and he’s the one who is killing the Brainiac’s who try and stop him.

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The bottling Brainy wants to open his world but, doing so would destroy both worlds and while the Brainy collective, Supergirl and Alex think that they have more time because the only saber using Argonium 44 that he can use to open it has been destroyed. Andrea Roja’s mentor is trying to convince her to extend her Obsidian tech idea to basically, turn everyone into the people sent off-world in Wall-E. Brainiac Prime is reliving some painful childhood memories that explain how he came to possess his three-dot inhibitors and how he is unable to take them off because he fears that he may have evil within him. While having their heart to heart with Supergirl they realize that the witches who released reign in “our” world but, who are benign in ours after the Big Al’s Wormhole Merge Bar Party are capable of opening the bottle and that’s Bottle Brainiacs only play.

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Nia, Supergirl and Brainiac Prime show up at the bar in time to catch the Bottle Brainy and his new collection of helpful witches about to open the bottle. During what can only be described as the a campily beautiful bar fight to N’Sync’s “It’s Gonna Be Me,” Brainiac Prime finds himself unable to win against Bottle Brainy with Nia’s encouragement and love he decides to take off the inhibitors, allowing him to connect with Bottle Brainy and together they stop him from opening the bottle. One of the witches comes to her senses and decides that it is better for them all to wait for a solution to everyone’s new world problems and trust Brainiac Prime and his friends. Prime then encases the witches and Bottle Brainy in his universe bottle in an act of mercy and compassion until they can safely release them home.

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The remaining two Brainiacs decide to go back into the Big Brain since they aren’t needed on this planet. Lady Kor-El stays behind a bit to warn Brainiac Prime that he needs to abandon his friends and Nia and work with Lex Luthor if he is to save the last remaining world. She knows this because fighting Lex is what took her world down the road to ruin and Brainiac prime is now stuck with secret information that will undoubtedly have effects that ripple throughout the remainder of this season. Lex and Lena agree to join forces after they state their terms while Lex is bound with truth manacles which are bound to make things awkward for Supergirl and the rest of the DOE team. Brainiac breaks up with Nia and all of our hearts break because while we know why he’s doing it, it doesn’t make it sting less, especially when we’re sure that there has to be another way. While the rest of the team prepares to stand against Lex, Brainiac Prime offers Lex his services and they head off to collect The Toymaker (our boy Wynn is back) who came through the wormhole and was arrested ( a nice callback to the toy monkey they found in the lost & found box at Al’s).

Overall, Episode 10 was the only logical way to show the ripples of the merge and the overreaching effects that the events of Crisis caused. While our heroes remain mostly OK, even Lex got to keep the people that he “loved”, other planets and people were not so lucky and while they may not know what they are missing there is still a hole. As a stand-alone episode in what I’m sure will be a multi-layered storyline with a lot of intricate moving pieces, this was a nice part of the puzzle. I am a huge fan of this new, all-inclusive, dark direction that Supergirl (and the DC shows on the CW) have taken and if this is what a post-Crisis Prime looks like, I’m here for it.

Overall: 8.7

Recap/Review: Crisis on Infinite Earths Part 5 – DC’s Legends of Tomorrow

Just when you think you’re out, DC on the CW pulls you back in. In the Crisis Crossover finale it’s the fall out from the repercussions of what has happened.

Kara wakes up in her own bed feeling relaxed at least until Dazzler tells her to get to work. Kara rushes down just in time to see Lex Luthor getting a Nobel Peace Prize and unfortunately she’s the only person who remembers, at least until she bumps into J’onn at work. It seems like only the Paragons remember what happened and know that all of the Earth’s have been merged thanks to Oliver’s ultimate sacrifice.

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In Central City a couple of utility workers discover a passed out Nash (a Pariah depending on how things went down) and in Star City, Sara is having a bunch of meshed memories, on her way to meet Roy. J’onn J’onzz shows up to fill Sara in and mind-meld with Ray to catch him up as he has done with every other DC superhero and their teams in this combined Prime Earth. Once everyone is gathered and celebrating being in the same universe as all of their super friends, old and new, they discover that Oliver didn’t survive the battle with the Anti-Monitor and they all have to grieve his loss a second time.

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After fighting off some rogue Shadow Monsters the not dead Anti-Monitor is forced into a perpetually shrinking state of existence ending that threat, for now. The episode ends with a memorial funeral for Oliver in the Hall of Justice with Batwoman, Flash, Sara, Black Lightning, Atom, Supergirl, and Superman and now that they have a cohesive universe in Prime Earth the beginning of the Super Friends with a seat reserved for their fallen savior and friend, the Green Arrow. We also see an empty cage and a banana, which means we might get to see the Wonder Twins and him at some point on any of the shows. We also see that there still might be other Earths that include Stargirl, a nice tie in for her upcoming CW/DC Universe show.

