Alicia and Nick fall in with new crowds; Madison discovers Otto’s past mimics her own.
Fear the Walking Dead slows things down after the exciting debut double episodes of this season and we learn more about the Otto ranch as an ominous cloud feels like it slightly rolls in.
The episode kicks off with a video featuring the Ottos that plays intot he show later as we get a more definitive take as to what their deal is. From the short 30 second opener it’s clear that the Ottos are survivalist of the stereotypical type and Jeremiah is looked up to for his “predicting” the fall. There’s an undercurrent of religion but it’s mostly anti-government focused.
What’s interesting though is that we see some outtakes from Otto’s video later and we learn more about him and his family and why he’s the way he is. It’s tragic in many ways and Madison is able to relate to him a little more over it. Jeremiah though comes off as a bit tragic, sad, and a monster over it all. We also get a better sense of the Ottos as a whole and why one son is good and the other, not so much.
Through the madness of it all, we get a better view of Madison and her family as well. Nick is out of it as usual, scheming and planning and just not all there. Alicia goes the other side assimilating well in a Carol sort of way.
Then there’s Strand who we get a better idea as to where he was going and what’s on his mind. The series would be stronger if they cut him from the episodes and their short bits, instead saving them for an entire episode and longer segment. The short bits aren’t enough, but it’s clear his story will eventually dovetail back.
The episode isn’t bad, it’s just not as strong as the previous one. While the first two episodes were the introduction and a lot of the set up, this episode begins to play out what’s been lined up. As part of the whole it’ll be fine and while there’s some interesting moments, the episode is ok to watch but not all that exciting or intriguing… until those final moments, when things are pulled out from under us and thought lost character returns.
Overall Rating: 7.07
The Clark family find themselves in a terrible predicament; Strand faces resistance as he attempts to hold power.
Fear the Walking Dead kicks off its third season with two episodes that shakes things up. To say it shakes things up is an understatement. New characters are introduced, new locations are explored, more dynamics are set up, and a major character apparently dies. A lot of criticism has been levied towards the series and this first two episodes feels like it addresses some of them by upping the action and really shaking things up.
When the last season ended we saw individuals dressed in military uniforms either shooting or capturing some of the individuals we’ve come to know and this episode drops us into the horror as those same military individuals are murdering them to see how long before they turn. It’s twisted and weird but from that a lot of conflict arises and it’s best to not reveal everything.
There’s lots of good in the fact that we’re dropped in the action and there’s a hell of a lot of conflict. The bad is some of that conflict deescalates rather quickly. It does come off as using each other for convenience but the fact there’s not a bigger grudge on display is a bit of a headscratcher. There’s easy ways to explain this away but it’s a little odd and stands out as the biggest negative of the first two episodes.
The new locations and characters are what really stands out. We’re taken to a new community that feels like a ranch the Bundy’s might like while taking a stand against the government. They mention they’re putting together a new society and community, which adds a slight ominous tone to what otherwise would be Herschel’s Farm Part 2. And that all is part of the excitement of these first two episodes. Lots of new characters and locations and we have to figure out who is on the level and who will be an obstacle and threat.
The episode too also catches us up on Strand who everyone thinks is a doctor for that truth is revealed. The episode may have been stronger without that and more being devoted in another, but his short segment does answer some questions that have been left hanging last season.
But, the biggest thing is the death of a major character. The fact the season kicks off with a major character seemingly dying (and I’d be surprised if they survived) lets us viewers know that everything is on the table and anything can happen. It also greatly shifts the dynamic as to what this season may bring.
The third season kicks off in a way that I’m excited to see what happens the entire show is shaken up in a way that it feels like a whole new series. What might happen? We’ll find out and I’m excited to see. I wasn’t excited about the series returning but after this episode I can’t wait to see what happens next.
Overall Rating: 7.97
Oliver assembles a group of unlikely allies – Slade, Nyssa, Merlyn, and Digger Harkness – to engage in an epic battle against Chase and his army.
Arrow wraps up its fifth season with an episode that’s generally good though feels like it’s both stretched out and compacted at the same time.
The good is the episode wraps up Oliver’s Russian adventures and we get to see glimpses of his heading home, which is a new revelation and answers some questions. That all feels a bit packed in and could be an entire episode on its own.
Most of the episode is focused on taking on Chase and action scene moves to fight scene moves to action scene with fights that feel like they’re choreographed well or not at all. It’s an odd experience as things look tight are a bit sloppy. That’s apparent early on when Oliver takes a swing in a badly delivered punch.
In the few moments where there’s not fighting or running for safety, there’s reflections on what it means to be a father with Deathstroke and Merlyn sounding somewhat reasonable. The moments are a bit bizarre as they’re in danger, but there’s enough time to talk about fatherhood? The scenes are good, but the situation they’re in between they feel odd.
Then there’s the ending which I’m not about to ruin, but it doesn’t feel like an ending at all instead it’s an unresolved aspect of the episode. Yes, it’s a cliffhanger, but in this case it doesn’t feel like it’s a good payoff it feels like something that should be resolved within the season. It’s hard to describe, but something didn’t sit right.
