Wednesday, March 21, 2018

My Review of Legends Of Tomorrow's 3x15: "Necromancing The Stone"

Written by Grainne Godfree & Morgan Faust
Directed by April Mullen

Constantine (to Gary): "Well, tonight squire, I'm all yours."

I tried to resist the slash ship (no, I really didn't) but this episode made it nigh on impossible for that. I thought we had already struck male/male ship gold earlier in the season when we learned that Citizen Cold and The Ray were a couple but this surprising pairing between John Constantine and Gary Green over Dungeons & Dragons I did not see coming. That kiss alone also was an unexpected treat for this delightful episode.

I think Constantine is probably the first person in a while that has actually taken Gary a tiny bit seriously as he waffled on rather enthusiastically while at the same time also helping both Ava and John try and figure out how to help the rest of the Legends from a Death Totem possessed Sara while at the same time, the show went out of it's way to seed the future for our bisexual demonologist will involve a bit of time and space travelling.

If we didn't already know that Matt Ryan was going to be made a regular next season, this episode certainly told us this. There was more emphasis on the Newcastle Incident and Astra with Mallus using the latter to prey on John at one point while Sara even extended an invitation to join the Waverider. Note that John didn't exactly say no to the offer either and he'll be back for the finale along with a lot of other people too.

With Constantine in full arrogant swagger, the scenes between him and Ava were even more delightful. I know his presence slightly worries some AvaLance fans but this episode alone went out of it's way to tell them they needn't worry. In fact, despite Sara breaking up with Ava after her little trip to the dark side this week, the episode did end on a hopeful note so I wouldn't be too shocked when Sara and Ava reunite and they'll probably do that next week.

I thought this was a strong episode for Ava, character wise too. She was determined to save Sara and her scenes with John and Gary were the highlight of the episode. I'm also not surprised that it was Ava who actually got Sara back to the light despite Mallus/Nora seriously tempting Sara to the dark side as well.

As for Sara - anyone else think her Death Totem look was a mix up of Dark and Light Willow from Buffy's final two seasons?  She certainly knocked out Ray quite savagely as well as the psychological warfare on Zari, Wally and Nate as well with those visions of Behrad, Jessie and Henry. I am glad though the gang did quickly forgive her when she came back and that Amaya encouraged Mick to use the Fire Totem in order to save the day. Mick was the only logical person who could wield that particular totem considering we don't have Jax on the ship anymore. It was also nice to see him step up as the hero as well. More of that please with Mick.

- They really are having fun with Beebo as well with Gary having socks of him and John talking about doing a spell on the toy as well.
- It was nice to actually have Nora in an episode without Damien in the background. We still have to see her in action using Amaya's Totem before the latter reclaims it.
-  Wally was smart enough to try and use his powers against, like Nate should've done. I assume that Nate having steel powers also played a role in him not being able to use the Earth Totem.
- Chronology: New York 2018 for the Constantine scenes but there was some offscreen adventures with the likes of DaVinci, Laika and Einstein to name a few. Also three weeks since the events of Daddy Darhkest.

Necromancing The Stone tread quite a dark path into Sara's psyche as she put her whole team in danger but it was also one of the strongest episodes this season with some genuinely funny moments and an inspired team up of Constantine, Gary and Ava. With three episodes left, I do think it's time we see Mallus in physical form fairly soon.

Rating: 9 out of 10

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

My Review of How To Get Away With Murder's 4x15: "Nobody Else Is Dying"

Written by Peter Nowalk
Directed by Jet Wilkinson

Annalise (to Laurel): "You're not your parents."

I wouldn't be so sure about that, Annalise. I think Laurel has proven a lot that she's very influenced by the same family she's been desperately trying to distance herself with since the show's beginning and this episode alone, she played her role in her father's downfall along with the set up for next season as to whether or not she's harmed her mother.

Personally I think Laurel probably hasn't killed Sandrine at all (though I suspect someone else will have done) but I'm also not surprised that even her close knit friends were quick to doubt her as well. Even Jorge prior to being arrested for his multiple crimes was fearful that Laurel killed his ex-wife, which really does say a lot about how he sees his own daughter.

Then again, Laurel did come out the victor in this episode. She just justice for Wes, revenge on her parents and even got baby Christopher back as well. The scenes with Annalise and Bonnie with Christopher were especially lovely to be honest. Of course with Bonnie, something else was set up for next season.

