Monday, October 31, 2016

It's The Angel Episode "The Ring" For Supergirl: "Survivors!"


The Good: Performances, Moments of theme
The Bad: Derivative plot, Characters are almost all undermined
The Basics: "Survivors" might surprise or please fans of Supergirl, but genre-savvy viewers will be underwhelmed.


Being genre literate is a real catch-22 for reviewers. After all, I came to Supergirl with comparatively little knowledge about the textual Supergirl, but I review the CW television incarnation of her. What I know about Supergirl from the comic books is that she died in Crisis On Infinite Earths, was replaced for a long time by a shape-shifter, and I think I recall someone at a convention bitching once about how Peter David was writing Supergirl and maybe making her lesbian or bisexual(?), and then I've read some of The New 52 Supergirl graphic novels and I've read the Ame-Comi Girls, which included their rendition of Supergirl. That's about it for specific Supergirl knowledge from the text for me . . . but, I am very fluent in many other genre works, both literary and on television. So, when Supergirl starts to feel painfully derivative in very specific ways, it is hard for that not to color my perception of the work. "Survivors" is instantly reminiscent of an episode of Angel (reviewed here!) and as it follows on the heels of an episode that introduced an underground alien nightclub, it is hard for those who are genre literate not to feel like Supergirl is quickly going to become the place that every script concept for Angel is going to finally get pitched and might see the light of day. For sure, aliens have been swapped out for demons, but with "Survivors" revolving around an alien fight club right after Wolfram & Hart, er, Cadmus, has appeared in National City, it is hard not to see a lot of parallels rather suddenly between Supergirl and Angel.

"Survivors" follows on "Welcome To Earth" (reviewed here!) and given M'gann M'orzz's presence in "Survivors," it is impossible to discuss the new episode without some references that would otherwise spoil the episode that preceded it. "Welcome To Earth" introduced an alien night club, Lorne's . . . er, not Lorne's, but close-enough to it to raise a flag with genre fans and J'onn J'onzz learned that he was not the last green Martian to survive the holocaust from the white Martians. "Welcome To Earth" also had Mon-El becoming mobile and detailing a conflict between Kryptonians and Daxamites (like Mon-El). Mon-El continues his character's journey in "Survivors."

Opening with Daxam getting blasted out of existence in a flashback on the day that Krypton was destroyed, Mon-El is trapped in a Kypronian pod by the Prince Of Daxam as the planet is getting destroyed. Maggie calls Alex about a dead alien she found and Supergirl soon arrives and realizes that the body is from a known peaceful species who appears to have died after repeated fighting. Kara tries to pitch the alien on alien violence story to Snapper Carr, who tells her to come back when she has the full story. J'onn J'onnz visits the alien bar and interrogates M'gann about how she made it off Mars when the White Martians committed their genocide. J'onn wants to share a telepathic bond with M'gann, but she is resistant.

When Winn gets a lead on an alien who might have been the killer of the peaceful alien, Alex heads out with Maggie to apprehend him. Their attempt is broken up by people who abduct the alien and leave the two stunned. Back at the DEO, J'onn admits that he has found another Martian and he overstepped with M'gann. Maggie gets a bead on an alien event and Alex and Sawyer infiltrate an alien fight club run by Veronica Sinclair. In attempting to break the fight club up, Supergirl gets pounded on by an alien gladiator and the Danvers sisters see M'gann fighting willingly. J'onnz confronts M'gann and he learns about Roulette (Sinclair), who Supergirl goes to attempt to shut down.

"Survivors" has a serious continuity problem with "Welcome To Earth." In "Welcome To Earth," Kara tells Mon-El about the destruction of Daxam . . . which she would have had no knowledge of, given that she was off Krypton before it was destroyed and would not have known that Daxam had been destroyed by the debris of Krypton. In "Survivors," Mon-El is shown leaving Daxam . . .and he knew how his planet was getting destroyed by Krypton's debris. In other words, in "Welcome To Earth," Kara tells Mon-El the story that Mon-El actually lived through and she would have no real way of knowing.

Mon-El is essentially a fratboy Superman and he just wants to get out of the DEO in "Survivors." He and Winn Schott begin to bond, with Mon-El attempting to exploit the human. In "Survivors," Mon-El lives down to Kara's mother's prejudices about Daxamites; he is basically a devious party animal who just wants to drink and go out clubbing. Mon-El gets to the end of the episode with a very brief glimmer of something deeper and while Chris Wood performs the part adequately, the role is not very impressive in "Survivors."

What "Survivors" lacks that "The Ring" (from Angel) had was a sense of consequences. In "The Ring," the demons were compelled to fight because they were captives and they had bracelets on them that would kill them if they (literally) stepped out of bounds. In "Survivors," Roulette is a greedy, power-hungry promoter, but she does not exert a realistic amount of control over her alien fighters. When J'onnz is captured by Sinclair, she merely declares that the fight is now one to the death. There is no realistic transition or control mechanism utilized by Sinclair.

At the other end of the writing, both Kara and Hank Henshaw are written-down in "Survivors." In "Survivors," Kara Danvers delivers a number of weakly-written lines that do not allow Melissa Benoist to present them in anything but a whiny way. Kara does not sound indecisive or frustrated in "Survivors;" there are long stretches where she sounds like a young teen girl. J'onn J'onnz is written with less than realistic emotions; he does a 180 on his character from professional and smart to pretty much an emotional basketcase and David Harewood is not able to land the transition (arguably because it does not exist - the character is virtually rewritten for "Survivors").

The surprise winner for "Survivors" is not Dichen Lachman - who, admittedly, is incredibly fun to watch as Roulette as she has the physical presence and the steely-eyed gaze for the character - but rather Katie McGrath. Amid Ian Gomez's half-baked J. Jonah Jameson impersonation and the budding sexual tension suddenly being written for Alex Danvers with Maggie Sawyer, Katie McGrath delivers a single scene-stealing two minutes in "Survivors." Lena Luthor comes through for Kara in a way that could be hammy and predictable, especially with the way James Marshall directs the Villainous Lingering Gaze at the end of the scene. But McGrath takes the minuscule part in "Survivors" (which is, ostensibly, only in the episode as a bridge to get Kara from an abandoned fight sight to an active one) and uses it as a chance to subtly illustrate Luthor's intelligence and long-range planning for her machinations. McGrath takes a simple exchange and infuses it with subtext by the way she delivers her lines and differentiates Luthor from the vapid National City socialites.

"Survivors" takes a long way to get to anything thematically deep. Very late in the episode, Supergirl gives a Minimally Inspiring Speech about the importance of aliens not fighting for human amusement or playing into the stereotypes of aliens being dangerous. But the role of Supergirl's speech is tainted by her not only fighting in the ring, but taking out a champion using both her powers and external information. Even without the comparison to the deeper thematic elements of "The Ring" and the opportunity the Angel episode used to allow its protagonist to promote a philosophy of passive resistance, "Survivors" falls short.

The result is a solid dud for Supergirl as National City is now flooded with aliens and the previously well-established characters almost all are undermined with uncharacteristic stupidity and unprofessional conduct.

For other works with Dichen Lachman, please visit my reviews of:
Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D. - Season 2
Lust For Love
Aquamarine

2.5/10

For other television season and episode reviews, please visit my Television Review Index Page for an organized listing!

© 2016 W.L. Swarts. May not be reprinted without permission.
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October 2016 End Of The Month Report!

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October was a huge month for production on the blog and we reviewed a lot of new, independent movies, Netflix movies, the remainder of Luke Cage episodes and the new episodes of Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D., The Flash and now, Supergirl! Our Artist Of The Month for music reviews was (briefly) Linkin Park and we also got in a lot of graphic novel reviews this month!

We have been working to adapt our prior reviews so they have functional links and our new reviews are being released with good new links, so products being reviewed generally have the right products associated with them. We appreciate our readers sticking with us through Amazon reconfiguring!

This month, we picked up a single new follower on Twitter, but no new subscribers! We are always trying to get people to become regular readers and subscribe, so if you enjoy what you're reading, please subscribe by clicking on the right side of the blog to get updates with each posting. As well, if you read a review that really affects you, be sure to "share" it! PLEASE share a link to the blog, not the content of the article; this keeps people coming to the site and, hopefully, liking what they find once they are here! We're slowly growing our readership, so sharing and subscribing to the blog is an important way you can help! If you’re subscribing, please tell your friends about the blog!

In October, we updated the index pages every few days, keeping them quite useful to our readers. The primary Index Page, is usually updated daily and lets you know what the featured review is and has an up-to-the-day tally of how many reviews have been reviewed in each category! Check it out and feel free to use that as it is a much more useful and organized index to the reviews I've written!

If you enjoy the reviews, please consider clicking on the links in the reviews (at least the ones that render properly!) and purchasing items. We really appreciate all the purchases made through the blog as that keeps us going. As Black Friday and Cyber Monday shopping hits next month, if you're going shopping online, please come through the blog to to it. Thank you so much!

At the end of October 2016, I have reviewed the following:
563 - Book Reviews
with specialized index pages for:
Fiction
Star Trek Books
Nonfiction
Graphic Novels
Magazines
940 - Music (Album and Singles) Reviews
with specialized index pages for:
Music Reviews By Rating (Best To Worst)
Music Reviews In Alphabetical Order
3065 - Movie and Television Reviews
with specialized index pages for:
Movies By Rating (Best Movie to Worst)
Movies In Alphabetical Order
Best Picture Oscar Winner Film Reviews
Television Reviews
The Star Trek Review Index Page (All Star Trek Reviews In Order)!
The Star Trek Review Index Page (All Star Trek Reviews From The Best Of The Franchise To The Worst!)!
The Doctor Who Review Index Page (All Doctor Who Reviews In Order)!
The Doctor Who Review Index Page (All Doctor Who Reviews From The Best Of The Franchise To The Worst!)!
230 - Trading and Gaming Card Reviews
Gaming Cards Reviews
Star Trek Gaming Cards Reviews
Star Wars Gaming Cards Reviews
The Lord Of The Rings Trading Card Game Reviews
Other Gaming Cards Reviews
Trading Cards Reviews
875 - Toy and Christmas Ornament Reviews
with specialized pages for:
Ornament Reviews
Star Trek Toys
Star Wars Toys
Lord Of The Rings Toys
Buffy The Vampire Slayer/Angel Toys
Comic Book, Movie, Television Toys
Plush and Other Toys
952 - Food, Drink, And Restaurant Reviews
with specialized index pages for:
Drinks
Candy
Cereal
Cheese and Meats
Ice Cream
Other Food
254 - Pet Product Reviews
Cat Product Reviews
Dog Product Reviews
Rabbit Product Reviews
114 - Travel Reviews
Destinations Reviews
Hotels Reviews
199 - Health And Beauty Product Reviews
202 - Home, Garden, Appliance and Tool Reviews
106 - Electronics, Computers, Computer Games and Software Reviews
58 - Other Product Reviews

The Featured Review For The Month of October is my review of: 2016 Wonder Woman Batman V. Superman Dawn Of Justice Hallmark ornament and my Featured Article: The Burden Of Being Rogue One: A Star Wars Story!
Check them out!


The month of October was packed with new, highly-read reviews and it is no surprise that almost all of the biggest reviews were new movies and television reviews, with a weird documentary film in the mix! For October, the Top Ten Reviews of the month were:
10. "Out Of Time" - Legends Of Tomorrow
9. "Let Me Stand Next To Your Fire" - Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D.
8. "Magenta"- The Flash
7. "You Know My Steez" - Luke Cage
6. "Paradox"- The Flash
5. "Uprising" - Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D.
4. The Whole Truth
3. Passage To Mars
2. "Flashpoint" - The Flash
1. The Burden Of Being Rogue One: A Star Wars Story

I pride myself on being an exceptionally fair reviewer, but one who is very discriminating. I believe that most reviewers are far too biased toward both what is current and toward unduly praising things. I tend to believe most things actually are average and they ought to follows something around a Bell Curve. Mine is a little lopsided, but not as lopsided as most reviewers I know (who would probably have peak numbers between ten and seven)!

For my reviews, the current count is:
10s - 322 reviews
9s - 494 reviews
8s - 949 reviews
7s - 1060 reviews
6s - 985 reviews
5s - 1253 reviews
4s - 934 reviews
3s - 725 reviews
2s - 347 reviews
1s - 231 reviews
0s - 114 reviews
No rating - 124 articles/postings

There was a decent amount of movement this month, but there was no movement in the all time Top Ten Reviews! At the end of October 2016, the most popular reviews/articles are:
10. Beautiful Creatures
9. Safe Haven
8. Oz The Great And Powerful
7. The Mortal Instruments: City Of Bone
6. Iron Man 3
5. Warm Bodies
4. Tyler Perry's Temptation
3. Now You See Me
2. The Hobbit: The Desolation Of Smaug
1. Man Of Steel

Thank you again, so much, for reading! Please share links to the blog with friends and spread the word!

© 2016 W.L. Swarts. May not be reprinted without permission.
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HAPPY HALLOWEEN! I Am The Pretty Thing That Lives In The House!



The Good: Some of the direction is visually interesting
The Bad: No character development, Poor performances, Boring tone (not creepy), Pacing, Lack of plot
The Basics: I Am The Pretty Thing That Lives In The House is flat-out boring and a dismal failure for Netflix; don't waste your time this Halloween on it!


Happy Halloween! This year, I decided to spend part of my Halloween taking in a horror film for a change and I thought it was another chance to check out the Netflix Original films as they released a horror offering just a couple of days ago. The name of the film is I Am The Pretty Thing That Lives In The House and it is a very typical horror piece in terms of mood and direction. Or it would be if it were scary instead of a constant bore.

The premise of I Am The Pretty Thing That Lives In The House is that a house where someone has died may not be bought or sold by the living; it may only be borrowed from the ghosts that still remain in the house. I Am The Pretty Thing That Lives In The House is a slow mood piece that does not quite get to the ninety minute mark and the creep out factor of the film comes as the viewer waits for something to happen. And then, as long stretches pass between the appearances of the ghost in the house and the inevitable horror film reversal, the viewer waits, bored. Lily turns on a television and there is static that she watches for almost a minute and she peers in the reflection of the television . . . and the viewer waits for something to actually happen. Were it not for the music telegraphing the emotions and the voiceovers building a mystery, I Am The Pretty Thing That Lives In The House would be a straightforward dull film instead of an even remotely creepy flick.

Lily Singer arrives at the house at the end of Teacup Road in Braintree, Massachusetts, a hospice nurse in her late twenties who is sent to care for author Iris Blum in her last days. Iris Blum is a horror author who appears to have lost her mind, as she asks Lily about Polly, a woman who does not appear to exist. Lily sits and talks on the phone and the phone it torn out of her hand; she turns around to find Iris wandering out of her bed and there is a strange mold growing in the wall. Lily is visited by Mr. Waxcap, Iris's lawyer who is looking to keep expenses on the estate down and who denies that there is a real Polly, only that Polly is a character from Iris's most famous book.

One day after Mr. Waxcap visits, Lily steels herself to actually read Iris's famous novel, which is about a house that is haunted by the ghost of Polly. Beginning to read The Lady In The Wall leads Lily to begin hallucinating and freaking out in the creepy, old house.

I Am The Pretty Thing That Lives In The House is a dull ghost story that leads the viewer to believe that Polly is the ghost in the house that Iris lives in and then is constructed around revealing that. The cast of the film is exceptionally small and the bulk of the performance burden comes on Bob Balaban to deliver the most dialogue within the film. Balaban's character is a medium by which exposition is given and the impetus for Lily to actually begin reading Iris's book.

Ruth Wilson plays Lily and the bulk of her performance in I Am The Pretty Thing That Lives In The House involves her staring blankly and walking around with her mouth partially open. Wilson might be a fine actress, but I Am The Pretty Thing That Lives In The House is not her magnum opus. Instead, Lily could be played by a lobotomized actress, so long as someone else provided the voiceovers that Lily gives. Wilson basically wanders around with a glazed look for the bulk of the film, reacting occasionally, and staring vacantly most of the rest of the time.

On the subject of the voiceovers, director Oz Perkins delivers a problematic film using the voiceovers in I Am The Pretty Thing That Lives In The House. Ruth Wilson and Erin Boyes (the young Iris Blum, presuming she did the voiceovers for her sections where she is on screen) perform their voiceovers in virtually identical soft, hushed tones with nearly identical cadences. As a result, the viewer comes to believe very early on that there is more of a relationship between Iris and Lily, especially given that Iris calls Lily "Polly." The similarities in voice and speaking styles makes I Am The Pretty Thing That Lives In The House very jumbled for telling a story that is focused or coherent.

Ultimately, I Am The Pretty Thing That Lives In The House could be a screensaver if one turned off the sound; it is that slow and unsatisfying, though it looks all right. For anyone who bothers with the film - which I do not recommend given that it is vastly more boring than it is ever scary or even creepy - it is highly recommended that one watch it in complete darkness as the film is very dark and the slightest glare will obscure some of the details Perkins puts in the shots.

But what artistry there is in I Am The Pretty Thing That Lives In The House does not justify the experience of sitting through this insufferably boring movie.

For other Netflix exclusive films, please check out my reviews of:
Mascots
ARQ
XOXO
Tallulah
Special Correspondents
The Fundamentals Of Caring
The Ridiculous 6

.5/10

For other movie reviews, please check out my Film Review Index Page for an organized listing!

© 2016 W.L. Swarts. May not be reprinted without permission.
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Completely Hitting Its Flavor Mark: The Cold Stone Creamery Cookies & Creamery White Chocolate Truffle Bars Impress!


The Good: Decent flavor, Generally good ingredients, Reasonably priced
The Bad: Not at all nutritious/healthy, Not the most chocolatey cookie flavor
The Basics: Cold Stone Creamery Cookies & Creamery White Chocolate Truffle Bars are a pleasant surprise that encapsulates the basic flavor of cookies and cream ice cream in a chocolate bar!


The recent trend of restaurants licensing their name for foods for home consumption has had decidedly mixed results. While some of the Taco Bell sauces, for example, taste exactly like the sauces used in the restaurant, other companies seem to be willing to put their name on anything, even if there is no substantive correlation between the in-restaurant products and the home-use product. And, for me, the home use concept seems pointless for restaurants that are pretty much everywhere, like Taco Bell. On the flip side, there are some products that make sense to me as their product is a reasonable extrapolation on the in-restaurant produce and/or the originating restaurant does not have universal market penetration. The Cold Stone Creamery (reviewed here!) definitely is one of the latter, so when they began licensing to candy companies, it made some sense to me. As well, because the Cold Stone Creamery is a dairy, selling ice cream at the retail level is not necessarily the ideal strategy for the company. One of the products they got very right was the Cold Stone Creamery Cookies & Creamery White Chocolate Truffle Bar.

The Cold Stone Creamery Cookies & Creamery White Chocolate Truffle Bars are essentially a white chocolate bar that attempts to mimic the flavor of cookies and cream ice cream. And, for the most part, the Cold Stone Creamery Cookies & Creamery White Chocolate Truffle Bars do that and at a fairly affordable price.

Basics

Cold Stone Creamery is the well known ice cream parlor chain that has become a fixture in malls all around the United States. They make fancy ice cream sundaes and other premium ice cream products, but the truffle bars seem to be their experiment in branching out into candy bars. The Cookies & Creamery White Chocolate Truffle Bars give that target demographic a flavorful chocolate, even if the product attempts to mimic something that is hard to capture in chocolate bar form.

The Cookies & Creamery White Chocolate Truffle Bars come in a 1.8 oz. whitenchocolate bar that is plastic wrapped. Each bar represents a single serving and Cold Stone Creamery has the truffle bars presented as 1 1/8” wide by 3 1/2” long by 3/4” tall smooth chocolate bar. This makes the Cookies & Creamery White Chocolate Truffle Bars a simple single serving with a very smooth surface. The white chocolate is peppered with tiny bits of cookies for the bottom, but a smooth, pure white chocolate top.

Ease Of Preparation

Eating Cold Stone Creamery Cookies & Creamery White Chocolate Truffle Bars is not a real challenge. After removing the wrapper, simply pull out the bar and bite it off into reasonable size pieces. There is no particularly complicated equation to eating these chocolates. This is an entirely ready-to-eat food!

Taste

Unwrapping the truffle bar, the smell of white chocolate and chocolate cookies wafts out. The Cookies & Creamery White Chocolate Truffle Bar smells like cookies & cream ice cream, exactly like one might expect.

In the mouth, the Cookies & Creamery White Chocolate Truffle Bar tastes exactly like one might hope; like a chocolate bar equivalent of cookies & cream ice cream. The white chocolate is milky, nox waxy and distinctive. The Cookies & Creamery White Chocolate Truffle Bar features chocolate cookie bits which are ground out so fine that they manifest more as a crunchy texture within the white chocolate medium. The chocolate of the cookie bits is not strong enough to overcome the white chocolate flavor to actually taste like chocolate cookie bits. Despite that, they taste about as good as any other cookie pieces found within cookies & cream ice cream or something like an Oreo cookie. Despite the lack of truly amazing chocolate cookie flavor, the balance hits the flavor goal of the Cold Stone Creamery Cookies & Creamery White Chocolate Truffle Bars; the accuracy of the cookies and cream flavor is decent.

There is a slightly sweet aftertaste to the Cold Stone Creamery Cookies & Creamery White Chocolate Truffle Bars, but that aftertaste does not last in the mouth for more than a minute after one last consumes the truffle bars.

Nutrition

Cold Stone Creamery chocolates are intended as a dessert product, so they do not promise maginificent nutrition! This 1.8 oz. Truffle Bars represent a single serving and those looking for real nutrition will have to look elsewhere. Made primarily of white chocolate, coconut oil and chocolate wafers, there are no unpronounceable ingredients in this chocolate bar. This is not an all-natural food product and these Truffle Bars were produced on equipment that forces them to add allergy warnings about milk, soy and tree nuts.

In addition to no ingredients I cannot readily pronounce, Cold Stone Creamery's Cookies & Creamery White Chocolate Truffle Bars have 291 calories, 177 of which are from fat. A full serving represents 65% of one's RDA of saturated fat and 2% of the RDA of cholesterol. Surprisingly, they are fairly low in sodium with only 53 mg per serving and there are 3 grams of protein to be had by eating a full serving. These are not a significant source of vitamins or minerals, though they do have 9% of one’s daily calcium and 1% of the RDA of Iron.

Storage/Cleanup

As a chocolate, Cold Stone Creamery Cookies & Creamery White Chocolate Truffle Bars are fine as long as they are stored below 65 degrees Fahrenheit. They seem to remain fresh for quite some time if so stored.

If, however, they melt, the Cold Stone Creamery Cookies & Creamery White Chocolate Truffle Bars will stain. Consult your fabric guide if that happens as even white chocolate can stain, especially dark colored fabrics. Otherwise, cleanup is simply throwing the plastic wrapper away when you are done with the white chocolate bar.

Overall

Cold Stone Creamery Cookies & Creamery White Chocolate Truffle Bars are good and anyone who loves cookies & cream ice cream will find that this is a fairly decent substitute.

For other Cold Stone chocolates, please check out:
Mmmmmint Chip Mint Milk Chocolate Truffle Bars
Cherry Almond Sundae chocolate bars
Chocolate Devotion Dark & Milk Chocolate Truffle Bar

7.5/10

For other food and drink reviews, please visit my Food And Drink Review Index Page for an organized listing!

© 2016 W.L. Swarts. May not be reprinted without permission.
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Sunday, October 30, 2016

"Better Angels" Continues The Lackluster Mystery Of Agent Carter


The Good: Special effects, General plot progression, Adequate performances
The Bad: No character development, Lack of character moments that resonate to allow the performers to truly show off their chops
The Basics: "Better Angels" is an Agent Carter episode that belabors including unnecessary characters and blandly progresses the second season's mystery.


The second season of Agent Carter was, admittedly, much more effective than the first at creating a serialized narrative. From the first episode of the second season, the show was committed to creating one ten-episode arc that was one complete story. By the third episode, "Better Angels," Agent Carter was committed to its new path and still wrestling with lingering elements (and especially characters) from the first season. The fracture between where the show was in its first season and where it wanted to be in its second causes some erratic renditions of established characters and "Better Angels" forces Jack Thompson back into the narrative in a way that makes the viewer realize just how unnecessary the character is to the second season's story.

Picking up where “A View In The Dark” (reviewed here!) ended, "Better Angels" is impossible to discuss without references to that episode. After all, "A View In The Dark" continued to deepen the mystery surrounding the death of Jane Scott. "Better Angels" marks the return of Howard Stark to the Agent Carter narrative, as well as Kurtwood Smith's role of Vernon Masters from the second season premiere.

The morning after Dr. Wilkes was killed, Agent Peggy Carter arrives at his home where she and Sousa find evidence that seems planted that implies Wilkes was behind Isodyne Energy's troubles. Visiting Howard Stark, Carter learns what the pin Dottie Underwood was after (and one of Carter's assailants possessed) represents; the Arena Club, an exclusive white's only, rich person's club that is a front for the people who ran Isodyne Energy. Whitney Frost, apparently infected by the Zero Matter, asks her politician boyfriend Calvin Chadwick about retiring from acting, but he is reticent. Thompson visits the West Coast Branch of the SSR to bolster the false story that Dr. Wilkes was a Communist before he learns about Zero Matter. Stark helps Carter infiltrate the Arena Club, where she attempts to plant listening devices and uncovers the inner sanctuary.

Returning to the SSR, Thompson and Carter clash and on her way out, Carter notices that items on her desk are levitating. Returning to Stark's, Howard diagnoses Carter and he creates a way to make the field around Carter visible. In attempting to make the field visible, Stark, Carter, Jarvis and Sousa discover that Wilkes is still alive, but has been rendered invisible by the Zero Matter. Wilkes reveals that Whitney Frost attacked him and Carter goes to interview her. After the interview, Frost uses Chadwick to get the Council's assassin to target Carter. Sousa discovers that Frost is the public face of the woman who ran Isodyne Energy just before Thompson learns that Carter was right about the Arena Club creating the news when Masters introduces him to Chadwick.

"Better Angels" feels like it has a number of anachronisms that are problematic; the spread of information seems to go at internet-like speeds, as opposed to 1947's lack of a 24-hour news cycle. While some of that is the result of the Arena Club creating the news, the speed at which the media descends upon Dr. Wilkes's home with relevant questions seems entirely unrealistic.

Agent Carter seems desperate to create a noir thriller with its second season and "Better Angels" has many of the classic conceits. Masters comes in as the mysterious stranger, Frost is the woman with the past, and Carter is very much a classic gumshoe in the episode. "Better Angels" continues to force the racism of the 1940s in ways that are occasionally laughable; Dr. Wilkes praises Stark for letting him into his home - clearly intimating that Stark letting a black man in his home would be uncommon - which is ridiculous given that Wilkes was invisible and non-corporeal at the time! Whatever Stark's opinions are about people of different ethnicities, he would have been utterly powerless to stop Wilkes from going wherever he wants.

And that leads to one of the serious problems with the characters in "Better Angels;" they all suffer from a severe deficit of imagination. The major players in "Better Angels" are embroiled deep in a mystery and long before the end of the episode, they know there is a secret society involved in the conspiracy they are uncovering. Agent Carter and Director Sousa have on their side an invisible, non-corporeal man; how does it not occur to them (or the supposedly brilliant Dr. Stark) to use Wilkes to get the information they seek by having him go back to the Arena Club.

Perhaps the most enjoyable element of "Better Angels" is Jarvis making a joke about spending his future as a disembodied voice.

The performances in "Better Angels" are good enough, though none are particularly stellar. Dominic Cooper leaps right back into the role of Howard Stark without any issues. Wynn Everett impressed me in "Better Angels" by both seamlessly interacting with the CG elements of the episode's climax and disappearing into the role of Whitney Frost so completely that she was utterly unrecognizable from the other works I had seen her in.

Ultimately, "Better Angels" progresses the plot, but does not substantively advance the characters of Agent Carter.

For other works with Wynn Everett, please check out my reviews of:
The Newsroom
Charlie Wilson's War

[Knowing that single episodes are an inefficient way to get episodes, it's worth looking into Agent Carter - The Complete Second Season, which is also a better economical choice than buying individual episodes. Read my review of the final season of Agent Carter here!
Thanks!]

3/10

For other television reviews, please check out my Television Review Index Page for an organized listing!

© 2016 W.L. Swarts. May not be reprinted without permission.
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Alternates Become Mundane In The Multiversity Deluxe Edition!


The Good: Decent artwork, Moments of plot and character
The Bad: Fourth Wall issue, Characters that are hard to empathize with or care about, Generic villains, Predictible plot progression
The Basics: The Multiversity Deluxe Edition compiles a story that asks readers to re-invest with each chapter and fails to captivate.


When it comes to book reviews, I understand there there is value to be had by thoroughness. I respect thoroughness and I try to deliver it in every review I write. Every now and then, though, there is a concept that fails so spectacularly that it does not warrant a particularly deep exploration of the work. The Multiversity Deluxe Edition is one such concept in graphic novel form. And while it may seem like reducing a 448 page graphic novel into a X paragraph review might seem not particularly fair or useful, The Multiversity hits such a low note with me that it is hard to muster up the effort to write even that much.

The Multiversity in its Deluxe Edition form is a nine-chapter volume that tells a story set in the DC Comics Multiverse and the idea was one that instantly fascinated me and made me excited to read the book. But, the execution of the idea fell so dramatically shy of my hopes and expectations that it became one of the worst literary chores for me to muster myself to get through. The thing is, unlike most works, I know exactly where The Multiversity started to lose me. The Multiversity includes in its narration a series of breaks in the Fourth Wall where the adversaries in the book address the readers directly and use the comic book as a means of propagating itself through the multiverse. As a result, the deluxe edition of The Multiversity effectively reduces the DC Comic Book Universe to a Comic Book Universe even within its own narrative and that entirely guts the reality of the book and all of the threats within it. In other words, The Multiversity forces the reader to accept that they are only reading about comic book characters who have no reality outside the page and as such are not vital individuals in actual mortal peril.

Within The Multiversity Deluxe Edition, the story is familiar and not overly complex, which is somewhat surprising given how most of the chapters occur within entirely different universes from the chapter that preceded and follows it. On one of the many Earths throughout the DC Multiverse, the final Monitor, Nix Uotan is captured by The Gentry, a legion of multiverse terrorizing monsters. While Uotan is captured, a team of great heroes from across the Multiverse assembles and forms the superteam Justice Incarnate to save Nix Uotan and the multiverse itself from the monsters of The Gentry.

The Multiversity Deluxe Edition features such novelties as the Superman Of Earth-23, who is President and a whole chibi Justice League. Several of the chapters are simply stories set on their respective Earth and are used to illustrate how that distinct universe is formed and is dealing with the threats it faces . . . while it is attacked within the story by an insidious comic book that tells of impending threats to the multiverse.

But the whole concept does not allow the reader to invest or care about the characters, as almost every chapter has an entirely different cast of characters and setting. The chapters are essentially glimpses into a different universe before that universe is put behind the reader and they are thrown into an entirely different universe. Then, the reader is given a story that menaces the entire Multiverse . . . without any of the familiar DC Universe characters fighting the war. So, the reader is asked to believe that The Gentry is such an incredible, massive enemy that can destroy the multiverse . . . but that none of the familiar heroes we know and love are up to the task of even being a part of the attempt to save it.

The artwork in The Multiversity Deluxe Edition is excellent. Each chapter for the different universes is rendered in a different style and coloring to make each one distinct. But even the decent artwork is not enough to make the reader care about the characters, the obvious plot, nor make me want to spend more time thinking about the work that failed to engage me.

For other works by Grant Morrison, be sure to check out my reviews of:
52 - Volume 1
JLA: Earth 2
JLA: New World Order
Batman R.I.P.

2/10

For other book reviews, check out my Graphic Novel Review Index Page for an organized listing!

© 2016 W.L. Swarts. May not be reprinted without permission.
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Special Correspondents Is A Wonderful, Relevant, Satire!


The Good: Very funny, Wonderful plot development, Good performances
The Bad: Some pacing issues in the middle, Unlikable characters
The Basics: Special Correspondents is a Netflix Original Film that puts Ricky Gervais in the three major creative roles for a film . . . and he makes a smart success!


Netflix exclusive films have been a true mixed bag for me. Out of the six I have watched before today, three were flat-out terrible, two were all right and one was wonderful. So, sitting down to Special Correspondents and knowing only that it was a Netflix Original Film was not enough to get me to watch. But then, I found out it starred Ricky Gervais and Eric Bana and I figured, "it would be hard to produce something bad with the two of them!" Then, I saw that Ricky Gervais had written and directed the film and my thought was "How was this not a blockbuster comedy release?" Then I watched it and was left even more baffled.

Special Correspondents is apparently a rewrite/remake of a French film and it is worth noting that I've not seen the French version. As a result, this review is based entirely on Special Correspondents as its own work.

Frank is a radio reporter, sitting in a bar, listening to a police scanner when he hears about a crime going down at the nearby York Hotel. Gaining access to the crime scene, he gets enough details to go on the air with a puff piece. That makes his sound engineer, Ian Finch, happy, but dismays his co-worker Claire and pisses off his boss, Jeffrey Mallard. While at a radio event, Claire and Finch are given an assignment, which leaves Finch's wife, Eleanor, in the same room with Frank. Eleanor sleeps with Frank and he leaves afterward. The next morning, Frank is given an assignment in Equador and he wants to take Finch, who has just been left by his wife. The pair head off to the airport, but there they discover that Finch accidentally threw out their plane ticket and credentials instead of the note he was going to give his wife.

The two retreat to a local restaurant where they brainstorm with the Cafe's managers, Brigida and Domingo. Finch comes up with the idea that they can fake the report, so they set up in the room above the restaurant across from the radio station. Finch creates a sound scape to represent Ecuador and they begin making up the story. To that end, they create Emilia Santiago Alvarez as a man behind the coup in Ecuador. The State Department orders Mallard to get Finch and Bonneville to the U.S. embassy in Quito, as major media organizations run with the Alvarez story. When they fail to make it to the embassy, the story becomes how they have been captured. To play into that, they make a ransom film and their hostage story becomes giant news. Eleanor starts to exploit the story for herself and Claire is assigned to tell her story. To rectify the situation, the guys have to actually smuggle themselves into Ecuador to get to the embassy! Inadvertently, they learn the truth about the situation in Ecuador.

Special Correspondents is a comedy where the premise involves an absurd concept with a built-in obvious potential catastrophe. The film moves away from the obvious pressures of "will they get caught or not" to Eleanor exploiting the situation. That keeps Special Correspondents moving forward. The transition between the major plot elements develops very organically.

Ian Finch is characterized well at the outset as a man who has never accomplished anything. Finch dreams of doing something significant, but instead he plays video games and his life is augmented by a collectibles collection he cherishes. Special Correspondents is the story of how he finds himself out of his element and over his head. He is in a loveless marriage and Special Correspondents has him on the unfortunate emotional journey of getting over his broken marriage.

Frank Bonneville is a stereotypical arrogant local celebrity with delusions of grandeur. Frank is recognized on the street and bathes in the adoration of others. He is, however, not dumb and his ability to think quickly on his feet is quickly established. His observation skills make his affair seem pretty scummy, but his ability to talk his way out of the ethical ramifications of knowingly sleeping with another man's wife is a masterful work of characterization.

Special Correspondents takes a delightful twist when Eleanor Finch reveals her true colors. Eleanor exploits the situation and when she does, she is a terrible person. Eleanor is willing to sacrifice her husband and Frank to protect the money she has gotten out of the grieving American people. She is a reprehensible character and Vera Fermiga plays her exceptionally well.

Perhaps the greatest surprise of Special Correspondents is how funny America Ferrera is in it. What starts as a bit role blossoms into one of the most overtly humorous roles she has had.

Ricky Gervais finds the right balance between overt humor and satire in Special Correspondents. Special Correspondents is like Wag The Dog with more overt humor and it is more focused than American Dreamz (reviewed here!). Special Correspondents does a good job of illustrating just how gullible the American people are and how corruptible the media can be.

More than most movies I've seen lately, Special Correspondents knows when to end and the film returns to the characters for the climax in an effective way. As such, Special Correspondents does all it needs to without getting mired in the long-term ramifications of the deception of the three main characters. The movie does what it sets out to do in a solidly entertaining way and it is well worth watching.

For other Netflix exclusive films, please check out my reviews of:
Mascots
ARQ
XOXO
Tallulah
The Fundamentals Of Caring
The Ridiculous 6

7.5/10

For other movie reviews, please check out my Film Review Index Page for an organized listing!

© 2016 W.L. Swarts. May not be reprinted without permission.
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Friday, October 28, 2016

Indistinct, But Not Unpleasant, Russell Stover Freeze-It Vanilla Bean In Dark Chocolate Candies Are Not Worth The Price!


The Good: Does not taste bad
The Bad: Expensive, Indistinct flavor, Not great on the nutrition front
The Basics: If Russell Stover Freeze-It Vanilla Bean In Dark Chocolate chocolates actually tasted like vanilla bean for their center, they might be worth the expense, but because they do not, they are hardly worth trying.


Recently, my mother came to visit from Upstate New York for my birthday and it was a real treat to see her. In addition to showing her the sights in Michigan and going to many cool casinos, we did a bit of shopping. Between my mom and my wife, I came away from the weekend with a fully stocked pantry full of a ton of delicious treats, many that were purchased for me to enjoy and review. One of the foods that my mother picked up for us was a selection of candies. The first one I am getting around to trying and reviewing is the Russell Stover Freeze-It Vanilla Bean In Dark Chocolate. Sadly, this was hardly a superlative chocolate.

The Freeze-It Vanilla Bean In Dark Chocolate is a single-serving chocolate that is reminiscent of a chocolate marshmallow egg, like what one finds around Easter. My wife made that observation and I could not describe it better than that; she truly hit the nail on the head! For the expense, almost a dollar a piece, the Russell Stover Freeze-It Vanilla Bean In Dark Chocolate is a poor value for what one gets. They are not bad, but for the price and quality, consumers ought to expect better.

Basics

Russell Stover Freeze-It Vanilla Bean In Dark Chocolate chocolates are roughly two and a half inch discs of chocolate that are about three-quarter inches thick. Each of the chocolates comes individually wrapped in a blue and white plastic wrapper. It is worth noting that while I usually rail against the environmental impact of such things, it is hard to imagine these (and other) Russell Stover chocolate squares not wrapped. This keeps each one clean, unmelted and intact.

Each chocolate disc has a flat bottom and a somewhat textured top. In this form, the 2 oz. individually-wrapped chocolate allows one to get a single serving per pack. Given that each Russell Stover Freeze-It Vanilla Bean In Dark Chocolate is roughly a dollar, these are pretty expensive for the quality.

Ease Of Preparation

These are candy, so preparing them is as simple as opening the wrapper. The Russell Stover Freeze-It Vanilla Bean In Dark Chocolate chocolates recommend freezing the candy for at least thirty minutes as it is intended to vaguely emulate an ice cream treat. For the review, we left the Russell Stover Freeze-It Vanilla Bean In Dark Chocolate in the freezer for about two weeks, so it was very adequately frozen. Having tried one at room temperature and now multiples that were frozen, freezing the Russell Stover Freeze-It Vanilla Bean In Dark Chocolate does not make it "pop" any more than when it is at room temperature.

Taste

Opening the blue and white foil wrapper from around the Freeze-It Vanilla Bean In Dark Chocolate chocolate square, the consumer is met with a surprisingly chocolatey aroma. The dark chocolate that coats the frozen center is fairly aromatic, though is smells much more like cocoa (like hot cocoa, as opposed to dark chocolate) than it does firm, rich chocolate. Regardless, the scent from the Russell Stover Freeze-It Vanilla Bean In Dark Chocolate is very inviting to anyone who loves chocolate treats.

In the mouth, the Freeze-It Vanilla Bean In Dark Chocolate tastes sweet and mildly chocolatey. The fairly thin chocolate shell that surrounds the white sugary is dark, but sweet. It is not overly dry as one might expect from a dark chocolate. The center does not actually taste like vanilla bean. Instead, it is generically sweet, much like an Easter marshmallow egg that has been frozen. The grainy texture to the Russell Stover Freeze-It Vanilla Bean In Dark Chocolate also reminded me of cookie dough, so the flavor is not very intense, true to vanilla bean or overly distinct.

The Russell Stover Freeze-It Vanilla Bean In Dark Chocolate leaves a slightly sweet, mildly dry aftertaste in the mouth for about two minutes after one is done consuming them.

Nutrition

The Freeze-It Vanilla Bean In Dark Chocolate are candy, so it is tough to look at these for something nutritious and then blame them for not being healthy. The primary ingredients are sugar, chocolate processed with alkali, and cocoa butter. There is nothing unpronounceable in these candies and outside a few stray preservatives near the end of the ingredient's list, everything in them sounded pretty palatable!

A serving of the Russell Stover Freeze-It Vanilla Bean In Dark Chocolate chocolates is considered one piece. From each chocolate disc, one takes in 290 calories, 140 of those calories being from fat. There is 6% of the RDA of cholesterol (20 mg) and 90 mg of Sodium (4% RDA). The 9 grams of Saturated Fat represent 47% of the RDA of saturated fat. Each Russell Stover Freeze-It Vanilla Bean In Dark Chocolate has 3 grams of protein. There is a smattering of Iron (8% RDA), Vitamin A and Calcium (4% RDA) in each chocolate.

Honestly, these are candy and anyone looking to them for actual nutrition needs to get a reality check. These are not Vegan-compliant, nor are they recommended for anyone with a nut allergy as they are produced on the same equipment that peanuts pass over. They are not marked as kosher, either, which be because they pass over the same machines as tree nuts and contain some egg ingredients. They are partially produced with genetic engineering.

Storage/Clean-up

The Russell Stover Freeze-It Vanilla Bean In Dark Chocolate chocolates remain fresh for quite some time. Purchased just two weeks ago, our chocolates would not have expired until the first of March, 2017, had we not eaten ours up first. one assumes that if they are kept in a cool, dry environment - or frozen as they are recommended - they will not melt or go bad. Given that they are individually wrapped in a very sealed package, it is hard to imagine just what it would take for these to go bad outside melting and then refreezing.

I applaud those who actually throw the wrappers away in socially appropriate places, as opposed to litter. Outside that, there is no real cleanup needed, unless one is eating them in a hot environment. In that case, it is likely one would need to wash their hands. If these chocolates melt into most fabrics, they will stain. Getting them to melt, though, appears fairly difficult as the dark chocolate is very solid!

Overall

I had no inherent bias against the Russell Stover Freeze-It Vanilla Bean In Dark Chocolate chocolates when we first received them. In fact, I tend to get excited about trying new things, so the Russell Stover Freeze-It Vanilla Bean In Dark Chocolate were intriguing to me. But the rather generic flavor and their expense made them impossible for me to recommend them. They do not taste terrible, but they do not taste like vanilla or vanilla bean, so they rate very lowly with me.

For other Russell Stover chocolate reviews, please check out:
Russell Stover Triple Chocolate Mousse chocolate squares
Private Reserve Mississippi Mud chocolate squares
Whitman's SoHo Assortment

2/10

For other food and drink reviews, please visit my Food Review Index Page for an organized listing!

© 2016 W.L. Swarts. May not be reprinted without permission.
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Thursday, October 27, 2016

More Fun Than It Is Derivative, "Shogun" Progresses The Legends Of Tomorrow Well!


The Good: Excellent use of humor, Decent character moments, Cool special effects
The Bad: Entirely derivative plot, Adequate performances without any truly great moments, Some critical missing details
The Basics: "Shogun" remakes a first season episode of Legends Of Tomorrow with its new cast mix and a new setting, resulting in another good episode!


With the new television season firmly underway, I can now honestly say that the show I look forward to most each week is Legends Of Tomorrow! I cannot think of a television series of late that has turned around their momentum to make itself into a decent show like Legends Of Tomorrow has. I came too late to the party to get into Arrow, Supergirl continues to be thematically heavyhanded and unfortunately derivative and the third season of The Flash started firmly in Sucksville. By contrast, the first two episodes of the new season of Legends Of Tomorrow have been surprisingly good, especially when compared to the first season's overall arc. Enter "Shogun." "Shogun" puts the Legends Of Tomorrow in feudal Japan and it became the first real test of the second season's magic new chemistry. Would "Shogun" simply be a cheap retread of "The Magnificent Eight" (reviewed here!) from last season, just in a different setting? Or would Legends Of Tomorrow continue to dazzle with something that felt truly original and different?

Sadly, "Shogun" does retread where the previous season's Western episode went. On the plus side, the episode manages to flesh out the two new Legends Of Tomorrow characters well, which makes it feel less derivative than it actually is.

"Shogun" is tough to discuss (and watch) without having seen "The Justice Society Of America" (reviewed here!) as Vixen and the Justice Society Of America were introduced. As well, "The Justice Society Of America" seemed to cement the concept for the second season of Legends Of Tomorrow as featuring the Reverse-Flash as the season's primary antagonist, with the Legends not knowing he is the one manipulating events throughout time against them. Sadly, "The Justice Society Of America" also saw the Reverse-Flash killing one of the members of the JSA in his attempt to prevent his own demise. Dr. Nate Heywood was revealed to be a hemophiliac and he was injected with a Palmer-modified version of Eobard Thawne's super-serum.

Vixen is on the Waverider, knocking out the members of the crew, when she is stopped by Heywood, who now has the ability to turn himself into steel. Sara Lance interrogates Amaya and learns that Rex Tyler was killed by a time traveler and she commits to finding the time traveler. While practicing with Tyler's new abilities, Palmer and Heywood get knocked out of the Waverider (and time) and they crash land, separately, in feudal Japan. Palmer ends up in custody of a violent Shogun, while Nick Heywood finds himself with Masako Yamashiro, a young woman who is being forced to marry the Shogun.

While Heywood and Palmer attempt to survive feudal Japan, Jax and Dr. Stein discover that there is a hidden compartment aboard the Waverider. Heywood stands up to the Shogun's men and gets stabbed for his efforts. When Lance, Vixen, and Mick Rory arrive to rescue Ray Palmer, they discover that the Shogun has figured out how to use Palmer's Atom suit and they barely escape him with their lives. Heywood, subsequently rescued, refuses to leave Japan because he knows the Shogun will kill Masako (he has a history of killing his wives). So, the Legends stick around in to protect the village and stop the Shogun.

"Shogun" has a fun set-up, though it is truly hard to buy that Amaya managed to stowaway on the Waverider. In the prior episode, the Legends boarded the Waverider and left before the Reverse-Flash killed Rex and Amaya found him. It is similarly hard - without a scene on the Waverider to confirm it in advance - to accept that Heywood is no longer a hemophiliac. After falling out of the sky, Heywood falls down and if he is still a hemophiliac, his injuries would have been pretty severe just from that fall. It is late in the episode that Heywood learns that is a side-effect of his transformation, but given that his powers are not working when he attempts to trigger them it seems weird that he would have one power, but not the other.

There is something similarly wonky in the narration about the episode's timeline. Somehow, the Waverider not only gets back on course, but it arrives in feudal Japan . . . before Jax fixes the time engines. Dr. