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TV Review: The Walking Dead S9E5 What Comes After

Rick is forced to face the past as he struggles to maintain the safety of the communities and protect the future he and Carl envisioned.

The Walking Dead wraps up an era as Rick Grimes exits the show after 9 seasons. But, can the episode live up to the expectations that it brings? The answer is yes and no.

Injured in the last episode with a bar through his side, Rick limps his way away from the zombie horde wounded and bleeding. Through his injury and journey he fades in and out of reality revisiting friends from the past and reflecting on his life and the state of the world.

It’s an interesting episode that doesn’t quite deliver the emotional impact one would hope until the very end with the last ten minutes redeeming an otherwise eye rolling script. But, it’s the details of the episode that really stand out and when examined, the show is deeper than would seem on the initial glance.

The episode is a book end in many ways reflecting the first episode and our introduction to Rick. Much like that episode, he’s injured limping along and taking in the world around him. In each, the injury is to the same side as he slides along trying to figure out what to do and where to go.

Through his struggle he fades in and out of reality visiting by friends of the past with a hint towards the Wizard of Oz. Shane delivers a pep talk focused on courage, Hershel talks about heart, and Sasha wisdom. All while trying to get home. There’s also a bit of A Christmas Carol too with Rick visited by three ghosts to give him advice.

And all of that leads to that ending, how does it end for Rick?

I could easily ruin it and spoil the situation but there’s something about finding out for yourself. That final 10 minutes is where the emotion sits delivering “holy shit” moments one after another and an emotional punch at numerous times. The moments you hope for with characters coming together is there with each delivering their own. And the show does Rick right in the end and… well, you’ll have to watch and see.

While it’s not a perfect episode it does set up an interesting future, especially the teases toward the very end of the episode of where things are going. It’s the closing of a chapter of a book which has many chapters to go.

The episode could easily have gone for the cheap emotional punches but instead delivers something more for long time fans who will notice the subtle winks and nods. It shows the writers want to deliver viewers something a bit more than just surface entertainment and for those that can appreciate that, it absolutely pays off.

Overall Rating: 8.0

TV Review: Supergirl S4E4 Ahimsa

When Supergirl needs help, Alex asks Lena and Brainiac to team up; J’onn questions his decision to quit the DEO, but after running into Manchester Black, he realizes there are a lot of ways to help his fellow aliens.

Supergirl is all action as it feels the various plans of villains are playing out as Supergirl recovers in her suit. There’s a lot going on in this episode introducing new characters and moving character arcs along.

The main part of the episode seems to focus on Alex and J’onn. J’onn is a bit lost with his decision to step back and he figures out he can help in his own way as he sorts things out. His journey introduces him to Manchester Black, a new character but one from the comics that potentially brings a lot to the show. They quest to save Fiona and it all dovetails into what the DEO is doing, a bit too nicely.

The DEO’s story is really about Alex’s leadership. She’s new in the role and is also Supergirl’s sister putting her in an awkward spot to make decisions, it also leads to the next bit of the shows plot that’ll play out and makes me question if the plot isn’t a bit bigger than we’re lead to believe.

It’s an ok episode full of action and in many ways the end of the “first act” of the season. While it doesn’t have the depth of previous episodes, it does take us on to a next phase of where this season is going. It’s not bad but also not all that good compared to what this season has delivered so far. While an action packed episode is good, there’s just something missing as the show has shown it can be so much more.

Overall Rating: 7.5

TV Review: Supergirl S4E3 Man of Steel

Through a series of incidents, and input from his anti-alien father, Ben Lockwood slowly transformers from a mild-mannered professor into the villainous Agent Liberty.

Supergirl is not holding back this season. As people still recover from the shock of the murder of eleven individuals due to their religion by a radicalized individual, the show explores radicalization within its own world.

“Man of Steel” explores Ben Lockwood, Agent Liberty, the villain of the season. We’ve seen his rallies where he spouts xenophobic rhetoric but how did he get to that point?

Lockwood was a Professor with a wife and son and a father who owns a metal factory that’s being challenged. That factory has competition in Nth Metal (a wink and nod to comic fans), an alien metal with literal alien workers. Supergirl is taking on the current racist driven hysteria of asylum seekers and undocumented workers taking jobs and making it front and center this season.