I had to admit it was delightfully meta to see Frank talk about the good times not lasting long as soon as Gabriel Maddox (Rome Flynn) came into the mix. I'm guessing that he's meant to be Bonnie's son considering that Nate was looking at her file and if it means a bigger role for Bonnie next season, then this should be a good thing. I'm also guessing we won't wait too long to find out who Gabriel's father was though.

As for the rest of the episode, there was a lot of interesting personal bits here. I hated that Michaela got Simon deported, even if her motives weren't entirely malicious but it was still a pretty despicable thing for her to do. I also liked Asher calling her out on her actions, even if he did go on a bit over. On the other hand, at least Michaela still has Connor on her side while the bromance with Asher and Oliver continues to blossom rather nicely now that Asher bagged himself a best man gig.

- Annalise's class action case storyline was also resolved with an obvious victory and Connor's back to applying for Middleton.
- Despite being deported, I'm hoping we do see Simon again.
- Tegan will be back next season I hope. I'd like to actually see her and Annalise work together.
- Chronology: Not long since The Day Before He Died left off.

If it wasn't for the set up with both Sandrine's whereabouts and the arrival of Gabriel Maddox, then I think Nobody Else Is Dying would've served as a series finale. It finally laid to rest the ghost of Wes, brought nearly everyone back together and put Annalise on a rather good path too. I do wonder though if the next season will be it's last one though.

Rating: 8 out of 10

Friday, March 16, 2018

My Review of Gotham's 4x14: "Reunion"

Written by Peter Blake
Directed by Annabelle K. Frost

Ivy: "You always did think you were better than me."
Selina: "That's not true, I was your friend. We were friends, Ivy. You said so yourself."
Ivy: "That was a long time ago. I'm a different person now."

If ever there was a thing that Gotham has consistently gotten right in terms of comics, it would be that somewhat complicated dynamic that both Catwoman and Poison Ivy have shared with one another. We've seen them both as friends and as enemies and in simultaneous books at the same time, a bit of both.

With this arc, we've seen that come to fruition here. Selina had been keen on actually helping Ivy to begin with but when the latter decided to go down the genocidal path, that was a line Selina wasn't willing to cross. In some ways, it makes sense that Ivy's final confrontation wasn't with Bruce or Gordon but instead one of the few people who has been kinder to her than most in her short enough life.

I'm glad this episode didn't end with Ivy either killed off or getting a spell in Arkham or somewhere else but instead, we got a rather complex confrontation with herself and Selina as the latter ensured that Ivy wouldn't be able to use the remaining Lazarus water for any more plant based experiments. I liked the mulling over of their friendship and how it served as a means for the pair of them not to kill the other. Given that the title for the season finale has also been spoiled online, I'm also hoping that we're not going to have too long until Ivy shows up again.

As for Ivy's general plan, it's interesting that she went after Bullock to avenge her father's death before leaving him to take out Gordon so she could cause her own havoc at a Wayne Enterprises event, even if she failed on both accounts. Credit to the show though for this Ivy arc and making her a compelling antagonistic while at the same time not also abandoning other storylines this week. Peyton List did make a considerable improvement with her performance this week.

Ivy wasn't the only dangerous female character to cause chaos this week. Leslie's attempts of getting Sofia onside resulted in her hand being smashed and getting quickly dethroned from the Narrows as Sofia got her own revenge on her sister in law. However while Sofia might be enjoying her shot of victory now, it seems that with Gordon on the warpath and a team up between Oswald and Edward, things are going to get very bad for her sooner than later.

The Ed plot this week saw himself being deceived into helping Oswald while trying not to kill Leslie but seeing the pair reunite certainly made for a good use of Oswald's screen time but this wasn't the only reunion as both Gordon and Bullock and Bruce and Alfred patched up their differences as well with some choice moments shared between all the characters in their scenes together.

- I noticed that Ivy's hair was a lot redder this week. Would you say auburn or scarlet though? I think the former perhaps. Ivy even wore a bit more green this week as well, including nail polish.
- Liked the shout out to both Essen and Barnes this week. I'm still surprised the latter hasn't resurfaced though there's still eight episodes left for him to do so.
- No Butch/Grundy, Tabitha, Barbara, Jerome or Ras this week.
- Chronology: Not long from where A Beautiful Darkness left off.

Reunion certain delivered in it's one to one scenes - Selina/Ivy, Gordon/Bulock. Leslie/Sofia, Bruce/Alfred and Oswald/Edward while providing a decent enough (and I hope temporary) exit for Ivy at the same time. I guess with this arc out of the way, it's time for a prison break and Sofia's downfall to look forward to.

