Flash: “I Know Who You Are”


Jim’s Thoughts

This week’s Flash addressed two problems. The first was an imagined problem. The second was one that actually needed to be addressed. You’d think that would average out, but it really didn’t.

With all the pairing off we’ve seen from Team Flash, poor HR must surely have been getting lonely. This week we had him make googly eyes at our super scientist of the future. That’s the imagined problem I mentioned. The show writers just can’t stand to see anyone single. In fact, even in the midst of a stakeout to find Caitlin and stop her from teaming up with Savitar, Barry takes the time to talk to Joe about his love life. It’s more of the same. They’re slaughtering the suspense of the season’s big confrontation with the villain to prioritize what they call romance. Did we even remember Joe was with Cecile? I guess I did, but I sure didn’t care.

What was the problem then that needed to be addressed? Well, we now know (at least sort of) who Savitar is. What’s the problem then? The answer is some alternate version of Barry. That’s probably the worst answer they could have come up with, but it’s a fitting pratfall for a season-long mystery we only cared about out of habit.

There isn’t much else to say about this episode. There isn’t much to say about this season.

Kyle’s Take

My son walked in during this week’s recap of Flash. You know, the clip show of past episodes to catch everyone who missed last week’s episode up to speed. He asked me who that fake looking Megatron was and I told him Savitar. Who’s that? Flash hasn’t revealed who’s inside the suit. They haven’t developed any viable candidates either so it must be an alternative Barry. That’d be the fast food version of a comic book plot. Well, reheat those grease pimple patties and scrape off the mold from the cheese.

If Savitar is the reheated patty, the CW’s romances are the moldy cheese. Except for this episode’s twenty-minute time sink, Joe’s relationship with Cecile happened off-screen. That’s why it’s difficult to remember that Joe’s in deep like-like with Cecile. Flash doesn’t care about this relationship. Why should I? Pass.

HR didn’t need to hook up with anyone, least of all the once and future Nobel-winning scientist. Must every plot point be dipped in romance? They’re nothing but empty calories. Pass.

There isn’t much else to talk about, so we’re back to Other Barry as Savitar. Do you think Other Barry exists because of Flashpoint? Did Flash ever resolve Flashpoint? I almost forgot about that plotline until just now and the season finale may hinge on that broken plotline. Didn’t Jim and I say Barry was going to go back in time and “fix” it? Killer Frost, Savitar, and Dr. Alchemy exist because of Flashpoint. Can we hit the reset button?

Thanks for reading.

Arrow: “Dangerous Liaisons”


Jim’s Thoughts

“Dangerous Liaisons” wasn’t exactly filler. It just didn’t advance the part of the plot that involved Prometheus, and that made it feel like filler.

For a while now, I’ve been saying the best thing for Felicity’s character would be for her to become a villain outright. For some brief moment, I thought that was possible, but it didn’t pan out. What did happen was Helix, the organization that seemed really evil, turned out to be really evil, and extra tension between Ollie and Felicity was manufactured.

Speaking of manufactured tension, Diggle and Mrs. Diggle sparred over secret government prisons, and the issue was addressed about as thoroughly as gun control was earlier this season. For the uninitiated, that means not at all.

I could get into the ridiculous elements of the show. When did computer hackers become commandos? When did Quentin decide to take an interest in Wild Dog’s daughter? There’s plenty of that, and there always is with these shows, but the biggest problem this week was that it bored me. There’s not much else to say.

Kyle’s Take

Well, if there’s not much else to say, can I skip watching Arrow this week? Too late. I’ve seen it, and it can’t be unseen.

When I saw the title “Dangerous Liaisons,” I wondered if we’d see plenty of bed hopping like the play of the same name. Thank goodness that wasn’t the case but that doesn’t mean this week’s Arrow was any good.

Arrow could make its side stories feel less like filler if they developed them. Jim asked, when did Quentin decide to take an interest in Wild Dog’s daughter? Well, Quentin and Wild Dog had a passing conversation about his daughter two months ago. The rest of the story, and that’s most of the story, developed off camera. How hard is it to show clips of Quentin on the phone, hunting someone down? That story element could’ve built intrigue. Who is Quentin calling? Who is he looking for? Nope. We’re given the same attention to detail with Quentin as Flash has given Wally and his engineer degree. I’m sure any college would be happy to hand someone a Bachelor of Science to someone who never shows up to class.

