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Monday, June 27, 2016

My Review of The Fosters 4.02- Safe

The Adams-Fosters are on lockdown after the events at the school, Stef and Lena try and decide what to do about Brandon and Callie, Brandon repeats the mistakes of the past, Callie and Mariana try and expose what Justina did, Jude tries to come to terms with Jack's death, and Mariana learns about Callie and Brandon...

I have to start with Brandon.  I swear, he and Stef had the same argument tonight that they've had several times before.  In fact, he even recycled some of the same arguments!  He makes a dumb decision, she gets upset at him, he leaves and accuses her of never listening to him, and there's a massive blowout.  Only this time, he moved out of the house to be with Cortney.  I honestly don't know what to do with him.  While he may technically be an adult, he is making dumb decisions left and right.  At least Callie understands how seriously screwed up things are because of what she and Brandon did at Idyllwild.  Brandon, on the other hand, seems to be his normal, blame-it-on-everyone-else self.  While I may have agreed with him in the past that Stef may have been overreacting, that is so not the case this time.  I get that they thought the adoption was blown, but sleeping together was still a really, really dumb decision.  And I get that he wants to help Cortney, but giving up everything in his future to help her out is equally dumb.  I am seriously concerned that she may be playing him for a fool or something.  I sincerely hope not, but I can't help but wonder.  Someone needs to give that boy a whack with the 2x4 of clues so he'll get some common sense beat into his head.

I was seriously impressed with how Mariana handled Nick.  Talking to him and reassuring him so that he wouldn't harm himself was the right move to make.  My only nitpick is that the writers seemed to suddenly make him mentally ill with the hearing voices and what not.  I can understand that seeing Mariana and Mat kissing might have sent him over the edge in one sense, I don't get why that could have made him start hearing voices.  I do know that some mental illnesses can manifest after or during puberty, but there was never a hint that he had something that seriously wrong with him.  The only issues we really saw with him was an emotionally abusive father.  I guess that, coupled with the kiss and his heartbreak, could have triggered some sort of psychotic break or something.  I'm just not familiar enough with psychology to be sure.  If anyone does know (and I haven't had the chance to actually look into this yet), comment below because I would be very interested to learn about it.

While I loved that Callie and Mariana decided to expose Justina, I think they may have broken the law to do so.  Calling the company and posing as her to get access to Fost and Found strikes me as bordering on the edge of legality.  I am totally sympathetic, particularly after she betrayed Callie and is using Fost and Found to destroy Callie with the foster kids there.  As I said last season, letting Justina pick admins to monitor the comments on the app was not a smart decision.  In fact, getting involved with her at all was a bad decision.  I would have thought that Mariana might have left herself some sort of backdoor into the app since she wrote the code and everything.  I assume that she either didn't or Justina found it and got rid of it.  I also have to wonder if Stef and Lena were right when they speculated that Justina simply guessed and managed to guess correctly.  If she is working off that comment that was deleted early on, the question still remains about who exactly posted the comment in the first place.

Jude is continuing to come to terms with Jack's death.  Getting his ashes and burying them underneath Frankie's tree was a nice touch.  As Stef said, Jude has had so much bad stuff happen to him in his life.  Granted, he's also had a lot of good, but that doesn't make the bad any less traumatic.  It seems like he'll be fine, but that won't stop me from worrying about him.

I loved the way the episode kept making us think that someone was about to be attacked by Nick.  The suspense kept on being maintained at a really, really nice level.  Never too much, but just enough that you didn't want to turn away because you might miss something.  That was truly well done.

Jesus continues to do a nice job being the supportive brother Mariana needs right now.  He has always been more than willing to protect the people he cares about and right now I think Mariana needs him to just be there for her and help her if she needs it.   Kudos.

Next episode is in two weeks, so I'll see you then!

Monday, June 20, 2016

My Review of The Fosters 4.01- Potential Energy

The school goes on lockdown, Callie's confession has ramifications, Jude continues to figure things out, Jesus reconnects with an old flame, and we get set up for what looks like an intense episode next week...

