Category Archives: Reviews

Review: Warrior Nun S1E2 “Proverbs 31:25”

Warrior Nun

Ava is settling in nicely with her new squatter friends and trying to enjoy her new chance at a mobile life. She’s trying to navigate all of these new feelings and experiences and There’s a demon cutting, literally with his fiery talons, his way through town in search of Ava and the halo.  Sister Mary is on a quest for vengeance that opens her up to possible fall out.

I Can See Your Halo: Ava wakes up in bed and is pleased to discover that she’s still alive and can still walk, she spends another day enjoying all the things couldn’t before, like the feeling of sand between her toes and fingers. After an incident with a too cold shower and flirting with J.C.,  the cute boy who rescued her from the pool, she learns that she has a scarification-like body mod on her back. We also learn that Cardinal Duretti’s ring glows bright blue when in proximity with the halo so, when JC, Ava, and the squatter brigade sneak into an Arq-Tech party there’s a hint of intrigue.

Meanwhile, Back at the Convent: Mary is more concerned with finding out what happened to her mentor and friend than she is with tracking down Ava and retrieving the halo, which causes tension between her and Sister Lilith, the next in line to bear the halo. The top priests of the secret order, are trying to figure out how to contain the fact that they lost the halo and it is now residing in the body of someone untested and not ready. The priest handling the day to missions is starting to rethink retrieving the halo and wonders if the artifact is where/with who it should be.

New Players on the Field: This episode introduced Arq-Tech and it’s benevolent CEO who Ava knows because she “creates superpowers”. At the event where Ava and her new friends are party crashing, the female CEO, Dr. Salvius,  announces that she can now “Higgs Field for a full minute” and create a quantum portal (because what could go wrong with that) unbeknownst to her guests, except for the cardinal, she infuses her tech with found, possibly angelic/demonic artifacts (again, what could possibly go wrong) .

It’s Going Down: Ava sees a child in a locked room in one of the Arq-Tech labs she was exploring and believes that it is a key to discovering what happened to her. while JC urges her to run, she goes back and tries to free him. While attempting the rescue, an alarm goes off, and while attempting to run from the guards she finds herself face to face with the demon and her back all aglow. Luckily the badass army of sisters shows up to save her with the father in tow, she attempts to escape but, is drugged.

Overall: Inbetween Mary going medieval on people, Ava enjoying and trying everything and a corporeal demon hunting the halo, this episode manages to slip in a lot of talks about ethical dilemmas and ownership of history, artifacts, and relics. The Cardinal debates if Arq-Tech should have the artifacts in the first place and whether or not they would use them properly, while Dr. Salvius questions who owns the artifacts and believes they should be an open market.  The priest debates with another nun if Sister Lilith should get the halo when this is all said and done, simply because she feels entitled to it and has waited for it, or if Ava should keep it and maybe her getting the halo was in itself an act of divine choosing. So far the showrunners and writers seem to be masters of leaving on a perfect cliffhanger that feeds seamlessly into the next episode and the writing makes it so each episode peels back another level that seems crucial to the season’s endgame.

Rating: 8.3

Review: Warrior Nun S1E1 “Psalm 46:5”

Warrior Nun

Netflix‘s latest trek into comic book adaptation series brings us the divine supernatural/action hybrid Warrior Nun. The series starts off with the funeral rites being performed over the lifeless body of a quadriplegic teenager, under the watchful eye of a cruel nun and a sympathetic priest. In an adjacent chamber of the burial catacombs a wounded warrior and her team rush in.

Origin Story Extraordinaire: Ava is resurrected from the dead when an attack happens in the tomb next to where she was being prepared for burial and a fearful nun, in an attempt to save the “halo”, injects the sacred object into her lifeless corpse. Ava is brought back to life with some pretty awesome powers and no idea that the demons that attacked the adjacent tomb are on the hunt for her and the great power that she now possesses. The second in command of the demon-fighting team is tasked by the priest to remove the halo from Ava, even if it means killing her so that they can put it into a worthy vessel and continue their fight.