Isn’t Felicity supposed to be a quick study? How could Helix dupe her? Helix as an evil corporation was obvious. She suffered from the same fate as a writer who can’t think of anything clever for the Riddler so they dumb down everyone else in Batman’s universe, including Batman, to make an average intelligence Riddler look like a genius. This devalued an already weak Felicity.

I’m not sure how much of this will matter. This hasn’t been the bounce back year I was hoping for Arrow.

Thanks for reading.

Flash: “The Once and Future Flash”


Jim’s Thoughts

“The One and Future Flash” didn’t exactly burst out of the proverbial gate. It offered another look at another timeline, and since we all know Barry will achieve “the impossible” in stopping Savitar, it’s not even a timeline I can take all that seriously.

My problems with this episode are pretty much in line with the problems I’ve had with the entire direction of the show. I don’t care about the Barry/Iris romance, and it’s trying to force me to care. Maybe I’m in the minority here, but their efforts to do that undermine every member of the team.

In the future, when Iris dies, Barry grows his hair out and fronts a My Chemical Romance reunion. He stops caring about anyone or anything, and all the members of team flash pull away from one another.

First, I don’t believe Iris is that important to the dynamic of the team. Remember, Wally has known the West family for all of, what? A year? He wouldn’t have a normal sibling relationship with Iris. If his mother’s death didn’t break him, why would that of his estranged sister? Then again, he fell in love with Jessie Quick faster than a fart floods an elevator, so maybe normal human emotions never apply.

Second, if Barry going into seclusion means none of the other team members stay together, hell, none of them even stay in touch with one another, how tight can their individual bonds really be? Would Barry really retreat so far into self-pity that he’d stand by and watch Central City crumble? If so, he’s not a hero and never was. All of this boils down to two things. The CW writers don’t understand what the decisions they’re making say about the characters they’re working with, and that they’re burning the cast’s dynamic to the ground to manufacture higher stakes for a bad storyline.

Kyle hit the nail on the head when he said the outlying problem with this season is that its leaning on the mystery of who Savitar is, and Savitar hasn’t been made interesting. Nobody cares who Savitar is, and no revelation is going to be enough of a payoff to satisfy being strung along as far as we have been. Ending the episode with the teaser only reminded me of how annoying all this has been.

Kyle’s Take

The teaser at the end was insulting. Flash explained Savitar is someone Barry knows, and we learned earlier in this episode Killer Frost knows his identity when she joined him. The episode told and then showed. The teaser added nothing.

The timeline “The Once and Future Flash” presented had the same issues as the Earth-2 versions of Flash characters. A lot happened, the script dumped years of info through dialogue, and this reality won’t matter after this week. Jim’s right with his assessment that Barry will do the impossible and save Iris. Flash couldn’t kill off Iris any more than Arrow could kill off Felicity.

I sell this reality for all the reasons Jim does. Wally shouldn’t go catatonic after his estranged sister dies (he didn’t for his mother who raised him), and Barry isn’t much of a hero if he could sit back and let Mirror Master and Top overtake Central City. Seriously, he’s going to let The Rogues Light ruin his city? And where was he when Cisco and Caitlin needed him? I question Cisco’s sincerity when he said, “I missed my friend.” Barry changed time so Cisco’s brother would die, wouldn’t change it back, and left him alone to suffer for eight years. Barry hasn’t been much of a friend.

I’m not sure if Flash can recover from its missteps and I don’t care who Savitar is. “The Once and Future Flash” built up nothing. The finale is looking like a whole lot of nothing.

Thanks for reading.

iZombie: “Wag the Tongue Slowly”


Kyle’s Thoughts

iZombie hasn’t figured out how to integrate its story arcs. Come to think of it, the CW may not know how to integrate its story arcs. For the second week in a row—I didn’t review last week’s “Eat, Pray, Liv” for reasons I’ll explain later—iZombie front loaded its episode with the weekly mystery, rushing the process, so it could focus on something else the second half of “Wag the Tongue Slowly.”

