Arrow S:03 E:08

Episode: The Brave and the Bold
Original Airdate: 12-3-14

As essentially the other half of the Flash/Arrow crossover episode, I had to watch it. Especially because they teased Captain Boomerang via the first half of the episode. One of the first things I noticed about Arrow is that I had no idea that they introduced a sidekick for him already and throughout the episode I don’t think I ever caught his name, though I do believe “Speedy” was referenced. I’m not entirely sure if that’s what they actually call him, or if that’s what his sidekick was named in the comics back in the day. I also thought it was interesting that the title of the episode was also used for a Batman cartoon series several years back. It also was great to see the Flash really act like the Flash that I’ve known from those kind of cartoons. The cocky, flippant character that is absolutely a blast to watch. He felt more like the Flash here in Arrow than he has so far in any episode of his own show. There wasn’t any bothering with the serious love story or the serious backstory of his parents, or anything else. All the serious stuff was kept with Arrow while the Flash just got to spend the entire episode being the Flash and I absolutely loved it. Even though I didn’t really have any idea what was going on with several of the other characters like Diggle and his love interest, or anything to do with Amanda Waller. I am slightly familiar with the Suicide Squad and I knew that it had been referenced in Arrow but I didn’t quite know to what extent. Coming into it blind, there was quite a bit to take in, but it was still a nice episode and companion piece to the Flash’s half of the crossover episode, especially the end tease with the full blown practice fight between Arrow and Flash.

The Flash S:01 E:08

Episode: The Flash vs. Arrow
Original Airdate: 12-2-14

It’s been a while since I’ve seen a good crossover episode. Probably not since the time when Buffy and Angel crossed paths with each other on their respective shows, even though I didn’t see them until syndication. But this episode has been hyped since almost the start of the season when they showed that the two characters existed on the same universe and just a mere train ride or run in order to meet up with each other. The Flash has already seen Felicity come over to the show for an episode, but this time around the whole gang comes along and secret identities be damned! The high point for me was all the hilarious reactions from Diggle who I wasn’t familiar with at all considering I haven’t really been watching Arrow at all. Mainly the episode felt like an excuse to showcase how differently each of the heroes work, where Barry has the power but goes in head first and flies by the seat of his pants. While Arrow has a plan of attack and relies on his preparation and experience. There’s nothing funnier than seeing Flash get shot with an arrow in the back with the casual reply “I heard you heal fast”. But of course, there’s also the villain of the week involving someone who essentially has the power of Red Kryptonite from Smallville, only with a bit more rage than just the losing of inhibitions. And of course, Barry gets “whammied” as an excuse to have the two heroes fight each other outside of being just a practice exercise. It’s even more noticeable when it finally comes time to go work together to catch the villain and it all happens during the commercial break. Overall, it was a pretty fun episode and also played an important part in the overall storyline involving Barry and Iris. Although I believe some iterations of the Flash have him eventually marrying Iris (although without the whole growing up together as step-siblings), here he gets on her bad side as he goes after her current boyfriend while under the influence of Red Kryptonite, or the rage glare, whatever you want to call it. Of course, she still hasn’t made the connection between the Flash and Barry, so those two are likely still on good terms. And of course, there’s also the setup that there is a Flash task force now within the police force dedicated to arresting him. Good times. Oh, and I have to mention that I loved the fact that Dr. Wells name-dropped Batman within the episode like it was nothing.