Rating: 8 out of 10

My Review of The Assassination Of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story - Creator/Destroyer

Written by Tom Rob Smith & Maggie Cohn
Directed by Matt Bomer

Modesto: "You're not upset because I stole, you're upset because I stopped."

So for the penultimate episode of this series, it's case of Mommy knows best and Daddy is quite literally the worst for both Gianni and Andrew but mostly the latter's past was emphasised as Gianni's brief scenes as a child in Milan discovering his love for fashion and gaining his mother support generated the least amount of focus in favour of Andrew once again.

I know it's been the main focus of the season - the Andrew side of things but I was really hoping that with the title for this one, there would've been something of an even focus on both him and Gianni but I digress. On one hand, there's some terrific acting in this episode like there has been all season long but on the other hand, this was an episode that needed a trim.

I'm not sure we needed to see so much detail on Andrew and his family leaving Manila and coming to America as well as the focus on his father, Modesto and the role he played in Andrew's sense of entitlement. That said, a genuinely riveting performance from Jon Jon Briones as Modesto certainly did help the episode along though.

It was easy to see why Andrew went from fearing and idolising his manipulative father to loathing him when he realised that Modesto's stealing didn't leave to much in the way of actually saving money, considering how quickly Modesto had abandoned his family when he was caught out in the end.

It was also this realisation about his father that somewhat sent Andrew down on his own path of lying as well, given the whoppers he told the pharmacy manager at the end when applying for a job at Thriftys. Now that we've gotten Andrew's fairly elongated backstory out of the way, next week can actually focus on the aftermath of his most famous and final of kills and conclude the series.

- Good guest actors with both Edouard Holdener and Billy Cruz playing younger versions of both Cunanan and Versace this week.
- Again no Gianni, Donatella and Antonio in current day scenes but there's always the finale for that.
- Matt Bomer directed this episode, so it's nice to see he's still involved in the Ryan Murphy TV universe while this is the only episode co-written as well.
- Chronology: Both 1957 Milan for Gianni and 1980 and 1987 in Manila and the US for Andrew and his family alone.

Creator/Destroyer felt like a filler episode at times with too much focus on Andrew and not a desired split between both him and Gianni when it comes to origin stories. It's not a bad episode as such with some great guest performances but it certainly could've done with a shorter running time in order to convey the same message. Hopefully the finale will give the series a good conclusion.

Rating: 6 out of 10

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

My Review of Legends Of Tomorrow's 3x14: "Amazing Grace"

Written by Matthew Maala & Tyron B. Carter
Directed by David Geddes

Elvis (to the ghosts): "Come on in. All are welcome here."

Well, this was another fabulous episode. Having the King himself appear, bringing in the final totem and the death of a rat all made for one hell of a great episode. This is what I've consistently grown to love about this show. All these strange ingredients that shouldn't work but ultimately do but where do I start?

I guess the obvious place is to talk about the King himself - Elvis Presley. Guest star Luke Bilyk might not entirely look like the infamous rock and roller but I think he did a fantastic job in the role that Nate's fanboying while a tiny bit much actually worked a treat even if you had Amaya's gentle scepticism to counter the former's overt enthusiasm.

I did like that Amaya had her own connection with Elvis when he was talking about his own twin brother, Jesse (who we briefly saw as a ghost here) and his comments about objects connecting to the deceased clearly resonated with her. It was also perfect considering that the final totem was actually in Elvis's guitar as well.

Having Death be the final totem actually makes a lot of sense and this episode we saw it cause chaos by raising the dead before Elvis sang them back to existence. Also if the trailer for next week hadn't given things away, then I think we all could've guessed that Sara will end up being the one who'll have to wield that particular totem fairly soon to deal with Mallus.

As for the rat part of the episode - alas, poor Axel. I had forgotten about the little guy, so having him die here came as a bit of a shock. I love that Ray actually organised a funeral for Axel and that Mick and Sara attended it too with the former being genuinely mournful for losing another friend. Plots like this shouldn't work so well but on this show even a funeral for a rodent seems to provide some of the best moments for our main characters.

Keeping with great moments, I am loving Wally's addition to this show. This was basically his first episode as a team member and they already found a way for him to use his speedster powers and actually take the slow path in order to solve a problem (reasoning with Elvis's uncle). Anyone who was worried the guy was going to be shortchanged on this show really shouldn't be if this episode is anything to go by. Plus, his budding friendship with Zari is pretty fun to watch as well.