The solution to this week’s mystery left a lot to be desired: everyone’s involved. No one likes a gossip so it made a little sense that more than one person would plan the victim’s murder. iZombie even offered that the murderers didn’t know they were killing her either by giving her Utopium. That almost makes sense, too. But if Cheryl’s coworkers wanted to teach her a lesson, a laxative in her pudding would’ve worked as well as, if not better than, an illegal street drug. I can’t buy into the coworkers’ ignorance. Headlines like thousands of people die from Utopium overdose would make me reconsider putting it in someone’s food as a prank.

I didn’t review “Eat, Pray, Liv” because iZombie turned full CW: insta-romance. I got invested in Blaine’s reform. He didn’t need a love interest in Peyton. Ravi pining for Peyton was okay. His jumping in bed with a character reintroduced for the sole purpose of Ravi jumping into bed with her and ruining his chances with Peyton was pointless. Major and Liv work as friends. They haven’t expressed feelings toward each other in years. Again, it makes some sense he’d have feelings for her, the two were engaged before they turned zombie, but iZombie didn’t need it, and “Wag the Tongue Slowly” dropped the story the next week. Enough with insta-romance.

And insta-romance during “Wag the Tongue Slowly” was the main plot point that rushed the week’s mystery. Major discovers Natalie. He forgot about Liv when he fell in deep, like-like for her and gave her his only zombie cure dose. Unless Ravi has another dose hanging around, Major just sacrificed his life for Natalie’s. The two characters have known each other for a few days. That’s a huge leap, especially since Major fell in like-like with Liv last week. Enough with insta-romance.

The zombie-topia showed up during the last five minutes this week. The moment at the end presented and interesting angle but iZombie has added a lot of plots to juggle. The show has a history of juggling plots better than any other CW show, season two had several plotlines on the stove to boil at different temps, but iZombie’s third season is playing out a lot like Supergirl this season. Let’s backload the final fifteen minutes of episodes with romance or an ongoing plot. It’s clumsy.

iZombie’s season is still young. The show just needs a few strong episodes to right itself. Let’s hope we’ve seen the last of insta-romance for a while.

Thanks for reading.

Supergirl: “Ace Reporter”


Kyle’s Thoughts

“Ace Reporter,” as the episode’s name suggests, focused on Kara as a reporter. I haven’t spent much time discussing Kara’s reporter story arc because Supergirl hasn’t put a lot of time into her non-superhero career.

This week’s episode rushed the process of building Kara as an ace reporter. Snapper Carr is too forgiving for a guy who was betrayed one week prior and he’s putting a lot of trust in a fledgling reporter who’s shown on multiple occasions that she doesn’t understand the business. The CW throws in a few buzz words like “alternative facts” and they expect their audience to buy it. They may be right in that assumption.

I may not have liked how Supergirl handled Kara as a mild-mannered reporter but I’m glad the show shifted its focus to Kara’s career. Romance derailed Kara’s life as a reporter.

Speaking of romance, it dominated the other half of “Ace Reporter.” We’re not talking true love. We’re talking the all too common like-like that occurs on CW shows. None of the “romances” this week have lasted longer than a few episodes, one was even introduced this week and dropped. To be fair, iZombie’s Rahul Kohli guest starred as Lena Luthor’s love interest and there was no way he’d continue as a show regular, but I suffer from insta-romance fatigue. Just add water.

The weekly villain also revolved around an insta-romance. Nanorobots attacked National City. This isn’t the first time this villain type has taken on a CW hero: Queen Bee on Arrow. Lena’s tragic romance added a little twist to a familiar storyline, but it was a weekly villain married to a weekly romance. It didn’t add that much.

Dialogue has never been the CW’s strongest asset but the dialogue in “Ace Reporter” was particularly cringe-worthy. A line like “I’m a black belt in karate” can’t be followed by “I’m a Luthor.” They may as well have said, “I can kill you with one thumb.” “I have money.” What’s worse was any scene involving Lyra. She’s supposed to not know how Earthlings speak—her lines and delivery worked—but the human cast around her acted as if they were aliens.