I Really Liked: Ava visiting her only friend, a young boy named Diego who lived at the orphanage where she grew up and him encouraging her to do everything she wanted to before she died again. She takes his advice to heart and does everything from running, just to run because she can use her legs again to jumping into a pool, taking molly and hitting a night club.

Overall: I found the pilot really compelling and super interesting, even people with no knowledge of the comic book can catch up and take the ride. The premiere episode doesn’t try to shove the mythology behind the story into a single episode, instead, it gets you to learn more about Ava, speculates about how she died, I really don’t trust that nun from the orphanage and get sucked into her new life. The pacing makes it so you find yourself worried about her safety when you realize that the supernatural nun army AND demons are looking for her and she is so caught up in the bliss she has with her newfound, active, life that has no idea about what is coming.

Rating: 8.5

TV Review: Stargirl E107 Shiv Part One

Stargirl

The episode kicks off with hints as to what being the JSA means to its members. You can see the changes in each person as they begin to fall into their new life.

What immediately stands out is Beth not making her parents lunch and being distracted by her now powers and role. Her parents seem lost due to it. Out of all of the characters so far, Beth seems to be the one that really has changed the most as opposed to their powers just enhancing who they are.

The episode is an interesting one revolving more around the high school and not just the new JSA but their future rivals. The children of the villains take the spotlight such as Cindy and Henry.

We get a bit more about Cindy as Courtney parnters up with her for chemistry class and a school dance looms. Cindy is an interesting character as she begins to have a rough go of school. Her Queen Bee routine begins to falter as she’s rejected by those around her. We also get to see more of her home life and some of what her growing up was like.

Cindy when she gets home, the relationship between her and her stepmother is one that’s beyond abusive and shows a home that’s broken. Any ounce of sympathy for Cindy should quickly go away after the segment with her mother.

But, what’s interesting is that out of all of the future villains, Cindy is the one that’s aware of her father’s role. She goes into his lair in defiance of her stepmother and when confronted by… something (Grundy?) it doesn’t phase her at all. What we learn is very intriguing not just with her mother but her in general. She’s very different from the rest of the future villains as she’s fully in on the situation and wants to join the Injustice Society. It’s a bit different than where I was expecting the show to go.

While the villains get organized, the Justice Society of America needs to get organized as well. We get something of a training montage as Pat runs down the villains we’ve met so far. The team isn’t one quite yet and the series gives us some interesting interactions. Courtney, who is a vet compared to the rest, is a bit headstrong.

But the point of it is to compare Courtney and Cindy. Their pairing during chemistry is for a reason. How Pat treats Courtney is being mirrored by that of Dragon King and Cindy.

There’s a bit of some eye-rolling in the episode. While a lot of it feels fresh and interesting some of it to is predictable like the “future villain” liking the person he doesn’t know is a hero. Cameron asks Courtney to the dance and it feels a bit cliche but even with that, the episode still surprises.

It ends with a fight between Stargirl and… we’ll leave that one to the viewers. It’s a bit surprising as it’s something that’s expected but it’s something that’s expected for a future season, not the first. The show does a solid job of keeping viewers on their toes, just like it does with Janitor Justin who fans of the comic will know about. The episode delivers just enough excitement as far as this mysterious character to get viewers excited to come back for more.

Another solid episode that plays with tropes and expectations and delivers a hell of a lot of fun.

Overall Rating: 8.15

TV Review: Snowpiercer S1EE7 The Universe is Indifferent

Snowpiercer

Layton is free and the trio at the head of the train needs to decide what to do. Do they tell the train the truth about Wilford? Do they do something else? Melanie has a card up her sleeve to handle Layton and plays it in this intriguing episode of Snowpiercer entitled “The Universe is Indifferent.”

