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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: 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

Things Are Switched Up in this Elseworlds Poster

This year’s Arrow/The Flash/Supergirl crossover and dubbed “Elseworlds.” A new image released has Arrow and the Flash on display… but that’s not the usual individuals under the masks.

Yes, that’s Stephen Amell as the Flash and Grant Gustin as Green Arrow. But, what does this mean for Supergirl!?

Looks like this even should be a fun one. “Elseworlds” debuts December 9th.

TV Review: The Flash S5E2 Blocked

Barry and Team Flash track down a meta that is stealing high-tech weapons, only to cross paths with a new foe named Cicada, who is hunting the very same meta, with nefarious intent.

The Flash seems to be laying out some of its themes for the seasons more clearly in this second episode. Relationships are on the mind of numerous characters but “family” is the real focus.

For the most part, the episode is broken into two parts. The Flash and XS focus on a meta and some issue involving weapons dealing. That’s all rather forgettable other than it’s a way to introduce the two to the big villain Cicada.

Beyond that though, the relationship between Barry and Nora is the key there. Nora is trying her best and has a little hero-worship for the father she didn’t know growing up. The “ah ha” moment comes when Barry talks to Joe about the relationship and it all becomes clear how that dynamic is playing out and why. It’s an odd father/daughter relationship but, Barry, Iris, and Nora are family, but a weird one.

The other story too is a distraction from the theme. Ralph and Caitlin decide to help Cisco who’s still depressed about the loss of his love. That involves what is the humor of the episode as Ralph has a system to help Cisco that has quite a few steps. It’s cute to watch friends helping friends and I could watch an entire episode of just this bit. But, that’s not the point, it’s a distraction. Caitlin wants to find out the truth about her father but is using Cisco to avoid that. It’s obvious and clear that’s what’s going on. But, the reason she wants to do that is touching and a bit heartbreaking.

The relationship between father and daughter is explored in these two ways and even more so, daughters who have their fathers missing in their lives. It’s an interesting exploration and very touching. A solid way to keep a theme running through an episode without it being a bit too forced.

This is a solid second episode. Not quite as good as the first but there’s still an energy about the series and the actors’ interactions that make it all a lot of fun. When it comes to the big villain, this episode gets things going and with some of the small details we see, it should be rather interesting.

Overall Rating: 8.0

TV Review: Supergirl S4E1 American Alien

Kara welcomes a new cub reporter to CatCo; James and Lena argue about James’ impreding indictment for acting as the vigilante Guardian; Alex and Brainy struggle to get in sync at the DEO.

I tuned out about half way through the third season of Supergirl. It wasn’t bad, life got in the way and I never got caught up. With the fourth season’s debut, it felt like a good time to hop in and see what I’ve been missing. The fourth season’s debut felt like a friend I haven’t seen in a while. Things have changed but generally they’re the same friend I remember.

Supergirl has always been a positive show with an optimism underlying everything about it. It also has a moral center to it, one that’s aspirational in so many ways. It also has had no issues wearing its values on its sleeve.

“American Alien” keeps up that tradition and then some. Its been a year since the act that made aliens legal citizens and there’s still a movement that hates them. It’s not hard to see the real world parallels as the aliens are easy stand in for whatever group demigogues decide to point their fingers at for the week. Whether it’s Muslims, transgender individuals, or undocumented immigrants, it’s not hard to see the allegory that’s working here. It also goes from the macro to the micro in a simple scene where Supergirl stumbles upon the discussions occurring where every day individuals, suburban moms, are buying weapons in an attempt to kill aliens. It feels like recent headlines where parents threatened the lives of transgender children over their use of bathrooms at schools. With the reveal of the villain of Agent Liberty it’s kind of hard to not see this direction as a middle finger to the regressive right.

The storytelling is great as expected and the acting team delivers as usual. Everyone is fun and entertaining and new elements and dynamics are plenty. The season continues what I assume was shake-ups in the previous episodes and does so in a way that makes it all feel fresh and new. There’s a definite vibe when a new cast comes in where things are different. But, what’s presented is more than entertaining and keeps things fresh, an issue previous seasons had.

The show seems to have something to say and is taking on a subject that can easily be touchy. It does what entertainment does so well, reflect our real world through a thinly veiled allegory. It’s a welcome return and this season opener has me wanting to come back for more.

Overall Rating: 7.75

TV Review: Black Lightning S2E1 The Book of Consequences: Chapter One: Rise of The Green Light Babies

The board considers a motion to shut down the school, forcing Jefferson to go to Napier Frank to sway the vote; Jennifer struggles with her powers; Anissa finds a new way to give back to Freeland.

I’ll admit, I fell behind on the first season of Black Lightning and have yet to finish watching it (life got in the way). So, I was intrigued as to how accessible the second season’s debut would be. The answer is a bit mixed honestly.

Unlike a lot of the other CW shows, this first episode of the second season feels like a continuation of the first. It’s not so much a new storyline that may reference what came before, it straight up feels like part two to the first season’s part one.

What I enjoyed about the first season is its dive into today’s very real social issues and not flinching at all to call things for what they are and be honest, brutally honest, about it all. The second season opens with something that gave me hope too for a repeat. While the episode does that somewhat, it’s more focused on the meta aspect of it all. It feels a bit like a DC X-Men in a way. There’s a lot of discussion about metas and government experimentation. That, along with how best to help one’s community, are about as social aware as the episode gets.