The stinger at “Ace Reporter’s” end could lead to something interesting. I’m not invested in Mon-El’s mom (Teri Hatcher) and her revenge but I care for Mon-El and Kara’s relationship even less. If Supergirl handles the story well, the finale could shake up things. But a line delivered by Mon-El (Chris Wood), “Nothing can stop romance,” leads me to believe Supergirl will continue its Mon-Kara melodrama.

Thanks for reading.

Archer: “Berenice”


Kyle’s Thoughts

I continue to enjoy Archer Dreamland. It’s fun watching Sterling in a film noir and how the characters retain their unique personalities. “Berenice” was a tip of the hat to Weekend at Bernie’s. I lost count of how many times I belly laughed at Sterling and Charlotte Vandertunt (Cheryl) carrying a dead maid, pretending she’s alive.

Judy Greer’s Charlotte Vandertunt drove this week’s episode. She’s still a wealthy heiress, distrusts her family (she wants to fake her death by using the dead maid, who Archer named Berenice), highly excitable, and has a fondness for drugs. Sterling and Charlotte popped codeine like Mentos. Interesting note, Charlotte marks the sixth time in eight seasons Cheryl has had a name change (Cherlene, Carol, Cristal, and Carina). She may be the same gullible, sex maniac but Charlotte stepped into the realm of compassion, something Cheryl isn’t known for, when she expressed concern for Berenice’s dignity. It’s an odd and superficial thing (in the way she expressed concern) but this compassion is a small departure for the character and I wonder if Archer may explore it in the future. At any rate, I thought Tunt was a suggestive name but somehow, Vandertunt is worse.

“Berenice” introduced the rest of the main cast too. Krieger is the one in charge of fixing Other, Other Barry (aka Dutch)—I’m thinking steampunk cyborg. Figgis is another one of Len Trexler’s goons and they ignore him as much as Isis or the private detective agency formerly known as Isis. And Malory shows up again as “Mother.” I may have missed it the first week but it tickled me when I heard every character call Malory Archer, “Mother.” That must be an unconscious, Freudian slip.

I still like Archer’s World War II flashbacks. This week Sterling flashed to a nun nursing him to health. The image was shocking because of its juxtaposition with Vandertunt. Charlotte is as crazy in Dreamland as Carol—I mean Cheryl—is in Archer’s baseline reality. There wasn’t a lot of the real world seeping into this week’s episode but as the season progresses, I’m sure the real world will creep in. Archer has been renewed for two more seasons. There’s little chance Sterling will remain in a coma for those two seasons, is there?

Thanks for reading.

iZombie: “Zombie Knows Best”


Kyle’s Thoughts

“Zombie Knows Best” returned iZombie’s to its police procedural roots. The episode yielded mixed results.

Major as a second zombie member of Liv’s detective team didn’t work as well as I would’ve liked this week. iZombie can have its funny, or even hokey, moments but Major with teenage girl tendencies and Liv channeling a middle-aged father was so over-the-top, the show left the Earth’s atmosphere. iZombie is at its best when the brains Liv and the rest of the zombies eat influences how they react; the zombies in question retain their baseline personalities. New viewers tuning in this week wouldn’t know who Major or Liv are as people based on their bizarre actions. Unfortunately, the zombie underground/utopia is the reason Liv and Major acted out of character.

The zombietopia has concocted a brain mixture—hitting frappe on fifty or so brains and packaging them in easy to transport tubes—to counteract any mood swings or strange thoughts or behaviors. I like this concept. On the surface, it shows the zombie community adapting to their powers and condition, and it makes sense within the confines of iZombie’s world. The problem is that Major and Liv must behave more out of character than normal to sell this wonder brain tube story thread and the tube’s packaging leaves much to be desired. Each one is marked as brains.

The “Brains!” tubes are an issue because one of the major plot points this year is the underground giving zombie families living in human communities these tubes. They’re labeled as brains. The zombie families have been throwing out tubes marked brains for almost two years and the underground is surprised humans have discovered they exist. Don’t label the tubes “Brains!,” or don’t send zombie families into human communities with these cartoonish tubes.

