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Wednesday, March 22, 2017

My Review of Arrow 5.17- Kapiushon

The show takes a dark turn as Oliver is forced to confront the real reason that he became the Hood....

When I saw things earlier in the week talking about a "game changing" revelation, I wasn't expecting the revelation that we got: Oliver started killing people because he liked killing them and he started using the list as an excuse to keep killing.  So he created the persona of the Hood as a way of walling off those dark impulses from the Oliver Queen persona so that he could live with himself.  That tells me that Oliver is not some psychopath who gets off on killing, because someone who truly loves killing for the sake of killing wouldn't need to create a whole new persona that way.

Given everything that happened to Oliver on the island, I think he was confronted with situations that he had never seen before and was looking for a way to get back control and power when he had completely lost the control and power he had as the scion of a rich family in Starling City.  He also has only ever gone after people who did wrong, so there is that.  Ultimately, however, the start of his crusade was rooted not in a desire to do good, but rather a desire to channel these dark impulses he had, which does undermine a lot of the initial good he has done.

All that being said, Oliver has changed a lot over the years.  He recognized that giving free rein to the dark impulses of killing was not a good thing, so he turned from them and did start doing things in order to help people in the city.  Oliver's conscious decision to turn from the monster the Hood was to become the Arrow and then the Green Arrow shows that he does truly have good intentions in mind now.

My other question lies in wondering why the act of killing felt good to him.  Did he enjoy killing for the sake of killing?  As I say above, I suspect that the answer is no, otherwise he probably would have been a bit more indiscriminate in his choices of kills.  I suspect that he enjoyed killing people who had done wrong because he was able to help people who had been harmed and punish people who would not otherwise have been punished.  Does that make the killings right?  No, but it does make them a little less horrific.

Obviously, the rest of the season is going to be spent figuring out how Oliver can reconcile these dark impulses with his current set of morals and practices.  I am curious about how the rest of the team will react when Oliver (or Chase) reveals this information.  And I wonder how long Oliver's decision to quit being the Green Arrow will last.  I suspect not long at all, unless he wants to start confronting Chase as Oliver Queen openly, which would not be a good idea.

Until next week!

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

My Review of The Fosters 4.17- Diamond in the Rough

Mariana decides to help Jesus out, Callie tries to make things better with AJ, Stef handles her first case as a detective in Human Trafficking, and there is fallout from the LGBTQIA sex-ed class...

So Monte is now out of a job.  While I wish I could feel worse for her, she has been so all over the place that I am having a hard time finding a lot of sympathy.  That being said, I wouldn't wish what happened to her on anyone.  As I said last week, the LGBTQIA sex-ed class was totally needed and I think that permission slips shouldn't have ever been required since it wasn't a school activity.  Drew using this as a method to push Monte out the door so he could take over as principal speaks to a total lack of principles on his part.  If Monte had not required the permission slips, this all could have been avoided since the event was outside of school hours and not on school property.  I just worry what this means for Lena and for the school.  Drew does not seem like a very good or decent guy, so I am very worried now.

While I love that Mariana wants to make Jesus feel better, I'm not sure lying to him about the project was the best option.  At least, I assume she is lying because the last thing we heard was the Drew had turned the idea down.  I guess she could have taken the project on as her own, but without further proof, I don't think she did.  My issue with the lying is that Jesus will have a bad reaction when it comes out that she lied.  I personally have no problems with the occasional well-intentioned white lie, they can be problematic when the fact comes out that there was a lie.  While Jesus can get better (at least partially, not sure about fully), he may need to end up staying back a year.  As hard as being kept back a year will be for him, I think taking classes that are beyond what he can handle will be even more discouraging for him.

I cannot say I am fond of AJ right now.  While I get that Callie can be a lot to handle, AJ knew how she can be before he started dating her.  When she is convinced that she is right or that there is an injustice, Callie will stop at nothing to make sure things work out.  It does lead her to do stupid things occasionally, but it is not like AJ didn't know that already.  So by cheating on her with another girl and then basically blaming her because it's "too hard" to be with her, AJ is just being a jackass.  I'm not saying that he doesn't love her, but I can't say he does either.  All I can say is that he thinks he does, but his actions sure don't seem to reflect it.

Stef did a good thing, putting Diamond in GU, but I was a little surprised that people weren't being more careful around her.  I know she asked for help, but she was clearly reluctant to turn on her pimp and everyone in that group has been around (or have been!) girls who excel at the sneakiness, so you'd think they would see the signs.  I also know that GU has the whole, "We trust you until you give us a reason not to" thing going, so that might be part of it.  I love that Daphnae is working for GU now.  It was really, really cool to see her story come full circle that way.  I don't ever remember hearing if she got her daughter back, so I wonder if she did.  Because she has seriously pulled her life together now and she has shown that she really wants to be a mother, so I hope she got a shot at it.