Through a series of events we can see Lockwood become radicalized. From losing his job to losing his home, it echoes the “stories” we hear about flyover country and small town America. People whose lives are being impacted with little attention and whose anger is being directed towards boogeymen exploiting bigotry and racism. It’s a playbook we’ve seen over and over, using the other to gain politically through fear.

There’s just enough presented to make Lockwood sympathetic in some ways but his radicalization is clear and presented in a way that while you might feel sorry for him you (hopefully) aren’t agreeing with him. His actions, his beliefs, his statements, are abhorrent. By the time he dons his mask there’s no question as to his place and it’s clear he’s in the wrong and evil. He’s the embodiment of the alt-right and MAGA crowd. Lockwood plays the role of both Trump and his enforcers who murder in his name and their perceived shared outlook on the world.

With a week that has involved the attempted murder of political leaders, the actual murder of two African-Americans and eleven Jewish individuals, and the election of a far-right Fascist/racist/sexist/homophobic individual in Brazil, this episode is both cringe-worthy due to its timing but also needed. When younger kids might be asking why someone has the type of views that might lead them to commit such acts, “Man of Steel” acts as a solid introduction to our reality. It’s an allegory that can be used to explain our current socio-political climate to those who might not understand the “why” of it all.

The episode can be described as a mitzvah in both what it’s taking on, the stance it takes, and what it achieves in helping open a dialogue with the next generation and the show’s fans who might not understand what’s going on in today’s world.

Overall Rating: 10

TV Review: The Flash S5E3 The Death of Vibe

After Cicada’s attack, the team realizes it needs to think outside the box to stop this dangerous new foe; Nora comes up with a plan that ultimately puts a team member in danger Caitlin delves into her past.

The Flash keeps things going at a fantastic pace as the team explores the concept that XS has already altered the timeline in some way. Cicada has arrived, arrived sooner, and attacked different metas than what XS remembers. It’s an interesting concept and continues the series’ idea that maybe the Flash(s) aren’t the best for the timeline. They seem to alter it a lot and not always for the better.

The episode is a good one bring in a new multiverse Wells, who’s actually a little irritating, to help figure out who Cicada is. There’s some feints and some fake outs along the way. It’s all done in a way in that you think things are getting resolved rather quickly but nope, we’ve got some time to go.

There’s nothing major about the episode, it’s just a fun one with some solid action and a nice build for whatever is to come. There’s some tense moments and there’s moments where you wonder where it’s going to go.

What the episode feels like is a live action comic book and an issue that’s part of the larger arc. It doesn’t stand on its own but as part of the story, it’s a good entry.

Overall Rating: 7.5

TV Review: The Walking Dead S9E3 Warning Signs

Rick’s vision for the future is threatened by a mysterious disappearance that divides the work camp where the communities are building a bridge.

The Walking Dead has a focus this season. That focus is to see how you actually build a community. For eight seasons, the series has delivered a series about how one survives in a zombie apocalypse. But, with not threat seen beyond zombie hordes, and multiple communities, were do you go? How do you rebuild society? And, as is emphasized in this episode, will your closest friends believe in it?

Murder is afoot as a body turns up and everyone is a suspect. It’s an interesting direction for the series and it’s resolved in one episode. The murder isn’t so much the interesting part, it’s what it leads to and what actions certain characters take. The season could have easily played that out with a few individuals dying in every episode but things are resolved here and it leads to a final few moments that’ll see that are original group is truly split in their beliefs.

Rick has a vision and Michonne is doing her best to work on making it happen. They see a community working together and living under a set of codified rules. Their belief is that the issues they’re seeing is because too much is left up to the moment. There’s too many inconsistencies. No one knows what’s expected. With a constitution of some sort, folks will understand and law and order will prevail.

Others see the issue as one of not rooting out the bad influences. They see that justice hasn’t been handed out and due to that folks think it’s ok to do what they want. That is the cause of the division and conflict.

Which is right? There’s no real answer here and the show looks to explore that concept for a bit.

There’s also this weird reveal about Jadis/Anne who it turns out is talking to a mysterious individual. That people are in two groups “A” and “B” and we don’t know what that means. It’s something that’s been teased out for some time and we’re seeing it happen. It involves folks in the helicopter but that’s about as far as we know. We’ll find out as it’s clear there’s more insidious things at hand.

But really, this season is about Rick’s exit. Instead of shocking viewers, they’ve let it be known and there’s only two more episodes left with him. Where will things go that sees his good-bye? We’re seeing hints of that here as to the possibilities and we’ll know soon enough. The season has been an interesting one for folks who enjoy the concept of building a society. It’s focused on the drama and human interaction even more so and is giving us a show set in an apocalyptic world more so than a zombie world that we’ve seen.

