Tag Archives: Television

TV Review: The Strain: S3E9 Do or Die

the strain s2 imageEph and Dutch fanatically race to finish their device to stop the Master; Justine, Gus and Angel take a final stand to stop the spreading virus; Palmer takes revenge for past wrongs.

With just one more episode to go, The Strain begins to wrap up its third season with things looking really bleak.

The episode is an interesting one in that we get some history about Eldritch Palmer, who up to this point is a character we haven’t learned too much about. How’d he become the wealthy power wielder he is today? That’s somewhat answered here.

The episode really has a couple of things its focused on, Palmer as I mentioned before, Angel and Gus, and Eph and Dutch’s tool.

Palmer is a big focus as he makes some big moves against the Master and his crew. I’m definitely not ruining it as it’s something that’s somewhat unexpected and really cool to watch. Lots of action there and it comes in a way that’s actually interesting. In it all, we find out what’s in the crate and it’s something I’ve been wondering about for some time.

Speaking of action, there’s Angel and Gus who are attempting to get out of the city, but so is a lot of the police who decide to abandon it. Justine is left with just a small group and they eventually cross paths with Angel and Gus. That I definitely am not spoiling. There’s some really touching moments between Angel and Gus and makes me want a show of just the two of them. They’ve been some of the best things of the series as a whole. But, this particular segment is pretty explosive and there’s quite a few deaths. It’s definitely not something I saw coming at all and there’s a bit abruptness to it. Still, blaze of glory.

Finally, there’s Eph and Dutch who we get to see test their new weapon dealing with a signal the Master omits. It’s a really cool aspect of the show and feels like something new in this sort of genre. I’m digging this aspect and it gives a way for the series to wrap up easily and quickly if it needs to.

With just one episode to go, there’s a lot to still wrap up. There’s another season to go, but it’s a big question as to how far the series will go in its finale. There’s an interesting direction it could go if it follows the books and comics, but I have no idea if that’s the intention. If so, the finale could be one hell of a season ending.

Overall Rating: 7.85

The Walking Dead S7E1 The Day Will Come When You Won’t Be Review

walking-dead-5 photoAs the members of the group remain helpless, Negan takes action that will forever haunt those who survive.r.

The Walking Dead‘ seventh season debut may be one of the most anticipated season debuts of any show. The sixth season ended with Negan figuring out who will be the one that’ll receive the end of Lucille. The seventh kicks off with Rick swearing he’ll kill Negan as blood sits on his face.

Much like the summer, the episode is all about the build up to what amounts to be a brutal 10 minute span as we find out the victims of Negan’s “justice.”

20 minutes. That’s how long we have to wait to find out who is on the other end of Lucille and it can only be described as brutal and excessive. I remember first reading The Walking Dead #100 and the scene in that comic was so over the top it had me contemplating giving up reading the comic series. What’s portrayed on screen is excessive with an amount of gore that’s kind of shocking to see on television that’s not paid premium channels. It had my stomach churning at the brutality.

What’s impressive is we all knew what was going to happen this episode yet the writers are able to stretch things out and leave us guessing as to what happens next. Death after death as Rick in shock reflects on what his decisions has lead to.

But, what’s interesting is it’s not until almost the one hour mark that we get our main cast talking to each other. For almost the entire hour we’ve had what amounts to a soliloquy by Jeffrey Dean Morgan who channels Negan with a fury and messed up charm that makes it all gripping.

But, even though it’s gripping, it’s sound and fury signifying nothing.

I don’t know what it is about the episode. I was enthralled to see who was killed, but when that moment comes and goes it feels empty. Shock for shock’s sake. It’s not until the final minutes of the show the real emotion hits as Maggie, Rick, and the rest of the survivors begin to talk and react to what’s happened. And in that moment it shows off the heart of the sow. It’s not about the shock. It’s not about grossness. It’s about these characters and their relationships. It’s about the humans of this world and how they survive through it all.

The episode wasn’t quite the tour de force that I was hoping for, but it’s a hell of a start that sets the seventh season off on one hell of a journey.

Overall rating: 7.95

TV Review: Arrow S5E3 A Matter of Trust

arrowThe Green Arrow is forced to face a powerful new drug dealer when Wild Dog goes off on his own.