I want to start by saying that this was an excellent school shooting episode.  I've seen a few others (One Tree Hill and Glee come immediately to mind) and this was definitely up there as an excellent one.  From Brandon and Callie taking over the classroom for the sub to Mariana freaking out because she's locked out of the classrooms to Jesus and Lena getting ready to lose it when they realize that Mariana isn't in a classroom to Stef's charge into the school, everything was really well done.  I appreciated that they really focused on the impact on everyone at the school.

I was amazed at the sub.  I know that subs don't get as much training as full time teachers, but you'd think that they would be briefed on what to do.  It was a good thing that Brandon and Callie were there.  Callie has had so much stuff happen to her that she can keep a cool head under pressure and Brandon has two cops and an assistant principal for parents, so he knows what needs to get done.  Between his complete panicking and grabbing that gun, I would be surprised if he ever gets a job teaching again,  The other good thing is that Brandon and Callie got the opportunity to get everything ok between each other, I think.  It's possible that they were sublimating their feelings in order to focus on the crisis, but I really do suspect that Brandon is not as mad as we could have expected.  I was surprised that Callie didn't tell him what Justine had done,  I do wonder if Justina had anything to do with all the negative comments on Fost & Found.  We know she had something to do with the rumor being disseminated, but I can't help but wonder if she had people do something to cause the story to go viral or to go on the website and provoke outrage in order to discredit Callie.

I am really curious where they are taking Jude.  I was really annoyed at Darla for saying that Jude is only looking for attention.  While I don't think he's straight (he did date Connor after all), I wonder if he may be bisexual or pansexual.  It is also entirely possible that he is actually gay and he is just struggling with everything that has happened to him.  Let's face it, being that age is a very confusing time and Jude has gone through more than most people.  I think he needs to really take time and figure out what he is before going any further because I don't want him to lead Taylor on or anything.  I am just concerned after all the buildup that went into Jonnor, only to have Connor suddenly up and move to LA.

As for Mariana and Nick, that is a hugely messy situation.  He saw Mariana and Mat kissing and it obviously completely unbalanced him.  And his dad isn't helping matters any.  We've seen his dad be emotionally abusive to Nick and I wanted to smack him for the way he spoke to Mariana today about leading Nick on.  While I will say that Mariana may have led Nick on, it was obviously not intentional.  And with Nick in (or near) the Adams-Fosters house right now with the gun, things are just going to get messier.  And I feel so bad for Mariana that she got herself locked out of all the classrooms.  As much as I dislike Timothy, he did have a point.  Without knowing which student had the gun or if Mariana was alone, it wasn't safe to let her into the room.  Totally sucks, but it was the right call to make.

Equally tough to watch was when Lena realized that Mariana wasn't in a classroom and Mike had to stop her from leaving.  Again, he absolutely did the right thing.  In a situation like the one they were in, running out into the hallway is asking for trouble.  Don't get me wrong, I get why Lena wanted to rush out, but it wasn't a good idea.  And then there is the whole thing where they never got Nick's father's permission to use the warehouse.  In fairness to lena, she honestly thought she had talked with him, so she thought that permission was given.  I don't know how anyone could have expected her to know she wasn't talking with Nick's dad on the phone.  The only thing I can see is maybe them saying that she should have talked with him in person, but I'm not sure that what she did was negligent or unreasonable.

As much as I admire Stef for running into the building, it was a stupid decision.  She didn't know what was going on and SWAT was there clearing the building out room by room.  But that is our Stef, not always the most thoughtful person, but always ready to protect someone in need.  And I would hate to be Brandon when she finally gets a chance to sit down and talk with him and Callie.  That is not going to be pretty.  I must admit that when she went into the house (and when the family went in), I half expected to hear shots, similar to what happened when she was shot in Season 1.

Next week, Nick is in the Adams-Fosters house and things look intense....

Thursday, June 9, 2016

Some Thoughts About the Most Recent Season of The Flash, Arrow, and Legends of Tomorrow

Having had a few weeks to digest the finales of Arrow, The Flash, and Legends of Tomorrow, I wanted to take a bit to reflect on each show, how it went, and where I hope it goes next.