Constantine S:01 E:06

Episode: Rage of Caliban
Original Airdate: 11-28-14

There’s two things that this episode does well compared to many of the earlier episodes. It finally has a stronger glimpse of horror rather than just a creepy vibe, and even though I’m fond of her character, it’s nice to have an episode that’s just Constantine and a bit of Chas without having to deal with Zed this time around. There’s yet another malevolent spirit, this time it’s inhabiting the body of a child and causes them to kill their own parents via some bloody and gruesome telekinesis. The spirit then moves onto a new host, a young boy who is usually scared of the “monsters” in his closet and under his bed. But now, he becomes very Damien-like with the creepy stares and need to cause harm to those around him. As far as Constantine’s role in all this, there is a hint of his guilt for the child that he had sent to hell, but overall it’s just a basic detective story with a bit of magic and a bit of humor. There are a few more decent scary scenes than usual, but everything else seems to be a bit more by the book. There is yet another moment where Chas gets incredibly hurt, which makes me think at this point in the show there should be someone who shouts “Oh my god! They killed Chas! You bastards!” every time he gets mortally wounded. There’s also more talk about the rising darkness, but it’s also starting to feel more like an ever-present macguffin rather than any sort of tangible threat. It was still a decent episode overall, but there just wasn’t any meat on its bones.

The Flash S:01 E:07

Episode: Power Outage
Original Airdate: 11-25-14

The Flash comes back after a fairly weak episode in a return to form. There’s a lot more speculation about who Dr. Wells really is and what his ultimate goal will be as he has a moment to show his true colors to Barry Allen. And yet instead of turning him away, it actually accomplishes Wells’ goal to convince Barry to push himself and his speed further so he will eventually be fast enough to break into the Speed Force and gain the ability to travel through time, or something along those lines. The villain of the week is Blackout, and I read quite a bit this week about how some people think that this show handled the being with electrical power much better than the Amazing Spider-Man 2 did with Electro. I’m not quite sure if I would go that far with it, though I did appreciate how well it looked with the lower budget effects. There is something that can be said for doing something as simple as having the lights turn on or off when he is near, or having the car be unable to start. I will say that while I did like the subtlety of the effects, the personality of Blackout as a villain left quite a bit to be desired. He was essentially personality-less, he was just a slowly walking force of nature with a singular purpose to destroy Dr. Wells due to the fact that Blackout blames him for the particle accelerator accident and the deaths of his friends. What did make this episode great were the other moments, like when Wells breaks out the metal bully from last weeks episode in order to create a diversion, knowing that he wouldn’t be able to do anything to stop Blackout himself. There’s also a great B-story with the Clock King who takes the police station hostage, including Joe, Iris, and Eddie. There’s a lot of great tension on that side of the story and I appreciate the fact that it didn’t completely spell out what happened, aside from the fact that Iris was able to get the upper hand with the Clock King and neither one of them had to die. There’s also, like I mentioned, a bit more intrigue into the ultimate plan of Dr. Wells and his connection to the Reverse Flash as Blackout was able to siphon Flash’s power, though it seemed like he wasn’t able to use it. I also loved the great moment of comic relief with the broken mug, as well as Iris’s callback to how much Barry liked it.

Gotham S:01 E:10

Episode: Lovecraft
Original Airdate: 11-24-14

I’ve gone on quite a bit about how I go back and forth on episodes of Gotham, often even within a single episode. But more than any other show this season, Gotham is the one that keeps me coming back week after week and is the one show that I tend to watch same day rather than waiting a day or two to go back to it. And it felt like this episode really paid off and was the show firing on all cylinders. Nearly every character that I have been iffy on came back in a strong way here, and the characters that I have always enjoyed really got a chance to show their stuff. Alfred was a real powerhouse, and I really enjoyed the chemistry he had with Donal Logue’s Bullock. Baby Bruce has been a bit of a weak spot in my eyes, but I thought that this episode finally gave him something interesting to do in a way that didn’t feel overly forced. There’s also a great chemistry between little Bruce and little Cat that hits the right notes of a childhood romance combined with the elements of who they will become in future Gotham City. In a show not known for its subtlety, it felt like it finally started to get the right balance of foreshadowing without hitting people over the head, like with Ivy’s brief moment in the show. And to wrap up the episode, Richard Kind gave a great performance as the Mayor. There were a few moments within the episode that I had issues with, like Harvey Dent still rubs me the wrong way, and I was not fond of the female assassin who only cared about her target, but made some odd decisions. As for the ending, I’m curious about shifting the focus more onto the newly reopened Arkham Asylum, but if they can give me more episodes like this one, I’ll be happy.