Arrow as the title of the episode suggests is all about trust. The entire episode is about Oliver trusting other individuals whether it’s as Green Arrow or his job as the Mayor. Even the flashbacks that we get in the episode is about trust and Oliver learning that when it comes to his new crew.

The episode takes off when Wild Dog goes off on his own resulting in an individual being enhanced and also screwing up an investigation that police were going to do concerning the influx of drugs into the city. But, even though Wild Dog made a mistake if Oliver had listened to him there wouldn’t even have been an issue to start. So, trust goes two ways it shows.

But that episode theme is throughout the episode. Felicity has to decide if she’ll tell the truth about the death of his family and city to Rory and there’s also Thea basically running the city for Oliver and Thea learning about trusting the media. Lessons are learned and it’s pretty obvious what the point of the episode was. That’s not a bad thing and brings various aspects of the core of the season together.

There’s also Diggle dealing with the fallout of what we last saw and how Lyla reacts. The less said about that, the better as I have no idea where it’s going.

I think the coolest aspect of the show has to do with Curtis Holt who not only gives us our first Mr. Terrific moment but sports the iconic face paint.

The series is doing a good job of balancing the various aspects of Oliver’s roles and it’s entertaining to watch. The series has been improving this season in that way and here’s to seeing where it all goes.

Overall rating: 7.45

TV Review: Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. S4E4 Let Me Stand Next to Your Fire

agents of shield season 4As Ghost Rider’s quest for vengeance brings him into an explosive confrontation with S.H.I.E.L.D., Coulson and Mack must rely on an unlikely ally in their time of desperate need; and Daisy reunites with a familiar face to stop the Watchdogs.

Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. brings some things together as we finally get an idea as to what the main goal of the bad guy is (sort of) and Ghost Rider, Daisy, and Coulson’s SHIELD come together.

The episode has Daisy and Robbie/Ghost Rider going after the Watchdogs and need to help of a familiar face from last year. There’s a twist to that little plot and it’s absolutely the worst thing of the episode. It’s a plot twist that’s not explained and so far just thrown out there. We don’t quite get why this particular thing happens and it the Watchdogs basically become a side story for the season based off of what is revealed. Hopefully they weren’t just a macguffin to get characters to this point, but we’ll see.

There’s some cool moments. Coulson and Robbie get into a drag race with some solid humor and entertaining back and forth between Coulson and Mack. It’s cool to see the two power cards take each other on and how Robbie is stopped got me to laugh pretty good. So, the action is decent.

We also get some more with Ada and I have no idea where the plot with the life model decoy is going. I’m interesting in seeing it, because this is a concept that’s really ingrained into the Marvel universe and opens up a lot of possibilities. Again, there’s some humor there too.

But, the biggest reveal is what the ghost is after and it’s an item that really takes the series and Marvel Cinematic Universe into some spiritual territory. It’s something familiar to comic fans, or at least those who read Marvel’s horror comics of the 90s. I don’t want to ruin it, but it’s a cool blast from the past for me. It’s also clear the show is going to tie into Dr. Strange somehow.

Again, the episode is a decent one. It’s not bad in any way, but it also doesn’t quite jump out to me. There’s some good. There’s some bad. Thankfully more good than bad. The episode had a goal and that was to bring together some of the characters and it pulled that off in an interesting way. We also have a direction going forward and out of everything, that’s the most interesting aspect of the episode.

Overall Score: 7.70

TV Review: The Strain: S3E8 White Light

the strain s2 imageThe Master’s voice emerges and proves overwhelming; Fet and Setrakian search for cargo from the Egyptian vessel; and Quinlan agrees to deal with the Ancients, but a betrayal afterward proves deadly.

The Strain begins to wrap up its third season with just a few more episodes left as various plot lines move a hell of a lot forward with some impressive events that really shake things up.

The big chunk of the story revolves around the mysterious cargo which we still don’t quite know exactly what’s inside, but Fet and Setrakian go after it while Quinlan confronts the Ancients considering it. There’s a lot of play here and you never quite know who’s on what side and if there’s going to be a betrayal or not. But, when it’s all said and done, there’s a huge shift in status quo and we really have no idea who is left standing to fight on. It’s an impressive move for the series which seems to wipe out a whole bunch of characters that most would probably say didn’t add much to the series and does so in a fashion that has your jaw drop. It’s cool to see even though it’s a rip-off of Blade II.