Arrow

When the season started, I was super excited because it started off with a bang.  After a disappointing season 3 and R'as Al Ghul, I was really excited to see Damien Dahrk and Arrow revitalize itself.  And at the beginning, the show did a great job.  Neal McDonough was obviously having a wonderful time playing a psychopath and he brought such joy to the role.  And Stephen was playing Oliver as much more relaxed than he had been in the past.  Even the crossover seemed to be less jarring than the ones from last year when it came to the different tones of the shows.

Where the show seemed to fall short this year can really be summed up in one word: Olicity.  Don't get me wrong, I love the two of them as a couple and was really happy when they got together.  However, I was very annoyed about the direction the show took Felicity after Oliver found out about his son.  The writers created a storyline to cause drama for the sake of drama rather than letting drama flow naturally from a storyline.  The result was that Felicity came out looking like an unlikeable shrew.  I've gone on about this at length, so I don't feel the need to rehash old territory.

The other problem is that there really was no personal connection between Oliver and Dahrk.  In season 1 you had Malcolm and in season 2 there was Deathstroke, both of whom had deep personal connections to Oliver.  R'as had the potential to be an awesome villain, but he was seriously miscast and just flat out boring.  Dahrk was a good threat to the city in general, but his plan seemed underwhelming and somehow lacked the urgency that was present int he first two seasons.  Also, the show seemed to run out of gas at the end.

What the show needs is a villain who can create the sense of personal malice toward Oliver that was present in the first two seasons.  Also, the flashbacks need to become more relevant to the overall story.  In the first couple of seasons, I found that they were deeply tied to his personal journey, but in seasons 3 and 4, the flashbacks were more detached and more focused on the overall story, which was less personal and less engaging.  Basically, the show needs to refocus on Oliver and his journey, because that is what made the first two seasons so awesome.

The Flash

The Flash had the opposite problem that Arrow had.  The season started off very poorly, mainly because it seemed that a lot of the first part of the season was spent setting up Legends of Tomorrow.  Once Legends started, the show got infinitely better.  While the whole storyline with Jay Garrick being Zoom could have been a complete retread of last season's Wells being Thawne, it felt really fresh because Zoom was much more of a menace than Thawne was.  The show also did a good job of introducing new characters in a way that kept them involved in the story.

And the show seriously ramped up the action by the end of the season, especially in the last couple of minutes when Barry ran back in time to save his mom, something he refused to do last year.  What I really loved about that is that is gives the show a chance to redo portions of the first season from a different perspective.  Will Barry and Iris still be such a major part of each other's lives if Barry isn't living with the West's?  Will Barry be the Flash or will that completely change because of what he's done?  There are so many unanswered questions, and I am really excited to see where they go.

My hope for the show is that they extend the time travel storyline until the 4 show crossover in November or December.  I am just wondering who is going to be the villain of the season is going to be.  Honestly, there's not a whole lot for me to say about this show.  It has been doing a good job so far, so I just hope the writers keep going in the same direction.

Legends of Tomorrow

This show had a very uneven first season.  Some episodes were awesome and some stunk to high heaven.  Most were pretty good, but nothing to write home about.  I am definitely annoyed that they got rid of Snart, because he was consistently one of the best characters on the show.  My annoyance is tempered by the fact that he will be available on any of the shows in the Berlanti-verse, so that is good.  I am also glad that the show got rid of Kendra, who was a very weak character.  She was never really developed, so having her go away is a good thing.

The show was consistently good in the latter part of the season when the show revealed the Time Lords to be the true villains of the season.  That was a fun and unexpected twist which really helped the show.  What they need to do int he second season is focus on making Rip Hunter into a good character (he was also one of my least favorite parts of the first season), while making sure to keep the remaining members of the team up to the good standards they have set so far.  This show also needs a good, compelling villain who has a personal connection to the group, which will really help keep the story really good.

Supergirl was just good overall and it is switching networks, so I will hold off on it until I see how the CW handles the show in the fall.

As for the crossover, I am really excited about how it will go and how it will be handled.  This has the potential to be totally awesome.  What has me worried is that they may make the crossover overly byzantine which will make it not that good.

Until the fall!