With an opening in engineering, Melanie has declared Miles, Layton’s son, will be the apprentice to take the position. It’s clearly a trap as both a hostage and bait to capture Layton and more than likely route out more insurgents.

Layton is free and Melanie is smart enough to know that he didn’t get out on his own. What’s interesting is, you’d think there’d be more security, at least cameras, on this train to help them figure out the answers as to what happened.

The episode is full of intrigue as Layton attempts to seek allies in the Third Class train and the Night Car. Then there’s also the recruitment of Miles. A plan is hatched to get Josie to Miles and interestingly, there seem to be quite a few folks in on the plan. It’s a fascinating turn of events as you realize how deep and spread the revolution is and who’s in on it.

“The Universe is Indifferent” also focuses on Ruth, a character who has been close to the spotlight but not quite. She had her moment calming the train and this episode gives us more. She’s a bit of a mystery character. Kind of a second to Melanie her loyalty and her thoughts have been a bit of a mystery. It’s hard to tell exactly where she lies and what she’s thinking. And here, we find she’s a key figure in what she’s lobbied to do.

The episode is an interesting one. Melanie attempts to bring control to some aspects of the train all the while those around her plot. Her control is tenuous at best and like a mad despot, we see moves in an attempt to cement her power. Imposing fear among the tailies, threats to other passengers, and black bag renditions to “Hospitality.” We can see those around Melanie questioning her rule beyond those we know of. You can see the unease all around her. The show about class shifts a bit to a focus on rule.

What’s interesting is the show subtlely makes Melanie’s views make sense. She sees the train as a system that is designed to function a certain way. “The train demands it.” What the tailies represent, what Layton threatens, would undo that equilibrium and stability. We also get to see that Melanie is more than willing to get her hands dirty to achieve what she wants. This is the episode where she goes from a simple bureaucrat to a despotic ruler. But even in her actions, we still get some sympathy, She has issues with what she’s done giving her a bit more depth than someone who’s just clearly and singularly evil.

And Melanie’s actions also has the show shoving Bess further into action. She’s been an interesting character who has shown real growth over the season, the person who’s eyes are opened about the injustice around her.

Out of the episodes so far, this is one that has really stood out. It begins to bring together so many of the plotlines that began to be seeded from the beginning. The show is finally on track and things are a bit clearer as the pieces of the puzzle come together.

Overall Rating: 8.0

TV Review: Stargirl E106 The Justice Society

Stargirl

Again, Stargirl kicks off an episode delving into more of the history of the characters and world. In this case it’s Artemis, who was mentioned as a potential member of the new Justice Society in the previous episode. It’s an interesting opening as it’s clear where her parents stand but not so much with her (there’s a lot of kids who are clearly going to take over as villains though the comics give a hint). The opening also keeps up the show’s willingness to keep things adult at times with yet another death. Seriously, how many people have died on this show?

This episode is pretty key as there wasn’t a screener available which usually is a sign that there’s big moments they don’t want to come out. That seems to be hinted really early as Pat and Courtney debate the need for a new Justice Society and who Courtney has recruited.

It’s an interesting discussion between the two as you can see where each are coming from in their arguments. Pat is haunted by the death of the previous team. He’s afraid history will repeat itself with a bunch of kids dying instead. It’s understandable the motivations. Then there’s Courtney who is finding purpose and in some ways closure of her past by channeling her idealism through this route. It too gives us character motivations that make sense and are clear.

The episode definitely delivers heart as Courtney sees Beth and Yolanda with their new powers/abilities and we can see how important it is for them in such a short period of time. This is more than just stopping evil to them but it’s an opportunity to redefine who they are, take back their control, and even just find friendship.

The episode also gives some solid time between Barbara Whitmore, played by Amy Smart, and Trae Romano‘s Mike Dugan, her step-son. The two characters haven’t had the screen time that Courtney or Pat’s relationship has and thought it’s maybe a few minutes, it adds a lot to the two’s relationship.