Constantine S:01 E:05

Episode: Danse Vaudou
Original Airdate: 11-21-14

Here we get to find out a few things about our characters that don’t go by the name John Constantine, and also get a life lesson in letting go of the guilt we may still harbor for the loved ones who have left us too soon. There’s also a much more subtle way of introducing a future DC character than the way that Gotham often does. Here we get an early glimpse into detective Jim Corrigan who will eventually become the spirit of vengeance known as the Spectre. Something that the show doesn’t tip off until the very end, unless you’re a Spectre fan already and simply recognize him by his name alone. He is also the mirror into the past of Zed, someone he recognizes as a previous missing persons case. Apparently she left home when she was young and quickly became a bit of a petty criminal, though he doesn’t actually mention what her real name is, only that he knows it. There’s also a nice bit of forced teamwork between Constantine and Poppa Midnight who tried to kill him just a couple episodes back and still remembers the fact that Constantine cost him a valuable artifact. It’s a great strained relationship where the two of them have a common goal, but by no means do they like each other or the fact that they have to work with each other in the first place. The actual ghost story felt a little bit on the heavy handed side as a story with morals and a deeper message rather than just a bit of a horror story. It also ends by sowing the seeds of distrust in both Constantine and the viewer when Poppa Midnight shares the revelation that the Rising Darkness is coming whether Constantine likes it or not. And besides that, someone close to him will betray him which obviously points the finger directly at Zed, but she is not the only possibility from the audience’s perspective. Overall, it was a nice bit of character and world building even though the ghost story was on the weak side of things. Until next time, this has been Bubbawheat for Flights, Tights, and Movie Nights.

Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. S:02 E:08

Episode: The Things We Bury
Original Airdate: 11-18-14

This was a great episode, especially for anyone who thought that they might still be angling towards some sort of redemption for Ward’s character. No, he is fully within the realm of a villain, and a very interesting villain at that. He’s good at what he does, he has intimate knowledge of S.H.I.E.L.D. and its operations, and there’s honestly no telling what his real motivation or goal is. There’s been some speculation that he might end up becoming Taskmaster who was featured in the recent direct to video Marvel animation Iron Man and Captain America: Heroes United, speculation that Brett Dalton himself appreciated but did not confirm or deny. At the end of season one I was a bit worried at what he would become here in season two, but I must say that I do like the direction they are going, especially after his full turn here. There’s still an element where he is working both sides, but I’m pretty sure that whatever his goal is, it’s entirely for his own purposes and not to specifically align himself with either Hydra or S.H.I.E.L.D. On the other side of things, Skye’s father gets a bit more screentime and allows himself to become quite the person of interest as well. There’s also plenty of flashbacks that shed light into Whitehall’s background and how he has remained youthful for all these years. We also get a brief cameo from another Whedon alum who I recognized as Sierra from Dollhouse who plays what appears to be Skye’s mother in a great reveal at the end of the episode. It’s such a simple moment, but it informs so much more about what angle her father is playing and what is actually so special about her. It’s really a standout episode in an already stellar season, I can’t wait to see where everything goes from here.

The Flash S:01 E:06

Episode: The Flash is Born
Original Airdate: 11-18-14

I hate to say it, because out of all of the new shows, the Flash has been my favorite. But this week’s episode has been one of the most cliched and cheesy episodes of the show so far. It felt way too much like one of the poor episodes of Smallville’s first season where it focuses too much around the freak of the week who has a connection to Barry and Iris. He was the high school bully and he has grown up to be a metahuman bully with a crush on Barry’s girl who isn’t really Barry’s girl. I mean, just replace Iris with Lana and Barry with Clark and I doubt it would be too hard to find an episode that mirrors this pretty closely. But I will say that there are still a few standout moments here aside from the villain of the week plot that I could care less about. I loved the b-plot where Joe was subtly questioning Dr. Wells about Nora Allen’s death and the Reverse Flash, as I know almost anyone who knows anything about the Flash already suspects that he is the one responsible. I may have said it before, and I’ll probably say it again, but I love Joe as a character and an actor. It raises more questions about Dr. Wells’ character as we as an audience already knows that he has information from the future, though Joe has been put off of the scent for the moment, and the end was such a great moment where he gets to see the Reverse Flash for himself who takes all of his notes and threatens Iris’s picture with a knife through her picture’s heart just like what happened to Nora. I also can’t deny that the sonic boom punch was awesome, especially when punctuated by Cisco’s enthusiasm. Too bad the rest of the episode couldn’t live up to that excitement.