But, more importantly, it’s deviating more and more from the comics and giving us a different experience for once. An experience that is taking the themes we’ve seen and diving into them even more so. Is it for the better? It’s hard to say but these early episodes are setting something things up for what should be a season that challenges us philosophically as much as it does emotionally.

Overall Rating: 7.5

TV Review: Supergirl S4E2 Fallout

A shocking revelation causes chaos in National City; Supergirl sets out to capture Mercy Graves, while Alex takes control at the DEO; Kara decides to write an investigative story on Mercy and looks to Lena for information; Brainy meets Nia.

Supergirl has no problems wearing its politics on its sleeve and this episode, and season, seems to be directly responding to the xenophobia, transphobia, racism, and hatred that are gripping not just the United States but the entire world.

“Fallout” has a lot to unpack as it’s filled with action and just a lot to say. The President has been exposed as an alien and has to resign. That stokes more resentment for aliens than already existed. You have Mercy Graves doing her thing which also involves exposing aliens by dropping their holograms. The episode just focuses on the hate all around us. A nation uneasy after the President is exposed would be enough to touch upon today’s reality but the episode does so much more.

It’s hard to not watch this episode and think about how the last two and a half years has really exposed the hate all around us. Neighbors who you might have once been friends with now are openly racist. What used to be our hidden reality is out in the open. For better and for worse. That’s what’s happening on Supergirl.

The next question the show focuses on is what’s the role of the media? Is it to editorialize? Is it to report the news? James has a question he needs to answer as far as that and it’s a revelation by Nia that she’s transgender. Nia is played by Nicole Maines, the real life transgender activist and while I expected the character to be, there’s still something somewhat revolutionary about that reality being stated on the show. Especially a show geared towards a younger set. Add in the horrific news that the Trump administration may define gender to strip the rights of transgender individuals, the moment comes at almost a perfect time in our world.

I do have some questions as to why Mercy allowed herself to get caught, that part of the plan seems a little odd, but the action for the episode is solid. It’s a great mix of entertainment and message. The show is doing what entertainment seems to do best, using entertainment to explore our reality. Supergirl is following that great tradition, like we’ve seen in Star Trek, to explore society and take a stand for what’s right. The show is following in the ideals of its main character and it’s soaring this season.

Overall Rating: 8.05

TV Review: Daredevil S3E13 A New Napkin

Matt prepares to cross the line, as Dex becomes more dangerous than ever and Fisk enacts his endgame.

A three way dance is the best way to describe this finale as it brings together the three major players, Kingpin, Faux-Devil (Dex) and Daredevil in a final battle that has them all out for each other.

It’s interesting to watch as Bullseye, I mean Faux-Devil can use anything and everything as a weapon. So, to see what he picks up in the environment to use is part of the entertainment. Then there’s the physical power of Kingpin versus the skill of Daredevil. Each has their own special abilities and where they stand out as fighters.

But it really comes down to Matt and how far he’s willing to go. Wilson knows his identity. He will hunt Karen and Foggy. So does Matt have to kill him? Is there a way to solve the issue at hand and put Wilson away while also protecting his friends?

What’s interesting in the episode is that it’s Wilson Fisk almost getting everything he ever wanted. Vanessa. Respect. There’s a tragedy about it all because if he had just turned states evidence and turn in his rivals with no strings, he’d have been in a better position than he winds up. This is a man who thought he was invincible and in many ways he was, especially with how much he controlled. The fact he’s not given what he demands at the end is so important as well. His control is completely broken and we now know it.

There’s also some impressively symbolic moments within the episode. The painting, which means so much to Kingpin, is ruined with his blood. A symbolic moment showing off the taint and destruction of everything he cared about. It’s a little obvious but the fact it’s presented in the back of the scene and not called out is a subtle bit that plays quite well.

This finale is a solid one, one of the best of any Marvel Netflix series. The villain isn’t killed. There’s an excellent fight. Almost all of the plotlines are wrapped up nicely. The episode also addresses the major theme set out at the beginning, can Matt and Daredevil co-exist? It also calls back to the earlier seasons and in a way that’s nostalgic. And there’s even a bit something for comic fans.

Was it a great season, no. But, the latter half is some of the strongest of Marvel’s Netflix shows. A fine ending and one that has me hoping for a fourth season.