There is a lot to reflect upon. There’s hints of Flint’s water crisis and absolutely the Tuskegee experiments. But, while abuse by the police is there, it feels like this season debut is focused more on the meta abilities and giving us “magical” moments full of special fx. But, there’s a focus on the experience of the underlying brutality this community experiences that pervades the episode. Trauma is front and present, both deep down and on the surface like experienced at the end of the episode.

While the episode could have been better at being new viewer friendly but still, it’s an emotional show that has no problem mixing the fantastical with a social consciousness.

Overall Rating: 8.0

TV Review: The Flash S5E1 Nora

After an unexpected guest from the future appears at their home, Barry and Iris must figure out how to get her back to the future without disrupting the timeline.

The Flash is back for its fifth season with a debut that is just full of excitement and twists. With the revelation of Barry and Iris’ daughter from the future we dive deep into what that all means. While the episode could easily just focus on time travel and continually mentioning about changing the timeline. But, instead, as usual, the show is more about the emotional impact as pieces of the puzzle come together. There’s also a heavy dose of humor about it all.

But, what’s exciting, and is so good, is the episode lays it all out there. We know why Nora comes back. We know what she’s trying to prevent. There’s no teasing it out. It’s all laid out there. The show gets to the point which feels so rare in comic adaptations.

The what is fantastic too. It plays back to earlier seasons and the “Crisis” that’s been hinted at for some time. That should excite comic fans and it feels like a payoff after five years for long time viewers. It makes it worth staying tuned to see what’s called back.

The episode also has no problem name checking for comic fans with a wink and a nod to Ryan Choi, one of The Atoms from DC Comics.

The cast too is as fun as usual. Hartley Sawyer as Ralph Dibny is his usual dim self bring a lot of comedic timing and humor to the show. Danielle Panabaker as Caitlin Snow is her usual straightman to Carlos Valdes’ Cisco Ramon. The heart of the show is Grant Gustin’s Barry Allen and Candice Patton’s Iris West but Jessica Parker Kennedy as Nora West-Allen delivers an enthusiasm that’s catching. There’s an energy she brings that’s infectious. The episode also is a nod and send off to Keiynan Lonsdale who exits as Wally West aka Kid Flash. Hopefully he returns. Everyone nails their part and brings something to the episode.

The episode will get folks excited for the season and is actually a great starting point for new viewers as it does an excellent job of catching viewers up as to what’s happened and though there’s a lot, is an episode that’s not deep in continuity. It pays off for new and long time viewers. Just a fantastic season opener that may be the best of any season.

Overall Rating: 9.0

NYCC 2018: Riverdale Casts Gina Gershon and Trinity Likins as Jughead’s Mother and Sister

Fans of Riverdale will learn a little bit more about Jughead’s family in season three, as his mother and sister shake things up with their own sneaky behavior. Gina Gershon (Bound) and newcomer Trinity Likins have been set for recurring roles as Gladys Jones and Jellybean “JB” Jones, respectively. They will debut on Riverdale during the Wednesday, December 12, 2018, episode at 8/7c on The CW.

Gina Gershon plays Jughead’s mother, Gladys Jones, a “businesswoman” who runs the salvage yard (chop shop) that doubles as a Serpent compound, and the Serpents all snap to attention when she gives them an order. A Serpent with a GED, she acts as Fagin to a crew of teenaged car parts thieves.

Trinity Likins is set for the role of Jughead’s sister, Jellybean “JB” Jones. She is wise beyond her years, and her favorite bands are Pink Floyd and Black Sabbath. Jellybean lives with her biker mom in Toledo where they run scams to make ends meet. And like mother like daughter: Jellybean — who goes by JB now — is quite the little con artist herself.

Film, television and stage actor Gina Gershon recently completed a residency at the famed Café Carlyle, where she performed her musical act, Wild Women Don’t Get the Blues. Her television credits include FX’s Rescue Me, HBO’s Curb Your Enthusiasm, Amazon’s Red Oaks, and Lifetime’s House of Versace. Gershon also won Best Supporting Actress at the Toronto Film Festival for Killer Joe, and she appeared in Face/OffBound, andThe Player.

On just her third professional audition, newcomer Trinity Likins landed the lead role of Amelia in the Hallmark holiday movie Christmas in the Air. She also recurred as Emma in the CBC miniseries Unspeakable.

Riverdale stars KJ Apa, Lili Reinhart, Camila Mendes, Cole Sprouse, Luke Perry, Mädchen Amick, Marisol Nichols, Madelaine Petsch, Ashleigh Murray, Casey Cott, Mark Consuelos, and Skeet Ulrich.

Based on the Archie Comics characters, Riverdale is from Berlanti Productions in association with Warner Bros. Television and CBS Television Studios. Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa, Greg Berlanti, Sarah Schechter and Jon Goldwater are executive producers. Season three of Riverdale premieres Wednesday, October 10, at 8/7c on The CW.

This Year’s Arrowverse Event Casts Its Villain

Things are getting bigger and bigger with each Arrowverse crossover and this year’s villain is no exception.

Jeremy Davies has been cast as Dr. John Deegan in the three-night even. Deegan is a doctor at Arkham Asylum for the Criminally Insane in Gotham. He’s a doctor, but he might actually be crazier than the inmates.

DC has hinted there might be “more than meets the eye” to the character. What do you think the twist will be? The belief is the character will be Doctor Destiny who first appeared in Justice League of America #5 in June 1961. That character’s name was revealed to be John Dee.

This isn’t Davies first role in the DC world. He was Ritchie Simpson from both NBC’s Constantine and the Justice League Dark animated movie.

The crossover will include Green Arrow, the Flash, Supergirl, and feature the debut of Batwoman.

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