The Wally story this week had to do a lot of heavily lifting. I’m sure Wally didn’t exist before this season, or he was minor character with little connection to Detective Babineaux. “Zombie Knows Best” squeezed a lot of background for two characters who were retrofitted into Babineaux’s past. The lost fifteen minutes didn’t do anything for the main storyline and anything work it did for the zombie underground was lost with Brains! tubes.

I did like iZombie’s return to a police procedural. The show hasn’t lost one of the elements that make it fun; it’s not your typical cop show. The mystery was a little too easy but that was due to all the other plotlines swirling around, not to mention Liv and Major’s Dawson’s Creek impersonation.

I’m hoping the Wally story has played out and there’ll be time and space for other storylines to thrive. This hasn’t been a great start for iZombie but it hasn’t been a terrible one either. I’m still digging the overall idea of a zombietopia.

Thanks for reading.

Archer: “No Good Deed”


Kyle’s Thoughts

Archer keeps the series fresh by changing up its format and this year’s Dreamland, a film noir fantasy, is no disappointment. This season marks the first time the show has time traveled and I’m digging the era appropriate references, Archer gags updated for the new timeline, and Sterling’s backstory. There’s plenty to explore this season. Dreamland has changed Archer to an almost unrecognizable state but the principle characters are intact and you can tell the creative team (direction, writing, actors, and everyone else) is having fun.

I’m not the biggest fan of dream sequences, especially extended dream sequences, but Archer is upfront with the plot device, calling this season “Dreamland.” The show’s also a comedy and I’m more forgiving of comedies. Sterling’s in a coma and “Dreamland” is the world his mind concocts. I like how Archer has integrated happenings in the real world (minor spoiler: Woodhouse’s death and funeral) into the dream sequence. I wouldn’t mind seeing more of that; it’d be an interesting storytelling mechanism and with Archer’s ten-episode season, it might not get old before season’s end.

Sterling has been part of a drug cartel, the CIA, and a private investigator but the show doesn’t lose sight of who he or any of the characters are at their core. Dreamland looks to continue this trend. Yes, Sterling’s not a World War II veteran, finding new life as a private eye in 1940s Los Angeles but he’s the same, lovable bastard.

My only complaint, and it’s a small one, is that “No Good Deed” does so much world building that some characters get lost in the shuffle. We’re introduced to Cheryl, Lana, and Krieger and little more. Like I said, it’s a small complaint. Archer has a huge cast and rebuilding the show as a 1940 film noir detective comedy is a tall order. I expect the show to do more than mention these characters next week. And how great was it to see Other, Other Barry?

Dreamland’s a lot of fun.

Thanks for reading.

iZombie: “Heaven Just Got a Little Bit Smoother”


Kyle’s Thoughts

iZombie’s season three premiere “Heaven Just Got a Little Bit Smoother” had the job of transitioning the show from a Max Rager/Zombie Underground story to Zombitopia/Zombie Revival tale. It’s as huge task. “Heaven Just Got a Little Bit Smoother” had plenty of bumps along the way but I like the effort.

This week’s iZombie showed why the series is unique, compared to other zombie franchises. The word zombie is synonymous with dystopia. “Heaven Just Got a Little Bit Smoother” offered a zombie utopia. Sure, utopia and dystopia tales share similarities. A utopia is typically too good to be true and cracks form, illustrating why there’s no such thing as a utopia. iZombie should, and most likely will, explore this utopia’s dark underbelly—there’s an awful lot of commando/special ops zombies (zombie in this universe take on the characteristics of the brains they eat) that make me wonder where the undead are getting their brains—and that’s part of the fun. iZombie is unlike any other zombie franchise and that’s a welcome change.

It’s not all sunshine though. “Heaven Just Got a Little Bit Smoother” took on a lot of heavy plot lifting. There were plenty of patented CW data dumps via dialogue and I vaguely remember the child zombie Warren from season two. He was reintroduced this season and his demise served as a plot device (a potential war between humans and zombies) and tried to emotionally manipulate the audience. I would’ve been more invested in Warren had I recalled him from last season. I have a hard time placing him. Regardless, his story was forced.