- I liked the music store owner talking to Elvis about Robert Johnson at the beginning of this one. Now that's another future episode possibility in the making.
- Zari feigning ignorance over Ray's chore chart was funny. Constantine also got a shout out here, which nicely sets up his return next week.
- No Ava, Gary, Rip, Damien, Nora or Kuasa this week. I was genuinely surprised that Damien and Nora alone didn't pop up to snatch the death totem.
- Chronology: 1950 Memphis for most of this episode.

Amazing Grace definitely pushed the lines of cheesiness even for this show and there were times when it really could've been too much but I think they did well getting the right heartfelt moments and pushing the main storyline along. I also think there's no doubt that Nate and Amaya will definitely be going back to Zambezi together at some point too.

Rating: 8 out of 10

Monday, March 12, 2018

My Review of How To Get Away With Murder's 4x14: "The Day Before He Died"

Written by Joe Fazzio
Directed by Scott Printz

Laurel: "Tell me who killed Wes?"

Um, we had the answer for that question last season but it seems that we're getting it again with Sandrine also (and not surprisingly considering the last few weeks) had some role in Wes's death when she called Jorge who then got Dominic to deal with Wes. Dramatically, the scenes played out well but it didn't leave quite the impact it was hoping for.

Probably because as I pointed out the whole thing was telegraphed from the last couple of weeks and also here during the flashbacks to Wes and Sandrine interacting with each other as the latter tried to pay Wes off so he'd dump Laurel, only for him to refuse and eh, the rest is kind of history at this point.

I did like the scenes with both Laurel and Sandrine when the latter was confronted by her daughter and those mischievous phone records but it was oddly the weakest point of an episode that fortunately had a few more things going in it's favour.

First of all, Bonnie managed to figure out that Denver stole the hard drive and has been playing the Keating 4 and Jorge against one another. Unfortunately the episode then ended with a car crash so it seems that perhaps the show has killed Bonnie off for good. Except knowing this show, it'll probably turn out to be someone else who was killed but either, it doesn't look too promising for Bonnie.

Not that Denver was the only problem for the Keating 4 this week. Simon was wake and the gang went from contemplating putting a pillow over his head to having Oliver marry him for a green card, which shows there's no in between for this lot at times. Thankfully Annalise had a slightly better (but still risky) plan with forcing Simon into agreeing into being a whistle blower. I have to admit, I actually felt sorry for Simon here.

As for the rest of the episode, I'm glad that we got some lovely scenes with Annalise and Frank and her and Isaac as well with the latter taking responsibility for his recent relapse. I'm also glad that Asher found out about Michaela and Marcus and that the show seems to be addressing her own issues with what she wants as well. Whether or not those two get back together, I'm not sure if it should happen even though I do like the pairing.

- Sandrine's comments on Laurel's need to fix men actually did tie in nicely to that argument she had with Wes before he died. Good one, show.
- I liked Michaela and Tegan's conversation in the bathroom. When this whole Denver/Jorge storyline is done, maybe she could be a future ally to Annalise.
- Wes's little shower moment was clearly a nod to a classic Dallas storyline, except Wes is still death.
- Chronology: Not long from the previous episode left off. Also eight months since Wes's death.

The Day Before He Died isn't the strongest penultimate episode we've had but it's definitely got enough going for it to be engaging though. I will be happy though to see the back of Laurel's family after next week's finale and let the ghost of Wes rest properly next season as well.

Rating: 7 out of 10

Saturday, March 10, 2018

My Review of Gotham's 4x13: "A Beautiful Darkness"

Written by Tze Chun
Directed by John Stephens

Ivy (to Gordon): "First I was a seed, then a sprout and now I've bloomed."

Last week gave us something of a taster of Ivy 3.0 in action and this week went full bloom with her being the main antagonist and let's just say, if you're a fan of the traditional version of the character, this episode might appeal to you a lot.

Peyton List could still do with emoting a little better but so far, she's doing a pretty decent job as Ivy opened the episode by paying poor Wayne Enterprises employee Roland a house call and murdering him in front of his family and a horrified Selina, who quickly turned on her and was forced to team up with Gordon in order to stop Ivy from causing more havoc this week.

Of course, Gordon wasn't really that effective against Ivy. Before he got to her, she had already the GCPD into her super fans, kidnapped Lucious in order to take Project M, paid Bruce a visit to poison him and oh, also came up with a way to amplify her already impressive powers. How the show plans to defeat next week should be very interesting to be honest.

I quite liked seeing Gordon and Selina working together against Ivy and I also liked the latter addressing her not very pleasant history surrounding her parents and Gordon during her face off with Jim as well. I also liked Lucious getting a bit more screen time, even if he was Ivy's love slave for most of his appearance this week. As for the Project M being Lazarus water, well, this along with a certain nightmare sequence will ensure that Ras will be back very soon as well.