Overall this episode was pure fire, it’s a fun romp through memory lane and filled us with hope for the DC Universe on the CW as well as one cohesive universe where all of our faves can join forces at any time. I binge-watched all five episodes in order and, in my honest opinion, I felt like it was more of a movie. More so than anything that DC has put on the big screen. It was beautifully acted, wonderfully acted, and directed with such a cohesive, brilliant eye that I forgot to make dinner or use the bathroom because I couldn’t take my eyes off of the screen. The episode left an open door for some amazing one-off crossovers and made me genuinely excited for shows like Arrow and Flash, that I haven’t watched them since the first season.

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The five arc crossover was the hard reset that the CW and DC needed to bring back old fans into the fold, engage new fans and possibly up the numbers on some of the shows that may have had some ratings issues.

The arc gave those of us who only watch one or two of the CW’s offerings a chance to get to know what else the CW offers and get us invested in all of the shows. As someone who checked out on a few of the CW shows, I have a newfound interest in some of the characters and a desire to hit the CW app on my Apple TV to play catch up so I can become a regular viewer of all of their DC shows across the board.

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This season premiere was a fitting return for my DC/CW Bae, Legends of Tomorrow and was so well written that I forgot about all of the things that I was excited about while I awaited their return. It tied up all the loose ends that the previous Crisis episodes left open and established a new world full of exciting possibilities. Crisis was an emotional roller coaster filled with love and loss, hope, and passion and it’s worth a five-hour binge watch on the CW app because, in my opinion, that enhances the amazing experience. The “Crisis on Infinite Earths” crossover made a true believer in the DC/CW franchise and I can’t wait to see more.

Overall Rating: 9.7

TV Review: Watchmen S1E2 Martial Feats of Comanche Horsemanship

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Watchmen‘s second episode focuses on the fallout of the murder of the police captain Judd Crawford played by Don Johnson. The episode goes beyond that but also builds on its history of Tulsa as well as Angela Abar’s.

We learn about Angela’s history with Judd and her history with Judd. That history becomes closer due to the White Night, a coordinated attack by the 7th Cavalry murdering police officers. Through that we also find out about Abar’s children, who are the children of her former partner who was killed during the attack. It’s an interesting scene as it explains why an officer would be so close to her superior and also why the police now hide their identities.

The series continues to entwine itself into the history of the Tulsa Race Riot. It becomes clear as to why Judd was murdered as Angela discovers what looks like a KKK outfit in Crawford’s closet. We also discover Louis Gossett, Jr.’s Will Reeves is indeed the young boy from Tulsa as well as his connection to Angela.

What makes Reeves interesting is his talking in riddles which has the viewer parsing everything he has to say. It forces you to listen to the dialogue and question everything said. It puts the viewer in a similar position with Angela as she attempts to discover the truth.

We also learn more about Veidt and his servants. It’s now much clearer as to what’s going on and the oddness of them. It shows Veidt is up to his old tricks and has lost his mind even more than before. Is he still the villain?

The episode has a lot of revelations and adds depth to each of its characters in small moments and big ones as well. It also deepens the mystery as we, like Angela Abar, discover each new piece of information. For each answer, there’s so many more questions presented.

Watchmen is proving itself to be every bit the worthy successor of the original comic material delivering a layered story and fleshed out history. This is much watch television. One that deserves multiple viewings.

Overall Rating: 8.5

TV Review: Batwoman S1E4 Who Are You?

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Batwoman fourth episode has a bit of a different focus as it shifts into the bad guy of the week territory. That tends to be the formula for The CW DC-based shows and generally has become predictable and a tad bit repetitive.

Magpie is the new villain and she comes off as a second rate Catwoman. Her entire focus is stealing jewelry and it isn’t until the end that there’s any depth to the character.

The bigger focus of the episode is Kate attempting to balance her life as Batwoman and her personal goings on. She’s dating but has issues dealing with that and donning the cape.

There’s potential here as far as the show goes is the greatest. There’s some solid territory to mine and it’s something for Batman that no films have really dived into well.

There are some revelations about what Katherine has been hiding and she’s forced to admit things to Kate’s dad. It adds to the chance that Alice is telling the truth about her being Kate’s missing sister. It also adds some tension to her family.

The episode gets the small details right. It finally hints that Kate is Jewish. It’s something the series has ignored for the first three episodes. It also has Kate not being smooth in the Batsuit. She misses a Batarang and causes damage. She doesn’t slide right into the role which is a nice touch.