Overall Rating: 8.5

TV Review: Daredevil S3E12 One Last Shot

Fisk’s long-awaited reunion doesn’t go as planned. Nelson & Murdock take on a new client who holds key information on Kingpin.

The penultimated episode of the season is a fairly solid one delivering some things that are expected and some things that aren’t so much.

There’s a nice aspect to it as it brings Matt, Foggy, and Karen back into their lawyer element. They attempt to fight things through the legal system, something Matt has been rejecting for the season. It’s also nice to see the three of them together and not completely crap over the legal system.

I’ve had some issues with the season as it has portrayed the FBI as incompetent and/or corrupt with little good coming out of it. There’s also the NYPD who has been generally unhelpful as well.

To see the series pivot back to the side of the law is a welcome change from a season that has had Matt swing to far into the vigilante end of things and too much being corrupted. Every FBI agent is? There’s no good ones? There’s no one higher to go to? It’s a little frustrating in that the insulated world makes it all seem a bit silly at the vastness of the conspiracy.

The episode also finally makes the Foggy for DA election plot line useful. It’s a plot device which finally becomes useful and not just something for Foggy to do.

The end too has twists and turns that are more courtroom legal drama than superhero vigilante and it’s some of the best stuff of the season. None of it’s surprising and the end result is expected but still, it’s nice to see a season which has swung so much one way get back to the courtroom in a way.

It’s a good episode filled more with courtroom drama but some solid action sequences as well. A scene between Matt and Nadeem in particular is excellent and a great idea, something we haven’t seen before.

One more episode to go but this sets up what should be a solid finale.

Overall Rating: 7.75

TV Review: Daredevil S3E11 Reunion

Dex tries to run his prey to ground, Nadeem’s conscience kicks in, and Fisk looks to recover a gift from Vanessa seized during his incarceration.

The episode is one of tension as the corrupt FBI surround the Church and attempt to track down Matt and Karen for the Kingpin.

It’s an interesting episode of cat and mouse and there really is a question as to if they’ll be found and if the FBI agents will be found out.

Those involved are interesting as the game becomes more complex. There is an issue with the plot and you do have to suspend disbelief as things get a little convoluted. Witnesses contradict the FBI, the FBI contradict the witnesses and no one is raising a stink about that?

But, the episode does help in making Nadeem have an actual spine and guts something he’s missed for most of the season. The conclusion with how Foggy resolves everything and gets Karen out safely is actually inspired as well bringing together a lot of the various plots.

But that has issues too in that it exposes the FBI’s corruption. The NYPD isn’t going to step in at all and deal with that? It seems like something that’s just dropped.

Then there’s the ending of the episode which is a little odd in how it’s presented. Kingpin steps forward and suddenly everyone believes him? The crowd being won over is rather quick and a bit awkward but that seems to fit the season.

It’s a nice bridge episode as we move towards the end game and there’s solid tension. It continues the solid latter half of the season.

Overall Rating: 7.45

TV Review: Daredevil S3E10 Karen

Hunted by Fisk and haunted by mistakes from her past, Karen seeks refuge at the church. Matt finally gets his shot, and Dex goes in for the kill.

Why did Karen run to New York? What’s up with the story about her brother? Episode ten answers all of that and more as we get a story focused on the character. It’s an origin story of sorts and depicts the troubled past we expected.

It’s also about 2/3 of the episode.

Yeah, the negative is this origin story, while interested, also takes away some of the momentum that was building in the last couple of episodes.

But, with that we get Kingpin pissed and targeting Karen with Faux-Devil. Of course that leads to a hell of a fight between Faux-Devil and Daredevil.

There’s some really solid stuff here with Karen using Matt’s ability to hear whispering to their advantage. We also get to see some of his strategy of close fighting doing damage in play and it works pretty well.

What’s really good is that the expected conclusion doesn’t happen. While this season has taken a lot on inspiration from the comics its veered where it’s needed to especially here. There’s scenes that are very reminiscent of the source material with slight twists and good ones at that.

This was a solid episode continuing the latter half of the season’s improved storytelling. There is an issue in that the Karen flashback takes so long it slows things down a bit much but still, how it’s done, and how well it’s done, makes up for that a bit.

This episode is one that I was expecting and scenes I’ve been waiting for and it delivered them in a solid way. Here’s hoping things continue in this positive direction.

Overall Rating: 7.5

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