Until next week!

My Review of The Flash 3.17- Duet

An aptly titled and very, very fun episode where our protagonists sing their way through their thoughts and recent actions....

This was an excellent and totally fun episode to watch.  Everyone was at the top of their game and they had great singers on these casts.  I had heard Jesse, Victor, John, Grant, Melissa, and Darren sing before, and I knew that Jeremy was good because he has a musical theater background, but I didn't realize how good Carlos was.  The episode was fun, cheesy (in the best possible way), and a total blast.  You could tell that everyone was having a grand old time, which made it that much better,

I think my favorite song was the "Superfriends" duet with Grant and Melissa.  The two of them play off of each other magnificently and the lyrics were totally spot on.  Melissa's rendition of "Moon River was gorgeous as was the original solo Grant had at the end.  Listening to Victor, Jesse, and John sing "More I Cannot Wish for You" together was tremendous as was the quartet of  Darren, Jeremy, Carlos, and John singing "Put a Little Love in Your Heart".

As terribly cheesy as it was to have the Music Meister basically be a twisted fairy godmother type character for Kara and Barry, it fit in perfectly with the episode.  Barry and Kara both needed some perspective about their love lives and that is what the Music Meister gave them.  Like I said, it was twisted, but also perfect.  Seeing how they needed the fathers to look at why their kids were doing what they were doing allowed both Barry and Kara to get some much needed insight about how they have been screwing things up.  Kara's anger towards Mon-El about his lies is totally understandable, but she never really thought about why he lied.  And Barry needed to see that while his actions may have been a bit misguided, he needs to do what he can to keep the love around in his life.

Another total highlight was when Barry was imitating Superman during his duet with Kara.  That was really funny and was something that Kara needed to hear.  She is often being compared to Superman, so having someone appreciate her for being her (and saying so outright) was really good for her to hear.

As far as overall storylines movement goes, there was not a lot that happened tonight.  It was mainly a chance for the gangs to stop and reflect on what has happened and where they need to go from here.  Barry and Iris are engaged again and this time it seems that it will stick.  Wally had the chance to work out a little of his fear about what happened to him in the Speed Force.  That is an area where HR really sowed his value to the team.  He may not be the scientific genius that either of the other Wells' were, but he is really good at figuring out how to mentor and help people be what they can be, and that is what Wally needs.  I also loved Cisco's reaction to seeing J'onn's Martian form.  And the triple team of Cisco, Kid Flash, and the Martian Manhunter on the Music Meister was also really cool to see.

My sole annoyance is that this was announced months ago as a musical crossover with the implication being that both episodes would be musicals.  So when there was no crossover or anything last night, I was a little annoyed.  I think that is a problem that they need to work on.  It seems that when crosssovers happen with Supergirl, the Supergirl episode is only ever peripherally involved in the crossover itself.  I guess it probably has to do with Supergirl being on a different earth, but if they could integrate the show better into crossovers, that would be awesome.  That being said, this was an awesome episode, so this complaint is not that major.

Until next week!

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

My Review of Arrow 5.16- Checkmate

Oliver finds out the identity of Prometheus which sends shockwaves through the team and Felicity continues to work with the hackers...

Oliver's day officially sucked.  First, he finds out that Talia is Ra's al Ghul's daughter and that she trained Adrian (aka Prometheus) because Oliver killed her dad.  So now he has another major enemy out to get him.  And both are determined to make him suffer, not to kill him.  While I think that Oliver could defeat Adrian on his own, trying to defeat both Adrian and Talia might prove to be awfully difficult.  If he had Nyssa with him, it would greatly increase his odds of winning.  It is possible that the rest of the group could take on Talia while Oliver fights Prometheus, but I don't know if they could take her.  Malcolm won't help out and Sara is off with the Legends, so Nyssa is the only person not working with the group right now who would be able to take on Talia or Prometheus.

I can't say that I was shocked that Adrian stabbed his wife or that Oliver had Diggle bring her to the confrontation.  When Oliver said that Adrian had a weakness, his wife was the only logical option.  And Adrian is determined enough to kill his wife to make sure that he can take Oliver down.  While it did throw him off, I am not sure that it was a good idea for Oliver to bring her along.  Yes, she was Adrian's one weakness, but there was a seriously high probability that she would be killed, so bringing her along was not good.

Felicity really needs to be careful where Helix is concerned.  I get that they have lots of information and can really help her out, but she is doing some seriously shady stuff for them.  Without having the whole picture about why they wanted her to do what she did to the drone, it is hard to say much else.  Just be careful and make sure that she protects herself.  I have a feeling that this group could turn on her really, really quickly if she doesn't do what they want.  Not good, not good at all.