The show actually finally shows some standout ideas as the end has Kate making a declaration as to what she’s going to do. It feels like a response that Batman would do more to help Gotham as Bruce but doesn’t. It puts the concept Kate can do good in both her roles and out of everything, this is what can really make the series interesting. Hopefully, it’s more than just a line and the team does something with it.

Overall Rating: 7.2

TV Review: The Walking Dead S10E3 Ghosts

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The Walking Dead focuses on the characters and psychology in the third episode “Ghosts.”

The threat of the Whisperers return leads to paranoia sweeping over Alexandria; in the meantime, Carol battles with the need for revenge.

The episode is a focus on the slog of it all and the impact on the survivors. It opens with hours after hours as waves after waves of walkers attack a town and need to be repelled. Something is driving them and it’s unclear if it’s the Whisperers or not.

How does that impact individuals?

Carol, Aaron, Michonne, and Negan are all spotlighted as they struggle to deal with the situation. That includes interactions with the Whisperers and facing the threat that looms. Carol and Daryl have their moments as Carol’s mindset is explored especially after the death of her “son.”

Negan and Aaron are key too as Negan is tasked with helping Aaron. Has Negan changed and what of his past crimes? The tension is there and their back and forth are interesting. Aaron has lots of resentment towards Negan. Negan does come off as wanting to reform and leave his past behind. But, at the same time he’s not sorry. His words indicate that he sees it all as what needed to be done. It’s clear Negan will have his redemption in this season, the question is how and when.

The episode is a tense one as danger looms and the focus is squarely on the pressure of it all. It’s a good episode that revolves around the characters as the series always does. The Walking Dead isn’t about scares. It’s about the survivors and their dealing with this new world. The episode is important hinting at what’s to come and reminds us where the characters currently are.

Overall Rating: 8.05

TV Review: Watchmen S1E1 It’s Summer and We’re Running Out of Ice

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Based on the classic graphic novel and comic series by Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons‘, HBO‘s Watchmen is the latest attempt to build off what is considered one of the greatest comics of all time.

Opening with the Tulsa Race Riot of 1921, the series is an interesting exploration of fascism on all fronts. Taking place after the events of the classic comic series, police now don masks and personas in a battle for justice using less than just means. A white supremacist group who seem to worship Rorschach has risen.

While it’s clear who the bad guys are (unless there’s some twist yet to come), it’s an interesting spin to deliver a series where we’re supposed to emphasize with the police. An attempt is made towards the beginning when one is gunned down but from there it’s a series focused on bad all around. Bad and weird.

It all feels a bit overkill in the middle America this takes place. The police force has a version of Nite Owl’s Owlship which while used for a rather exciting sequence all feels a bit over the top.

And maybe that’s part of the point?

Like our local police force having military grade hardware in real life, it all feels like it’s an exaggeration of the broken down rule of law and order that exists today. Police kill innocent individuals going for the gun when other methods may due. Here, the police ignore civil rights and revel in military assaults.

But, what stands out the most of this debut episode is how much it nods to the source material while not relying on it. It’s set in the world of, but is its own thing. A man with a sign is in a scene as a character walks back. The sign reads the opposite of Rorschach’s doom and gloom of the comics. The squids falling from the sky is a reminder of how the comic ended.

Watchmen‘s debut episode also delivers some depth to each of the main characters. Don Johnson‘s Judd Crawford and Regina King‘s Angela Abar feel like the two characters the series revolves around. Despite their fascist tendencies, there’s enough there to like them as people and empathize with them. King’s Abar especially seems to have nice depth to the character and her husband Cal Abar, played by Yahya Abdul-Mateen II is one of the more fresh aspects of the show.

And then there’s that ending… So many questions. So much history playing out on the screen. Much like the comics, the story we witness is just one of a story that weaves in and out of other aspects.

While the title might be Watchmen, this show stands on its own delivering an intriguing adaptation of the source material. One that makes the viewer think and ponder right from wrong, good and evil.

Overall Rating: 8.5

TV Review: Batwoman S1E3 Down Down Down

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In the third episode of Batwoman, the city awaits for another visit from who they think is Batman; Alice continues to taunt Kate; Mary gets an unexpected new friend; as Batwoman faces a new enemy, Kate realizes she must make a decision.

The third episode of Batwoman picks things up a bit as the dance between Alice and her father and Kate continues. But the real focus is a former friend of Bruce and Kate who’s out for revenge.

That plotline is a bit mixed. It gives a distraction from the Alice storyline but the decision to act against Bruce due to “Batman’s return” feels a bit rushed and not fleshed out. We get a Riddler reference but overall it’s all a bit meh.