I also don’t buy the premise of intelligent zombies wanting to live on a private island, separate from humanity. Like vampires, humans are these zombie’s food. Give them as much intelligence as you want but these zombies are apex predators. Their existence threatens human life. And who would want to be a human (zombie food), when you can live forever as a cognizant zombie? These zombies have fewer restrictions than vampires; they can handle sunlight. It’s difficult to suspend disbelief but iZombie was always a bizarre premise and I’m willing to do that if the show maintains its mystery element. Yes, there’s the mystery of where these new zombies are getting their brains and this was the season premiere, there was plenty of plot lifting to do, but I’d like to see Liv and company solve crimes. Part of what made iZombie fun was how Liv’s abilities revealed murderers.

Even without my weekly mystery, iZombie continues to be fun and different. The series maintained most of its humor from the past two seasons and that’s a good thing too. “Heaven Just Got a Little Bit Smoother” wouldn’t cause me any concern if iZombie was on a different network but the CW doesn’t have the best track record of keeping elements in their shows that make those shows great. But I have hope that iZombie won’t lose sight of why it’s a singular zombie franchise.

Thanks for reading.

Legion: “Chapter 8”


Kyle’s Thoughts

“Chapter 8” didn’t finish Legion as strong as I would’ve liked. It was still a solid episode but there was a moment where I figured what would happen and it happened as I figured it would. Legion had a knack for keeping me on my toes and it was a little sluggish. It didn’t quite stick the landing.

There’s little chance for me to go over this episode without revealing spoilers, so consider this your spoiler alert.

I figured Shadow King wasn’t going to be defeated; he had to find a new host. The most obvious choice was Oliver Bird and that’s who Shadow King eventually chose. Legion suggested D3 might find a mind for Shadow King to inhabit, Syd offered herself as a sacrificial lamb (Syd is essentially Karma from the comics, and Karma did combat Shadow King, so that would’ve made sense), and Carey even had Shadow King coodies for a short while, but Oliver was the clear winner. He has psychic powers. Shadow King likes that. He got whammied right after he remembered his wife Melanie. That’s not at all manipulative. And he’s off kilter. Oliver’s mental state is the closest to David’s. Oliver as Shadow King’s new host isn’t a bad thing. This development ensures Shadow King and Oliver will be in future episodes. I’m not shocked by it. It felt like the easy way out, and Legion seldom hits the easy button.

I could’ve done without frontloading “Chapter 8” with the D3 officer’s backstory. It was unavoidable but it threw off Legion’s rhythm, and not in the good ways Legion’s found in the prior episodes.

“Chapter 8” also teased David as too powerful a being. I hope Legion explores this in the future because he is. The X-Men spoke to me when I was young because they were outsiders and as a mixed kid from the south, I was an outsider. The team’s roster holds some of the most powerful characters in the Marvel universe because folks want the outsider/underdog to win. But can you be the underdog when you’re more powerful than your oppressors? Some of the best X-Men stories are the ones that challenge Apartheid (a minority oppressing a majority) and the various waves of Civil Rights movements (combating institutional racism, sexism, orientation, and identity). Legion scrapped the surface of these subjects and with everything that happened during the season finale, it could dig deeper into these issues organically.

“Chapter 8” may not have been the perfect ending but it did enough to get me excited for a second season.

Season’s Take

Yeah, Shadow King taking Oliver Bird as his new host didn’t come as a surprise. He lived in the astral plane for twenty years.

I wasn’t a fan of learning the backstory of the D3 officer. Like Kyle said, it was unavoidable, but it was also unnecessary. Not every character needs a known backstory. Although, I will admit, he reminded me of Harvey Dent from Batman: Animated Series and Joker from Tim Burton’s Batman when I saw the doctor cutting off his bandages.

“Chapter 8” was interesting and I like Shadow King being David’s nemesis (aside from himself). The scenes when Shadow King takes the form of Lenny Busker were the best. It wouldn’t surprise me if David has a showdown with Shadow King sometime down the road.

I’d like to see how Legion handles David and the astral plane in the future. I’m looking forward to Season Two next year.

Thanks for reading.