It’s not a bad episode, but as a season finale, something feels like it’s missing.
Overall rating: 7.45
Liv and her boyfriend become closer when she shares the brain of a former daredevil with him; Blaine is back to his old ways; Ravi makes progress in his new research; a discover puts Major in grave danger.
iZombie is an ok episode with one focused on the murder of a daredevil and an attempt to move the various stories forward. The issues lay in the fact the murder mystery isn’t all that interesting and while Rose McIver is her usual amazing self in the acting aspect, it’s not enough to distract from the rest of what’s going on.
There’s some focus on Liv and her boyfriend which is a rather blah storyline. The attraction is clear but the case hasn’t quite been made to me caring.
Then there’s Major being human now and cured. Why doesn’t he quit his job? I can’t figure this out. Why put himself in danger?
Then there’s Blaine, who’s back to his old self. While it’s interesting to see him get his revenge it has a been there done that aspect to it.
The good of the episode is a bit more of a focus on the anti-zombie folks as a decision is made to infiltrate them. It’s also a little odd that other avenues aren’t taken to take care of them, like turning them into zombies or outright killing them.
For as different as the season began, in these last few episodes it’s all gotten back to where it was seasons ago. The series looked like it was evolving in its formula this season and in some aspects it’s branching out, but in others it’s taking a bunch of steps back.
Hopefully this is just a bridge episode moving things along and getting us to the next phase of the season, but this is an episode that’s largely forgettable in so many ways.
Overall Rating: 7.05
When a womanizing preschool teacher is murdered, Liv and Clive bring the teacher’s jealous girlfriend in for questioning; Peyton is assigned an interesting case; Blaine gets into a bad situation.
iZombie interestingly runs multiple stories in a bit of a different way this episode where it has the murder investigation (pretty standard), the bigger story for the season, and then they continue some from the dominatrix episode, and to see the series pick that up (without it clearly connecting to anything else yet) is interesting, as it gives the series something else to juggle and entertain us.
As usual, Rose McIver in the main role is amazing as she eats the brain of a school teacher and takes his lessons to a bit extreme, especially when it comes to interrogating the suspects. That brings the humor to interesting levels and McIver goes over the top and delivers it all in a somewhat creepy way (but really funny). How Clive reacts to it all helps add to the humor as his amusement at first turns into irritation eventually. There’s also references to things she does not on the screen which really brings the laughs and does so by having us imagining what she did (and what else she might have done). I’m sure our imagination is funnier than anything the writers would have been able to deliver.
The other two other plotlines are interesting. You’ve got the bigger story of the zombie brains war and the individuals hunting for proof of zombies with Major stuck in the middle of that. This episode is a good one in that it adds a little to that, but doesn’t dive too much in. But, the thing I really like is the follow up to the dominatrix episode where the person may been using the information for blackmail. Where that goes is interesting and while I expect that to dovetail into the bigger story, it very well may not. It’s nice to see it come back the way it does.
The episode is a good one that feels like it’s adding layers to what’s come before as much as it is moving the plots forward. The episode feels like it’s a step into making episodes a bit more complicated going forward.
Overall Rating: 7.95
Black Siren returns to help Chase; Felicity organizes a birthday party for Oliver; Lance is furious when Rene misses the custody hearing for his daughter.
Arrow deals with Chase in jail, who still has some tricks up his sleeve in the end game that feels like it’s adding about 3 more episodes than needed on to the season.
The episode mainly deals with Chase who has a contingency plan that we saw begin to play out in the last episode. Oliver’s son is kidnapped and then hits go out on the rest of his team. It all feels a bit needlessly complicated in that Chase could easily reveal Oliver and his past crimes which would land him in jail where he could be tortured. Wouldn’t a smarter play be to prosecute him instead?
Instead, we get a season that’s played out a bit too long and the return of Black Siren among other characters.
That puts Oliver in a corner and he has to team up with individuals who used to be adversaries. We once again have a story asking how far Oliver will go. We know he’ll go far, this has come up over the last five seasons multiple times. It’s a plotline that’s played out. Here though, we’re given a twist at the end that’s supposed to shock viewers as a familiar bad guy returns. Sadly this was already spoiled online so the impact wasn’t quite as much as it’d have been otherwise. But, there’s some potential to see Oliver team up with the likes of Merlyn and Nyssa. That interaction is keeping me going (along with having to review the episodes).
It’s not this is bad at all, it just feels stretched out and as I said before a theme we’ve seen too many times. For a season that attempted to get away from an over the top bad guy, it still is giving us situations that are eye rolling in how needlessly complicated they are.
Overall rating: 7.0
Ghost Rider makes a surprising return; Coulson and the team work to stop Aida from ending the world.
Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. wraps up its fourth season with an episode that feels a bit mixed in quality as if there’s both too much packed in and a sense folks weren’t quite sure how to end it all.
The episode’s really broken into two main parts. There’s the team’s taking on Aida as she continues to flip out and then there’s Yo Yo and Mac in the digital world.