Getting into the nightmare sequence - I guess we should thank Ivy for poisoning Bruce. Aside from the fact that it's clearly snapped him out of his bratty phase that was wearing thin, there's also the fact that when he wasn't seeing both Jim and Oswald in future looks along with Selina, Barbara, Bullock, Leslie and Alfred in other roles (as well as Ras slicing his face off), he also got a glimpse of his own future. I know the trailer already spoiled it but seeing those bats was still a surprise moment nonetheless.

Away from the Ivy and Bruce storylines this week, Oswald was having a rather rotten time in Arkham with Jerome going out of his way to make him his pet project and Edward being a bit too happy to gloat while also asking for help in his own way. I'm not surprised that Jerome is playing a long game of his own while having his own way in Arkham but I also think whether Oswald likes it or not, he's probably going to end up needing Jerome's help for his own escape plan too.

As for Sofia, she's enjoying the queen of the underworld role a bit too much and right now, she's got no threats to worry about. Oswald's locked away for the present, the Sirens are on her payroll and she has Gordon where she wants him over the Pyg situation. Not to mention the fact that Leslie is also being pulled into her orbit, which can't be good for either of them.

- Oswald in the clown costume and the mime act with Jerome. I'm not even going to question how things are let slide in Arkham.
- Why the heck was Bullock holding onto a rooster in Bruce's fantasy sequence? Actually come to think of it, why was Leslie dressed as Cleopatra too?
- No Tabitha or Butch/Grundy this week.
- Chronology: Six weeks since the events of Queen Takes Knight.

A Beautiful Darkness did a great job in setting up Bruce's future and while the Oswald/Jerome and Sofia subplots worked rather well, this was definitely Ivy's moment to shine and cause mayhem and she did it with aplomb. I am hoping that when her arc ends in the next episode, it won't be too long before she sprouts up again.

Rating: 8 out of 10

Thursday, March 08, 2018

My Review of The Assassination Of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story - Ascent

Written by Tom Rob Smith
Directed by Gwyneth Horder-Payton

Andrew: "If they could see me now."
Norman: "Who?"
Andrew: "Everyone."

Credit given where it's due, this episode felt slightly more like an even split between Andrew and Gianni with both of them getting nearly equal amount of screen time, instead of the focus being predominantly on Andrew as it has been for the majority of the season.

Delving into the Versace aspect of things first, we saw him in Milan running his business and also arguing with Donatella on what would actually sell, fashion wise with Antonio trying to be a neutral party with the conflicting siblings for the most part.

It was nice to see both Edgar Ramirez and Penelope Cruz properly play off each other this week and I think they did a great job in the scenes where they designed that rather risque dress, only to later fall out over it when Gianni's ear cancer storyline also came to a head in this episode as well, forcing Donatella to take over the company while her brother recovered in Miami. Giving the siblings the focus they needed was something of a nice change for this episode.

Of course seeing as this series has mainly been about Andrew more than his famous and final victim, the focus also went back to his disdain at working at Thrifty and his mother buying cheap ice cream, so he decided to do a little escorting on the side, only to be told by a madame that he wasn't what they were looking for.

Giving that Andrew's biggest issue is people saying no to him, it wasn't too much of a surprise that he decided to go independent on the escorting front and with this plotline we saw him meeting and seducing Norman Blachford and Lincoln Aston (Todd Waring), the latter whom also had grown weary of being used by Andrew before he was murdered by another man.

I have to admit I was actually shocked to see a grisly murder in this episode that didn't actually involve Andrew (even if he did tell Bond to run after killing Lincoln) but the latter's violent streak did come out when he attacked his mother though and next week, it seems we're getting more from that destructive relationship as well.

- Jeff made another appearance here as did David, given that we finally got to see his first meeting with Andrew. The latter then stole his story in order to charm Norman into moving into Lincoln's house after his death.
- The episode mostly got things right - Donatella's dress, Gianni's ear cancer, the extent of Andrew and Lincoln's relationship and the latter's murder.
- The escort scene however and the ex-wife bits were somewhat exaggerated regarding Andrew.
- Chronology: 1992 for most of this episode.

A bit stronger than last week's episode, I did like that Ascent was a bit more balanced between the screen time allotted to both Andrew and Gianni this week. I also appreciated more on Gianni/Donatella this week and that bit with David Madson was still a nice highlight but it is a good thing that we're heading into the final hurtle with the series now.

Rating: 7 out of 10