Ruby Rose continues to improve in her acting. While her delivery is still a bit cold, there’s at least some variant in her delivery of lines and scenes. Camrus Johnson as Luke Fox has his moments and shows off a lot of entertainment factor. He feels a bit like a few other actors and characters we’ve seen on CW shows but he brings some subtle humor to the episode. Nicole Kang still feels like the underused actor and while there’s glimpses of her Mary of being a bit more than a bratty socialite, she’s used here mostly to push Kate’s story and relationship with her ex Sophie.

Rachel Skarsten continues to be the standout of the show. There’s something about her delivery and every scene that’s entertaining. She runs circles around the others on the show and as a first season villain, she’s the highlight of the series.

Though Skarsten as Alice and the dynamic between her, Kate, and their father is interesting, the dance is a bit old. Not enough emphasis is delivered as to why Kate doesn’t just turn her in and let the truth come out that way. The show never quite makes the case as to why it’s doing what it is.

We do get a more proper Batwoman costume on this episode and it’s not a bad adaptation from the comic version. It beats what we’ve seen the last few episodes in the proto version that never quite worked and didn’t make a whole lot of sense.

The episode is just ok continuing the series rather dull delivery of the material. It’s not good and it’s not bad. It just is. The hour at times feels like a chore thought the last this episode and the previous less so than the debut. Batwoman underwhelms in what should be a much higher quality show and makes one wonder if the magic of The CW’s DCTV might be waning.

Overall Rating: 7.0

TV Review: Stumptown S1E4 Family Ties

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Stumptown‘s fourth episode picks up on the third with Dex trying to protect her client and baby from an abusive and slimy real estate mogul. That also pits her against Artie Backs, her former mentor when it comes to private investigation.

The episode is a good one and interesting in that it explores a lot of the different characters.

First, there’s the main story featuring Dex and Artie. Cobie Smulders is fantastically pitted against Donal Logue. The two actors just work against each other so well and the playful competition is great. There’s a ratcheting up of actions against each other and it’s just an entertaining tête-à-tête. There’s also some depth added to Artie that while he’s scummy, there’s more than just being a stereotypical private investigator. Hopefully, we’ll get more of Logue in the series as he’s just amazing in everything he’s in.

There’s also a story having to deal with Detective Cosgrove. A prisoner escapes and we learn a connection to Cosgrove’s past but also to Grey and his friend that was murdered. The series gives the storyline a decent amount of the show’s time and in doing so again gets us away from the Dex show and being just another police detective show. Stumptown has been smart in its use of its secondary characters and teasing their history.

The episode wraps up all of the various plot threads in satisfying ways either concluding them or taking them to the next level. The episode is a key one taking the secondary characters and putting them front and center, a lot of the characters. It’s a show that really is about the full cast delivering an entertaining hour and one of the best new shows of the year.

Overall Rating: 8.0

TV Review: The Walking Dead S10E2 We Are the End of the World

The Walking Dead Season 10

The Walking Dead takes things back in the second episode with a flashback episode that reveals the origins of Alpha and Beta. Alpha attempts to toughen up Lydia as they prepare to walk with the dead. The Whisperers also create their herds.

The second episode of The Walking Dead is interesting. You could also call it “When Alpha met Beta.” That initial meeting isn’t quite as interesting as expected but it’s what unfolds that becomes really interesting, that of Lydia.

Through various glimpses, we get a sense of the horrors the Whisperers have done to survive in this new world. Those horrors eventually cracks Lydia and we see her break down and the repercussions of that. It highlights the abusive road that some have gone down and the deep psychological scars inflicted.

While not touched upon, contrast all of this with how the children of the various towns have endured and lived.

There’s some impactful moments that as a father of a daughter just chilled me. Lydia’s struggles. Alpha’s rejection of being called mother. It creates a cold and chilling experience. Add in Alpha’s actions and what she says it’s an interesting episode.

But overall, the episode focuses on the loss of self in this new world. Names are eschewed. It’s a shedding of identity and connection and with it humanity. Again, compare this to the communities and what they’ve done, endured, and built.

But despite that, there’s still something understandable about it all. These are individuals who have chosen a different way to survive. They see the walkers as both protection and destiny. This is a new reality and with it, new rules and norms are needed. And, as presented there’s a quasi-religious aspect to it all. But, Alpha still has depth and that’s in the form of her feelings for her daughter.

The episode creates a complicated relationship between Alpha and Beta and Alpha’s outlook on the world. It’s all much more complicated than what’s expected and the episode adds depth to characters who otherwise could easily have none. The revelations toward the end, such as where some of their walker masks come from, create a group that has layers.

It’s a creepy episode that focuses on the big evil of the season giving them history that makes them both more understandable and scarier at the same time.

Overall Rating: 8.35

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