Continuing the series’ pattern, the team gets to fight yet another villain, this time the Gambler as he continues the Injustice Society’s plan, whatever that might be. Enough has been teased about their plot to keep viewers guessing and makes the show a bit more entertaining. What’s going on is both clear and not and allows the viewer to run with their imagination. But one confrontation leads to another. We also get Sportsmasters and Tigress as the Justice Society features their first battle as a team. It goes about as well as you’d expect with not so much teamwork as individual battles. We get to see powers used and some entertaining moments for the team. They’re definitely green and don’t automatically gain lots of experience with their powers. You can see them learn, and fail, as the battle goes on. They make mistakes and fail hard at times but they also progress.

The episode is another solid win for the series expanding on characters, the mythology, and adding some solid depth to some of the secondary characters. You also can’t help but enjoy those final minutes as the team comes together. It’s the “hell yeah” moment we’ve expected and brings the team together. It’s that moment where the series begins to get really rolling from the setup and heads into the direction we’ve been expecting. This is a pretty key episode in that it takes everything that’s been building and sets the series up for the rest of the season and the eventual clash between the JSA and Injustice Society.

Overall Rating: 8.5

TV Review: Snowpiercer S1E6 Trouble Comes Sideways

Snowpiercer

With justice not found in the previous episode of Snowpiercer, where does the train go from there? The opening moments of the episode are interesting showing a mechanical issue for the train but also setting up a strike due to the injustice. It shows the dichotomy of the train in that it’s inequality within a system that requires all to work together. It’s an interesting situation in that the system has to find a balance to work and everyone is in it together but a small set live comfortably off the work and suffering of others. It’s a microcosm of capitalism and our current socio-political spin. “We’re in this together” when only a few benefit.

The episode dips its toes too into unionization and strikes. Melanie threatens to break it by sending those who do to the tail. She sees the tail as leverage to keep those not there in line. The investigation into protest too shows off the corruption of the train’s police echoeing the real world.

The truth about Wilford also spreads as Andre spreads what he found out. The truth about the imprisonment too is dicussed describing it as “North Korea tucked away in second class.” Where Andres goes is interesting as we get to see cracks in higher classes and the tailies gaining allies. The decision may not be completely altruistic and more for one’s own survival but it points to the order being surface deep.

The episode gets interesting further as it throws in aspects of the surveilance state. A question hangs as to why some individuals are highlighted and Melanie delivers a reason why but it’s unknown how truthful she is. She is the one keeping Wilford’s secret afterall.

And finally, the episode really dives into disaster distracting the masses. The train is teetering on collapse due to malfunction. It of course survives leading to celebration. Much like Presidents starting wars or blaming others, it’s a momentary distraction from the grievances of the masses. It shows Melanie is more than capable of creating the narrative to muddy the seeds of revolution.

The episode is an interesting one as it builds off the previous arc and shows the various obstacles that stand in the way of equity and revolution.

Overall Rating: 7.95

TV Review: Stargirl E105 Hourman and Dr. Mid-Nite

Stargirl

Again, Stargirl kicks off an episode delving into more of the history of the characters and world. In this case, it’s the history of Hourman, and his son Rick Harris. The details are danced around teasing what’s to come and a new character we know will be key down the road.

In “Hourman and Dr. Mid-Nite,” we get dual origins as a new Hourman and Dr. Mid-Nite are the focus. The episode does a great job in balancing the seriousness of the show and the humor. What it does really well is bringing these two new heroes together and does it in an intelligent way.

The show has done an excellent job of bringing together varied personalities and the actors really play off of each other well. Beth, Yolanda, and Courtney all are very unique in character and background. Each bring something different and interesting to the show and add things in their own way.

And we get a double dose in the episode with Rick. He’s the least like the rest without the enthusiasm and want to do what’s right. You get extremes in the episode with Beth’s positive enthusiasim to the point of anoyance and Rick’s less than altruistic viewpoint. Either could easily have been the focus of their own episode but the two together creates an interestying dynamic and juxtaposition.