Eph and Dutch have their moment as we hear the Master’s voice and in a way I’m not sure where they’re going with it. It’s definitely interesting and a new direction that feels like it’s something new in the bigger war. I can make some guesses as to what I think will happen with this, but it’s interesting to me overall. There’s also some movement in the relationship front with tensions having been ramping up for some time.

My favorite part of the episode is between Angel and Gus. There’s an exploration of these two characters who have stood out the entire season and actually make the case the two deserve an entire series focused on them. There’s real character development and I was left wanting to see more of just them.

The episode is a good one bouncing back from last week’s. It moves some plot lines along and adds what feels like progress to quite a few of them. We get a bigger picture of things going on and leaves it all open enough that you never quite know where things are going and who’s on what side. It’ll be interesting to see how the season wraps up, because there’s still a hell of a lot to go.

Overall rating: 7.85

TV Review: Arrow S5E2 Recruits

arrowThe Green Arrow’s training methods prove to be too much for some of the new recruits to handle; flashbacks reveal Oliver’s initiation into the Bratva.

Arrow really gets things going as far as what we can expect this season here as Oliver/Green Arrow must figure out how to properly onboard and train a new team to help him fight crime. The problem is, Ollie is feeling guilty over the death of Black Canary, and folks getting hurt, and generally everyone abandoning him. He’s got some trust issues and since he was trained in a brutal fashion, he thinks that’s the way to go too.

It’s interesting as it really dives into Oliver the person and that he’s not ok from everything that’s happened to him and around him.

What’s also solid is we’re starting to see some bigger issues surrounding the rise of meta humans and a nuclear explosion. People aren’t trusting and it’s escalation to arm themselves more to take on this new “threat.” While things are more “street level” this season, there’s a bigger picture going on, which is really nice.

The episode also introduces Ragman. It’ll be interesting to see what the series does with him as the character is one of the more high-profile Jewish characters in comics and the character is derived from the Golem of Prague of Jewish folklore. How much the show will use in that is a big question, but there’s a statement about how old the rags are that hint they may go pretty far. The fact Felicity is Jewish makes things more interesting.

The episode is an improvement over the series debut which seemed like it had issues with pacing and throwing too much in there to start. The episode takes a few steps back and slows things down while still covering a lot. It’s a bit more character focused instead of action and due to that, it’s improved. Hopefully we get more of this for the rest of the season.

Overall rating: 7.45

TV Review: Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. S4E3 Uprising

agents of shield season 4May fights for her life as her illness worsens and Simmons and Dr. Radcliffe try to save her. Also: Coulson, Mack and Fitz attempt to thwart a rogue group looking to end Inhuman Registration.

Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. gives us a pseudo stand-alone episode as a group sets off electronic magnetic pulses and demands the end of Inhuman Registration. There’s an obviously different motive for the move and it’s pretty clear what their plan is. It’s all convoluted, so not sure what the overall point is to it all, but it’s an episode that doesn’t dive too deep into everything else going on, but sets things up for what’s to come down the road in the series.

The rogue group really feels like it’s more meant to give some drama to May’s recovery and also put Daisy and Robbie closer together.

The loss of power expands around the country forcing some of the SHIELD team to deal with the EMP source and also Daisy and Robbie to deal with issues locally. It’s all decent with some team building but overall, kind of boring. There’s some great special fx using Yo Yo, but overall, nothing jumps out too much as far as the rest. In fact, seeing her in motion really emphasizes how boring the rest of the episode is.

Then there’s May’s condition. Simmons and Dr. Radcliffe work to save her and that too feels like there was just a need to resolve the issue, but not really a major understanding of what is happening.

The episode overall is very blah and not too exciting. It moves the plots set up in the previous two episodes but itself lacks a lot of excitement. It also sets up some things to come like who is really behind the attacks.

The episode isn’t bad, but it also isn’t necessarily good. It just is.