Gotham S:01 E:09

Episode: Harvey Dent
Original Airdate: 11-17-14

Gotham already feels like the Two Face of Batman TV shows, it has the good side and the bad side and it’s a flip of the coin as to which one it’s going to be from one moment to the next. And just when you thought they weren’t going to shoehorn in any more Batman foreshadowing. Oh wait, who am I kidding, they can’t go two episodes without another moment of Batman foreshadowing. This time around Two Face gets his time in the sun, or at least half of his face in the sun and the other half in shadow. It’s at least ten to fifteen years B.B. (Before Batman) and Harvey Dent is already making a name for himself on his way to being Gotham’s White Knight. He’s trusted by the MCU and so by extension Gordon gives him his trust, but there’s already the seeds of doubt where he already has his two sided coin, and we get to see him flip out on the heretofore unknown mob guy to really hit home the fact that he has a darker side and will definitely become Two Face at a later point in time. That moment was like most of these moments in Gotham, totally overblown and hamfisted. The parts of the episode that I did like were surprisingly the scenes with baby Bruce and Cat. I did actually like this more playful and subtle foreshadowing of the Bat and the Cat romance. It allowed Bruce to actually be a kid for a moment and I liked seeing that. It also gave him those nice little moments of realization about how his training in such a sterile environment won’t really help him out if he ever gets into the nitty gritty of Gotham’s underworld proper. There was also some more development on the Penguin plot, but I didn’t really feel one way or the other about it, it was more of Penguin being Gotham’s Penguin which I’m still not fully on board with, but I am starting to appreciate how he is making the Penguin his own thing that is different from anything else out there right now, but also weird, offputting, creepy, and still menacing in his own way. And the final scene where we find out that Barbara has gone back to Montoya was just a complete eye roll moment for me. It didn’t feel like it was representing a truly bisexual character, it felt like it was tossing out a lesbian scene for the shock and ratings factor. Yet another mixed bag from Gotham.

Constantine S:01 E:04

Episode: A Feast of Friends
Original Airdate: 11-14-14

This is another episode that treads on some pretty dark elements though it still never feels like horror. The show revisits one of the important aspects of the Pilot episode that has only vaguely been brought up since: when the failed exorcism of a young girl named Astra caused her to be drug into hell. This time one of his friends from back then comes back around. He was, and still is a drug addict that has yet to hit rock bottom, but still wants a chance at redemption. A chance that Constantine isn’t quite ready to give him. It’s also through his friend’s actions that released a powerful hunger demon out into the wild. The concept of the hunger demon is somewhat interesting where it takes the form of a swarm of beetles which enters a person and causes them to gorge on any food that they can find until they die and it moves onto the next host. There’s an interesting aspect where the real world views it as being an exotic and deadly disease and tries to quarantine the areas where the demon attacks have taken place. But the greatest aspect of the episode really shows what steps Constantine is willing to take in order to do what is necessary to hold back the spawns of hell from causing disaster in the world. Ultimately, the demon can only be taken care of by essentially giving it a human sacrifice, trapping it in a human host where its only recourse is to devour the human and eventually devour itself. It ends up being the ultimate form of atonement by his friend, but it’s also a moment of darkness for Constantine as he essentially manipulates his friend into the situation, though it is his friend who ultimately makes the final decision to sacrifice himself. It’s a great bit of depth and darkness that we don’t often get to see in the types of television shows that I’m used to seeing while still keeping Constantine a likable character. Reaslly one of the better episodes so far, if only because of the ending. Until next time, this has been Bubbawheat for Flights, Tights, and Movie Nights.