And what it does really well is giving us more about the two. Though Rick and Beth are different, they both have issues regarding their parents and are abandoned in their own way. One whose parents have died and the other whose parents are too busy. Their motivations are both understandable and relatable to different viewers in different ways.

The episode also keeps hinting at things to come with another kid of a villain, connecting the dots. If there’s a second season, there’s absolutely going to be a clash of generations. That’s pretty clear and the the show doesn’t do a good job at hiding this direction but that’s not a bad thing at all. It works and works well. Predictable but also done in a way that feels natural.

Where the show really shines is being able to take the viewer deep into DC Comic history but educate. It’s not a name drop where the viewers in the know can be excited, things are explained and play into the plot of the show. Here we get one name drop which isn’t explained, and harkens back to the first episode, but beyond that we get deep explanations of Hourman and Dr. Mid-Nite in natural ways that keep the flow of the show.

It’s an interesting episode as it focuses more on the heroes as opposed to balancing things. We get a little bit of whatever the Injustice Society is up to but that’s just a few scenes in the episode. Instead it really sets up the dynamic of our new heroic team and the good and bad that brings.

It’s not the best episode of the series but it’s the most intriguing so far in what it sets up and who it introduces.

Overall Rating: 8.0

TV Review: Snowpiercer S1EE5 Justice Never Boarded

Snowpiercer

When the last episode of Snowpiercer ended, Layton was thrown into their version of prison, a suspended animation which left a huge question as to where this series was going. The episode kicks off with a voiceover focusing on the revolution to come. It feels like a focusing of the show on the themes that have been teased throughout. A revolution will be fought to replace the tyranny that replaced the previous tyranny.

The episode really dives into class with a few storylines including the trial of LJ Folger and Bess Till moving to second class. How would a trial work on the train? What happens if LJ is found not-guilty? Will that shake up other classes? Does it matter when things are already volitile?

LJ is clearly a manipulative sociopath and it’s interesting the focus on her parents and their planning for the trial. They talk about who makes up tribunal and how unlikely they will find one of their own guilty. It reeks of white priviledge and dances around real world issues. We also see more of her interactions with her parents who… clearly have issues of their own.

The episode really focuses on the split of the train as can be seen with the Nightcar. The first and second class are overseeing a trial of one of their own who has killed individuals from other cars. We get to see more of the laws and rules that govern the train. It’s not the tailies that are pushing the revolution, it’s the third class who “touches every system of the train.”

The episode is interesting as Melanie figures out how to navigate the various political factions and what it means if the tribunal does see some equality. It’s an interesting discussion as we see similar issues playing out in the real world, clearly guilty individuals not be judged by the right parties and being found not guilty leading to unrest.

The episode is an interesting one as it feels like it explores the sparks of revolution. There’s the tailies who have been working to overthrow the oppression for quite some time. Then there’s everyone not in the first or second classes who may see the trial as their spark. One is an underclass who have been shat on the entire time then there’s those who may finally stand up after directly being impacted by injustice.

Justice is not reserved for the rich. There can be justice for all.

The above sums up well what the episode is about as the trial commences. And things really come together in the last ten minutes of the show as Layton’s fate, the trial, all come together. It’s some fascinating weaving of threads really getting to the “heart” of the episode. We get more information on Layton who is mostly away from the episode and really dive into the class divides on the train. It’s taken a while to get to the meat of the show but it looks like we’re finally getting there.

Overall Rating: 7.75

TV Review: Stargirl E104 Wildcat

Stargirl

The fourth episode of Stargirl delivers more in the first four minutes of the episode than many series do the entire season. In the episode, Courtney sets out to recruit new members to the Justice Society of America. Pat’s suspicion is piqued following a bizarre conversation with one of the town’s residents.