The rest of the team is obviously in shock from the news about Prometheus.  The problem is that there is not really anything they can do to stop him, particularly since there is nothing publicly linking Adrian and Prometheus.  With the captain now in a coma after Adrian attacked him, there is not a whole lot anyone can do.  And now Adrian and Talia have Oliver, with Adrian saying that he is going to help Oliver get to know himself.  So very, very bad.

Watching Oliver's first go as the Hood in Russia was sort of interesting.  You can see the moves he used in the first season are all there.  He kills people without compunction and has a singular focus.  My big question is how Oliver gets from Russia back to Lian Yu.  Does he have a falling otu with Anatoly or does he go back willingly?

Until next week!

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

My Review of The Fosters 4.16- The Long Haul

Callie continues to dig herself in deeper, Stef's mom has a surprise for Stef, Jude is teased because of the LGBTQIA sex-ed class, Emma write a letter to Jesus, and there's a wedding....

Let's start with the sex-ed course.  While one part of me sympathizes with the need to have parents sign off on their kids learning about sex-ed, most of me thinks that it is just a horrible idea.  The whole idea of needing permission to learn about sex is rooted in the false ideas that sex is nothing that should not be talked about and that teaching someone about sex is tantamount to encouraging them to have sex.  Americans are far to puritanical about sex.  While I am not saying that we should all be having sex in the streets, sex is a natural and wonderful thing, not something to be ashamed of.  Far too often, the people who need to learn about sex the most are the people who don't learn about it at all.  Because of the fact that we have so intertwined sex and religion, we have made something which should be commonsense into a part of a larger cultural war.

I get that people have religious feelings about sex, but there are times where the religious views of the parents need to be overridden, and this is one of them.  Not teaching a kid about sex merely makes them more curious about it and causes them to be ashamed of it.  Trust me, I grew up that way.  I was made to feel that sex (and my attraction to men) was something to be ashamed of.  I never had sex-ed, so I had to learn everything on my own, which is not ideal at all.  And Lena is right, what do you do when there are kids who need to learn about sex, but can't because their parents make them feel afraid or uncomfortable?  In a situation where the child's mental, emotional, or physical health is in danger, any parental rights are null and void.  The life of the child must take precedence.  Unfortunately, given the society we live in, Lena is going to get in trouble for teaching kids without parental consent.  Whether or not what she did was technically legal, it was absolutely the right thing to do.

You do have to feel sorry for Jude who was on the receiving end of some almost bullying.  Given the direction he's been going, I wonder how much longer until he snaps.  He's a good kid, but even the best can only take so much before snapping.  And if kids continue to go after him, I am betting he'll snap soon, particularly given everything that is going on with Callie.

And speaking of Callie, she really needs to back off.  I totally get where she is coming from, but she is coming seriously close to stalking Troy now.  Between going to his place of work and then having Mariana Facebook-friend his girlfriend/alibi, this is not going well.  I can't blame AJ for being upset with her.  What she really needs to do is take any concerns she has to Stef and then completely back away, otherwise Troy can probably use these things against her in court.  And given their comparative records, I have little doubt that she would end up the loser in that situation.

I was glad that Emma wrote that letter to tell Jesus what happened to her.  Unfortunately, he can't read right now, so he had his grandma read it instead.  Was keeping the fact that Emma was pregnant and had an abortion from Jesus a good thing?  Given the fact that she didn't know he is unable to read now, the decision made sense since, presumably, he would read the letter, particularly after she urged him to do so.  Now that both Emma and Brandon know he can't read, someone absolutely has to tell him.  This is so going to suck for everyone involved.  And if Stef and Lena find out?  Who knows what will happen then.  I know they won't get too upset at Emma, but would they feel compelled to tell her parents?  Or would Lena decide that she doesn't have to because Emma was afraid to tell them on her own?  I guess that will depend on the fallout from the lack of parental permission forms for the sex-ed class.

I loved the remarriage of Stef and Lena.  Their vows were simple and beautiful.  That was one of the best TV weddings that I've ever seen.

Until next week!

My Review of The Flash 3.16- Into the Speed Force

Barry goes into the Speed Force to rescue Wally and meets a few unexpected people while Jessie stays behind to protect Earth...

Let's start with Jessie.  I can't say I was surprised at how stubborn she was about wanting to confront Savitar, but I was a a little surprised to hear them think that they were facing a literal deity.  I had assumed that they would have realized that he was not a literal deity, otherwise how could he have been trapped in the Speed Force and why would he have armor?  And don't forget that both Barry and Jay have fought Savitar and at some point.  So the idea that HR's inspiration to attack Savitar was somehow completely revelatory struck me as being really weird.

