Daisy goes to battle Ghost Rider at a terrible cost, and Coulson faces the new Director, and his bold agenda surprises them all.
Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. keeps up the momentum with the second episode of the fourth season with a whole lot going on to move the various plot points along.
Daisy talks to Robbie and gets to know him a bit. Sadly this is both good and a low point in some ways in that it follows the rather stereotypical path of fighting and then teaming up eventually. I wish things went a bit differently, but it is what it is.
Most of the episode though is to introduce the new S.H.I.E.L.D. Director Jeffrey Mace played by Jason O’Mara. That’s a character that comic fans will know, but this one is a bit different and how much the television version is similar to the comic version remains to be seen. But, there’s a reveal here that’s pretty cool.
The episode also moves along the whole “ghost” story and it’s interesting. It’s clear from the make-up that this part ties into Doctor Strange which is out this November, but what’s going on and how Ghost Rider fits in is actually a solid mystery.
This second episode was really solid with great action, a great build to whatever is happening, and a slow reveal. I have no idea what happened over the summer but the show really feels like a solid reboot in many ways and I have to say, the show is finally working.
For once… I’m actually looking forward to seeing what happens next.
Overall Score: 8.15
New information surfaces from the Lumen, forcing Setrakian to seek out lifelong rival Eldritch Palmer for help. Also: Eph’s new experiments take him to the brink of sanity and Fet tries to unearth strigoi movements in New York City.
The Strain really emphasizes how much things have spread and changed in this episode. The first few minutes tell us that as Setrakian in a voice over tells us how much things have spread and how much of a losing battle it is… and this episode is just eight days since the last, so yeah.
Things are falling apart, but this episode also gives us a lot of hope in what Setrakian and Eph both discover.
The Lumen reveals its secrets as Setrakian finally figures out the secrets it holds as to how to defeat the Master. The discover is a “no duh” moment once you see it. I kind of feel like an idiot not thinking it through. The actual how to defeat him too is a bit of a “no duh.” But, now there’s at least a goal in a way.
Eph’s discovery is more scientific and interesting. Through some experiments, and accident, he learns some of the weaknesses of the strigoi, and this one was really interesting. How it’ll all be used will be interesting, but it’s a new weapon to use in the war.
Then there’s Fet who is down in the tunnels of New York and makes a rather grim discovery. That’s the holy shit moment of the episode where you know some epic battle is coming.
What’s interesting is this episode sets up an endgame in many ways. We now know how the enemy can be defeated, so, if the series is wrapping up this season, we now can see how it’ll happen. I hope we get another season, but if this is the beginning of the end, it at least looks like it’ll be a hell of a battle to come.
Overall rating: 8.15
Refugees flood into the hotel, include an unexpected refugee from the group. Meanwhile, Madison struggles to cope with the situation.
Fear the Walking Dead is an interesting episode as we open up with refugees (or whatever you want to call them) attempting to get into the hotel. The fence is rather flimsy so the fact it was holding up feels a little silly. But, the scene is really to set up the return of Travis, who appears in the crowd.
The episode is really about parents and what they are or aren’t willing to do for their kids. The episode flashses back and forth between the present and past as we see Travis trying to talk sense into his son who is in with a group of kids.
That’s one of the most interesting things of the entire series so far. Seeing the anguish Travis goes through in this episode where he realizes he needs to let his son go, it’s heartbreaking. He feels like he’s actually breaking down and has had to make a horrible decision. It’s some of the best acting of the series.
It’s also a very slow episode. It just really focuses on Travis recounting his story to Madison, which then gets Madison to reveal the truth about something to her daughter. The episode emphasizes this show really is about family, parents trying to protect their kids.
There’s just one expanded episode left and a lot of ground to cover, so it’ll be interesting to see what next episode brings as the second season wraps up.
Overall Rating: 7.65
In light of the Sokovia Accords, and with Hydra obliterated, S.H.I.E.L.D. has been legitimatized again and no longer needs to operate in the shadows. Since the world presumes that Coulson is dead, the organization needed a new Director to be the face of the organization. Coulson finds himself back in the role as an agent and teamed with Mack, and together they are tasked with tracking down and confirming the presence of Enhanced people, aka Inhumans. Agent May is tasked with training specialist strike teams, and Fitz and Simmons have taken a big step forward in their relationship.
Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. kicks off its fourth season with what might be its strongest episode and one of its best episodes. With things shaken up, some clear budget changes, and new characters, the episode really sets things up with a great flow and little cheese.
The episode dives right in and introduces us to Ghost Rider, teasing just enough to get us intrigued by what’s going on. And it’s a bloody introduction driving us towards a horror vibe of it all. It’s a much more violent opening than we’ve seen (thanks 10pm time slot!). The issue is Quake is on the run and Ghost Rider’s bloody path is pointing to her being the cause, on top of the fact she’s labeled a terrorist. All of that causes issues for the SHIELD team who don’t want to kill their friend, want to bring her in safely, which doesn’t jive with other’s plans.
The series also touches upon the events of Civil War which has impacted how things role. There’s new restrictions for Inhumans working with the team and new processes that have to be followed. It feels like the show has been brought more into the live action universe more due to that simple decision.
There’s new roles for folks, Life Model Decoys, some solid humor, it all really works in this episode, the first I’ve enjoyed from start to end all the way through. I don’t know what changed during the break, but please keep it up!
Overall Score: 8.95
A new phase surfaces for the infection and Justine builds a new army while Eichorst plans a counter attack.
The Strain is an interesting one tonight. With the Master out of commission for now, Eichorst has taken control and has decided to make a move to strike back at those who have attacked him.
One can’t help but see some parallels in this episode between the vampire infection/world and that of religious extremism. There’s a mention by Eichorst of 70 virgins and the use of suicide bombers in the episode that makes it pretty clear one can make an argument that this series is a veiled allegory.
In both religious extremism and in this series we have individuals who have perverted a system for their own good, gathering devout followers who don’t question and are willing to give their lives for the cause. In both we see a clash between the factions and modern society. Both, it’s a battle over a book and what it says. In both the actions are unflinching and focused on a goal, while a few perversely gain from it all.
The episode is one that shakes things up a bit too. The infected are acting differently and Goodweather is a bit more focused on what he has to do. Justine too seems to finally come around.
This is a bridge episode, but one that really does a good job of getting things focused and exploring the bigger picture of what this series might be trying to say.
Overall rating: 8.35
Madison springs into action when one of the hotel residents gets violent. Meanwhile, Alejandro shows a darker side of himself at the Colonia.
Fear the Walking Dead is building towards the eventual explosion that’s going to happen and bring together various storylines in this second half of the second season of the show.
There’s a clash coming and it’s been pretty easy to figure out for some time. But, what’s been intriguing was seeing how the various groups might come together and we get our first hints of that in this episode.
While it’s not a great episode, it’s the calm before the storm. We get to learn a bit more about these characters and the world they’re now living in. Some are living in a fantasy land to deal with what’s going on while others are focused on the new reality. The clash of the two is what’s interesting.
The series is a rather uneven one this season, but it’s finding it’s groove and is showing improvement overall. Instead of focusing on dealing with walker directly, the walkers are more of a prop and the real survival is dealing with what amounts to drug dealers. It’s an interesting spin on the world and one that’s slowly getting more interesting overall. The characters are getting some more personality and the addition of some new folks are bringing out what felt lacking the first season.
In some ways this second half of the season has felt more like an anthology series, and now we’re seeing everthing coming together as expected with just three more episodes to go.
Overall Rating: 7.05
The Occido Lumen is stolen and Strakian and Fet search for it; Gus and Angel try to keep a secret houseguest from a police sweep; and Quinlan’s reasons for vengeance is unearthed.
The Strain gives us the answer as to who Quinlan is and why he wants to destroy the Master. The information makes the character much more interesting as there’s one aspect in particular that makes the character and his mission that much more fascinating concerning the outcome if he succeeds.
The episode is interesting, packed with action and with solid pacing as Quinlan and Eph gamble to stop the Master… and it’s a big gamble.
Then there’s the story of Angel and Gus. I love Angel. I seriously want a show just about Angel. This aspect is much more grounded in that it has a lot to do with Gus and seeing our loved ones turning and suffering. It humanizes the show in a lot of ways.