Stargirl‘s first three episodes have really focused on setting up the world and characters. Courtney, played by Brec Bassinger, has been the clear focus with her gaining her new role and her relationship with her stepfather Pat played by Luke Wilson. The series has teased other characters in Courtney’s life with a table of misfits. We’ve gotten hints about them but not much as far as details.

That changes this episode. The opening focuses on Yolanda Montez played by Yvette Monreal. We know very little about her beyond some of how she’s gotten bullied, we don’t know the “why.” Now we do as we get a runup to school President election and a revealing picture. It’s a real-world issue that many kids will face and shows the series willingness to deliver some reality to its fantastical elements.

And the episode has no problem diving into those fantastical elements like the hints we get about the items Courtney grabbed from the Justice Society of America’s base. But, there’s also Dragon King played by Nelson Lee who makes an intimidating appearance. The way that introduction ends… well, it’s pretty dark for this show.

But, the episode really comes down to its heart and how grounded it is. A scene between Courtney and Yolanda is heartbreaking. It draws a line in the sand with Courtney making a hell of a definitive statement and showing she’s clearly on the sign of right. It also delivers some solid emotion and Yvette’s acting is fantastic. The scene is something that should really connect with teens watching the series and hopefully will get parents to rethink their position on what happens in the episode.

The interaction between Courtney and Yolanda is great as the episode continues and Courtney reveals her secret identity and attempts to recruit Yolanda. The interaction is great and where the two go from there is fantastic. It’s a great segment of learning powers in the modern age that feels like it was inspired by the film Shazam!. The humor is great and in the end there’s a solid lesson in the episode.

Yolanda gets the spotlight and a voice discovering herself in a way and standing up. The episode is full of moments of strength and one that kids will see differently from their parents. Hopefully, parents may see things differently by the end as well.

And then there’s that ending. It’s rather messed up and leaves a lot to the imagination which is often more scary and twisted than anything that can be written. It’s a great ending and one that’s again unexpected showing Stargirl is willing to go that extra step and deliver moments that it’s generally happy exterior hides. The series continues to impress with an episode that expands the cast, delivers some solid emotion, and builds upon the mystery.

Overall Rating: 8.25

TV Review: Snowpiercer S1EE4 Without Their Maker

Snowpiercer

In the fourth episode of Snowpiercer, “Without Their Maker,” a shocking twist in the murder investigation brings Layton and Till’s manhunt to a cat-and-mouse climax. Layton gets closer to Melanie’s big secret, which may prove the most dangerous game of all.

The fourth episode of this series is a fascinating one in that it ends one chapter and opens up another. It’s an unexpected episode in so many ways and really leaves viewers scratching their heads as to what to expect next.

As we saw at the end of the previous episode, we know who the killer is and throughout the episode, all of that is revealed and the case “solved.” When the series began, I expected this murder mystery to play out far into the season but this episode goes heavy on that plotline and wraps it up in a way.

So where does the series go from there?

The episode hints at what’s to come not just with it’s shocking ending but also that the truth about Mr. Wilford will be what drives more of what’s to come. Melanie (Jennifer Connelly) has been clearly acting as Mr. Wilford with digitally put together speeches and acting as his voice. The rest of the trains seems to begin picking up on the fact something is up and Layton clearly knows something is up.

So Melanie’s actions at the end of the episode makes a lot of sense but where that puts Daveed Diggs’ Layton for the series is up in the air.

The exploration of class in this episode is limited and subtle. There’s a lot of talk of which class the killer is from and it’s likely any trial to come will touch on class further but as far as the big picture themes of the series, the focus on them is limited.

The episode is an interesting one as it could easily be a season finale. It for the most part wraps up what seemed like a major plotline but really was an engine for Layton’s story and to explore the train. It also sets up nicely what’s to come for the series. It’s an unexpected episode and one that is welcomed in many ways. We can move on from the odd detective story which felt shoehorned in and get to the real meat of the series.

Overall Rating: 7.15

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