As for Barry, here's hoping he learned the right lessons from the Speed Force.  While I get the he does need to take responsibility for his own actions, I'm not sure not getting back together with Iris was the right decision.  If he just needs the time to reflect on what happened in the Speed Force, cool.  Maybe he wants to see if by setting Iris aside he can save her from Savitar.  At this point, who knows?

I did like that all three people who Barry saw in the Speed Force were people inspired to do something good because of him.  Eddie killed himself to prevent Eobard from killing Barry.  Ronnie sacrificed himself to close the vortex that linked Earths 1 and 2.  And Snart sacrificed himself because he wanted to imitate Barry and help other people.  Barry has also inspired the people closest to him to be the best people that they can be.  Does Barry always live up to his potential?  Nope.  But he does always try and that is the important part.  Barry makes stupid decisions (i.e. saving his mom) that end up having ramifications that are far beyond what he could hav imagined.  I truly believe that he does not quite grasp how much power he truly has, so he make bad choices and doesn't think his actions through.  When he does, he makes good choices.  When he acts rashly is when he tends to screw things up.

I think the question we really want answered is: Who is Savitar?  The one thing we know for sure is that Savitar is a speedster and is human.  I think it is probably safe to say that Savitar is probably one of the speedsters we have already met, meaning that Barry, Wally, Jessie, or Jay is probably Savitar.  It could be Hunter Zolomon, but I sort of doubt it since he was revealed to have been Zoom last season.  Yes, Savitar could be a completely different speedster who we will meet (again) at some future point, but I am suspecting that this is not the case.  There really is no way to try and say who it is because there haven't really been any clues yet.  All we know is that Savitar hates Barry's guts, was trapped in the Speed Force, and claims to be the first speedster.  Hopefully we'll find ouit relatively soon, because there aren't a lot of episodes left.

Next week is the musical episode.  See you then!

Friday, March 10, 2017

Some Final Thoughts about The Vampire Diaries

I reviewed this show from the first episode of season 3 until the fifth episode of this season.  For the first few seasons, TVD was must-watch TV for me.  It wasn't perfect, but it was fun, twisty, and constantly surprising.  I think the show definitely peaked in seasons 2 and 3 with the arrival of the Mikaelsons and everything that came along with them.  Seasons 4 and 5 were good and then season 6 return the show to top form with the arrival of the best villain since Klaus Mikaelson: Kai Parker.  After that, it was all downhill.  While Season 8 did get better int he last couple of episodes, it really wasn't enough to save the season.

One problem that I've always had with this show is that they never really focused enough on some of the characters.  The central characters were always the Salvatores, Elena, and Caroline.  Bonnie got uneven amount of attention while Matt was criminally underused, Jeremy became whatever was needed by the story, and Tyler was just there.  If any of these four ever had a storyline, it was never about them, but was rather about moving the story of the central 4 forward.  Maybe that isn't a horrible thing, but it always bugged me.  All four of these characters could (and were) gone for long stretches and nothing seemed to be adversely affected, which is just sad.

My other problem with the show was that they kept repeating the same stories where Damon would go off the rails and Stefan would sacrifice to save him leading Damon to do something drastic to bring Stefan back.  And yes, I do realize that other shows do something similar, but at least those shows always did something to keep it from feeling like a stale retread of the same story.  TVD never seemed to catch onto how to do that.   I also think the show never recovered from the loss of Elena.  While her presence drove much of what happened in the last two seasons, not having her there definitely hurt the show.

As for the finale, while I did enjoy most of it, there were some glaring problems.  Well, one really.  If the Salvatores were really trying to save Mystic Falls, why not just grab Vicki and lock her away somewhere while they dealt with Katherine?  Since neither Matt nor his father were likely to ring the bell, keeping Vicki locked away would have kept the town safe and would have negated the need for some of the sacrifices that were made.  I know that my way entails less drama, but it was super obvious what they should have done which made the episode that much less enjoyable.

All that being said, I am glad I watched this show.  The first few amazing years were probably some of my favorite years of TV.  Those were the first time I was consistently surprised by a show and what it would do.  Killing Vicki int he middle of season 1 and then killing Jenna at the end of season 2 really drove the point home that very few people were actually safe on this show.  And that made for some good and anxious tv episodes.  There were also some amazing couples who I just loved, especially Klaus/Caroline and Jeremy/Bonnie.  There were also some interesting pairings hinted at such as Elena and Elijah.

Overall, I did enjoy the show, I just really wish they had kept the quality up in the last couple of seasons.  While they weren't the worst episodes ever, they definitely were nowhere near as good as the first couple of seasons (and Season 6).  Will I miss the show?  Sure.  Will I mourn its end?  Sorry, but no.