The episode ends on a shocking moment and I can’t wait to see where the rest of the season goes as something happens I wasn’t expecting at all. Three seasons in and the show continues to surprise me.
Overall rating: 8.65
Alicia and Madison work to unite two competing factions. Meanwhile, Nick draws upon skills from his past to take on a new role at the colonia.
Fear the Walking Dead has an interesting focus this episode dealing with two aspects of this new world, dealing with others and clearing out the zombies. At its heart, the episode is about team work and community with Alicia and Madison attempting to build a community in the hotel and Nick chipping in at the colonia with some of his skills.
The show isn’t as much about conflict as its sister show, instead being a slow build as these individuals attempt to learn to live in this new world.
What has had the show stand apart some is that this is all new to everyone. There’s no knowledge in how to deal with the walkers. Everyone needs to make it up as they go and Alicia and Madison are showing some interesting ways to do just that.
Then there’s Nick’s story which has him using his shady past to help out his new home. He seems to be fitting into this group who have taken on a cult like presence in face of what’s going on.
The episode is a rather slow one overall, much more of a character study, especially at the end as Strand… well that’s best to be watched on your own. That focus on the characters seems to be resulting in mixed results overall, but episodes like this help make the series stand out a bit and fleshes out its characters, making them somewhat more interesting.
The show is clearly building to some action and conflict, hopefully things can remain interesting.
Overall Rating: 7.35
The Master plagues Eph when he offers to return Zack; Dutch rejoins an old group of friends, but wonders if it makers her safer; and Palmer seeks answers for Setrakian’s secret strigoi blood treatments.
The Strain has an interesting second episode where some revelations come out into the open and there’s a lot of jockeying of characters.
First, we catch up with Dutch who’s with a group figuring out her place in it all. It’s an ok segment and brings the excitement for the episode. It does seem a bit out of place and out of nowhere, but it also feels a little vital for us to at least know what she’s up to. It also reminds us she’s more than a hacker and can handle herself in a fight.
The big segment is Eph meeting Setrakian’s part-vampire partner and the revelation about what he’s been taking, “the white.” It’s out in the open and it explains what’s up for new watchers and clears some things up for those watching the two previous seasons.
The biggest thing in the episode is Eph and his family. He’s of course focused on getting his son back, at any cost, and his son is being held captive with some interesting developments there. All of that is setting up some interesting things between Quinlan and Eph in stopping the Master.
This is a much slower second episode, but a good one that sets up a lot that’s going on this season and also where loyalties lie with everyone. Things definitely don’t feel settled, though they shouldn’t and of course there’ll be betrayals (one is obvious), but we now know where things will be going this season.
Overall rating: 8.6
Travis struggles to connect with Chris while searching for shelter. Meanwhile, Alicia meets a lonely woman with a bloody past.
Fear the Walking Dead splits the episode between Travis and Chris’ journey and what’s going on in the hotel. It’s an interesting episode as it feels like it’s really early during the infection and people are still coming together to figure out what to do and how to handle the new situation.
The episode is slow, but interesting as it is rather slow throughout. It’s an episode that’s about the details, the biggest of which may be below.
Travis and Chris bond and while Chris is still clearly touched and is a bit too easy with the bloodlust, he also seems to be the most willing to deal with the world as is and step up to do what’s necessary, no matter how brutal it is. He’s a realist compared to Travis’ optimism and somewhat naive idealism. Chris wants to join a pack, Travis wants to hold up on a farm. It’s two different views and you can’t help but wonder how much of Chris’ view is his youth.
Back at the hotel, we get some new ways to kill walkers and a new character Alicia meets. Through that new character we get a lot of horribly difficult choices and some back story to see more of the outbreak at the hotel.
But, the biggest revelation of the episode is that we may have a date as to when this all began. In a scene Travis discovers three graves all with the same year of 2010… is this when this madness began? Have they given a date anywhere else? Interesting. Interesting.
The episode has a lot of tense moments, especially the last few minutes as there’s standoffs of a different sort going on.
This is a pretty intense episode with some tough moments throughout. It’s a strong episode focused on tension and having to make tough choices. The series seems to have made some improvements in its break and those improvements seem to be paying off.
Overall Rating: 7.95