Overall Score: 7.65

TV Review: The Strain: S3E7 Collaborators

the strain s2 imageSetrakian creates a new plan to trap the Master as Eph and Dutch search for the Master’s “voice.” Also: Palmer fights for his life and needs Setrakian’s access to the white and Fet suffers a tough personal loss that reveals a deep family secret.

The Strain is actually somewhat slow this episode as the various parties go along their way to figure out what they’re going to do next. This all seems rather odd as it feels like they had a plan when they found out what to do with the Master. Instead of having one strong plan it feels like the team is now throwing things against the wall to see what sticks and maybe that’s part of the point.

Part of the plan thrown out there is to disrupt the signal between the Master and his minions. It’s a cool aspect and a decent one, but what Setrakian and Fet are doing confuses me. They know a silver/lead box will stop him, but they don’t seem to be really going about making that a priority.

There’s also a focus on Fet’s family’s past. It’s an odd addition to the story and one I’m not sure is important or adds much to it overall. Yes, it fleshes out the character a bit, but for now, there’s no major impact and it only adds odd coincidences.

It’s the weakest of the episodes so far this season that I can tell has a goal of giving the characters further direction, but the directions they go feel like they kind of contradict some things we already know and there’s a lot of new information that just doesn’t feel like it’s needed.

Still, there’s interesting things, especially involving Palmer, that make the episode worth watching for the greater story. On its own though, it doesn’t hold up.

Overall rating: 7.15

TV Review: Arrow S5E1 Legacy

arrowSeason 5 begins with a deadly new criminal, Tobias Church, threatening Star City, which forces Oliver to consider forming a new team of superheroes to help him do battle. In flashbacks, Oliver faces off against the Bratva in Russia.

Arrow kicks off the fifth season with an episode that I can only describe as choppy and a bit frenetic. I loathed the fourth season (as it seems many did) and the creators feel like they got the message and have decided to get Ollie and his team closer to their street roots.

A new group of vigilantes have risen having taken the example of Arrow as their inspiration. Of course Ollie isn’t the biggest fan of that and would rather they didn’t. But, there’s lots of crime as a new crop of crooks have rose as well. With Black Canary’s death still on his mind Ollie isn’t sure if he should get a new team. The concept is good but the episode is just a cacophany of events, one after another.

The episode feels like you came half-way into something. It’s an improvement over last season, but there’s so much the feels choppy and like a missed arrow.

The production value is upped but that also brings a lot of bad with explosions that look like they’re from low grade magic tricks and stunts that are just… bad. Really bad. There’s one scene that involves sensors and explosions that looks comically bad.

There’s some good. There’s some bad. There’s a break neck speed in the episode that doesn’t feel like it works. This could be a bumpy season.

Overall rating: 6.95

TV Review: The Strain: S3E6 The Battle of Central Park

the strain s2 imageFet strikes the strigoi army at its heart and Justine tries to drive it out of Manhattan for good. Also: Gus and Angel fight for their freedom and face a moral dilemma.

The Strain actually feels like things are on the offensive and there’s some actual wins in the battle against the strigoi. A couple of stories finally merge as Gus and Angel’s journey comes together with Fet’s plan.

There’s some really great action sequences in this episode showing off the upped production values compared to the previous two seasons. There’s some big explosions, lots of gunfire, and a solid battle that’s enhanced through a great use of shadows and darkness.

But, what I really enjoy about the episode is that it’s showing actual strategy and the bigger picture. Sacrifices in one location are made as a feint so that a move can be made in another. It’s more than just one small heroic move by someone or one person’s perspective, you get an epic feel of it all.

The other thing I really enjoy is that nobody is perfect. What feels like a win and smart play is shown to be shortsighted and folks are outplayed. Folks act naturally too, they put others in danger before themselves or attempt to protect themselves and generally show fear. Again, it’s a solid change from gung-ho superheroes you might see elsewhere. In a world full of vampires these folks are very human.

“The Battle of Central Park” feels like one in the end and you see why the episode gets its title. This is one that builds throughout the hour paying off numerous times especially as it comes to an end. Again, this third season is really showing its strengths and is the best season so far with some of the best episodes yet. Looking forward to seeing what’s still to come.

Overall rating: 8.65

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