The former is paint by numbers in many ways as the team has to figure out how to defeat her and they get help with Ghost Rider whose return feels a bit convenient and rushed. Something here doesn’t quite click for me but I can’t put my finger on exactly what that is. I think things a are presented so quickly and just thrown out there without any reflection it all feels like a flowing of scenes where we just accept everything that happens. It’s not bad and is absolutely the big fight you’d expect in the last bit of a movie a lot of flash, some twists, and not much depth.
The Yo Yo and Mac part of the episode is really where the heart of excellence of the episode is. We feel the pain and suffering from both characters as Mac has to realize the digital world around him is crumbling but also decide if he’ll stay with his daughter. No matter the choice he has to lose her twice. Yo Yo does what she can to get him to exit into the real world realizing the pain he’s suffering and his reaction makes her suffer too. It’s heartbreaking and the show has been its best when its focused on these types of interactions. It’s easily the best part of the episode and we get that interaction again as the team comes together at the end of the episode.
There’s also some set up. Coulson has to cut a deal with Ghost Rider and the end of the episode feels like it’s setting up the Inhumans… but how? This is absolutely one of the stronger season finales but it falls a bit flat like a lot of Marvel’s live action series and movies. The concepts are better than the execution and we see that again here.
It’ll be interesting to see where things go from here, but until then we’re left with a satisfying, yet not exciting, ending.
Overall Score: 7.45
Oliver faces the forced release of dozens of violent criminals prosecuted by Adrian Chase; a crate arrives at Oliver’s office containing a mysterious corpse encased in concrete.
Arrow begins to wind down the season as Team Arrow really takes it to Chase as the fallout for the reveal of Chase is a villain is explored and a revelation about Oliver’s father happens too.
It’s an episode that packs a lot in and at the same time doesn’t feel like it explores enough of any of it. There’s action, there’s lots of discussion, and then there’s an odd resolution to Chase that has the season feel a bit anticlimactic. Add in Rene dealing with his family situation and you have an episode that really attempts to do too much and with only two more episodes left a lot to still go over you can understand why to some extent.
The eventual showdown between Oliver and Adrian I know I was hoping for something more. A well-choreographed fight, lots of action, maybe some threatening moments, but what’s presented doesn’t feel like much of that at all. It feels sad in many ways. How Oliver handles it is decent, but something feels rather empty about it.
The last two episodes have done so much more exploring characters and adding depth to them all. This episode really shifts that and what little it does in that department falls short, especially since what’s come before so recently has been so good. The episode to has little that stands out as memorable.
This season has been a bit up and down and I have no idea what to expect as this season wraps up in the final two episodes. There’s clearly more to be explored when it comes to Chase and when all said is done, those last two episodes will probably be what this season is measured by. This episode wasn’t necessarily bad and as part of the whole is fine, but we’ve seen so much better and seen it so recently.
Overall rating: 7.0
Coulson and the team’s victory in the Framework is short-lived, revealing an even deadlier looming against them all.
Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. heads into its season finale with an episode that sets things up for a clash with Madame Hydra who now exists in the real world and apparently now has a whole bunch of powers. But, there’s also SHIELD on the run after blowing things up. It’s not looking good and then a certain flaming someone shows up in the end? There’s a lot packed in here.
But, through all of that action, the episode really focuses on the relationships particularly between Fitz and Simmons and Mac and Yo Yo. There’s also a little bit between Coulson and May. Fitz especially gets the focus as he must deal with what he’s done in the virtual world and decide if he is the person in there. There’s also the fact his heart belongs to two individuals.
And the show when it does the above, focus on relationships, feels stronger for that. It adds depth to the characters and gives us reasons to care about them. Here this is done in an intelligent way in that it swerves around but also sets up the conflict that drives these last two episodes. It also helps define a big difference between these heroes and the villains they fight.
The episode is decent and continues some of the stronger threads of the season, specifically the group’s relationships and friendships. It’s a fun episode in many ways and does a solid job of mixing action and the quieter moments and sets up the season finale in a solid way. While this has been a bumpy season overall, this lead up to the finale has done well to make it a memorable one.
Overall Score: 7.65
Liv Consumes the brain of an irresponsible narcissist who has been murdered; Peyton learns some shocking news; Ravi experiences a substantial setback.
iZombie really plays into the cure with an episode revolving around Major taking it and resulting in one hell of a reveal at the end of the episode. The season, as short as it is, has been building to these moments in a weird way and things play out with a combination of humor and a bit of heart.
But, anchoring the acting, as usual, is Rose McIver who plays off a new personality this time in a rather subtle way. It’s not quite the over the top performance we’ve seen before but done in a much more low-key style. It’s solid in so many ways and seriously she deserves some awards for her acting. But, this episode downplays the personality and the murder as a whole instead using it for some humorous moments throughout the episode and as a reason for the way some things play out.
It’s tough to totally explain the episode without revealing the twist but the way it ends really changes what we’ve seen this season and gets you to rethink some things, which is really good. It also plays off of the heartfelt moments from last episode, probably the best scene(s) of the entire series.
iZombie is finding its footing this season by shaking things up a bit and not being afraid to break its mold in some ways. But, even when it does that, it knows where its success is and what makes the series one I come back to every week.
Overall Rating: 7.95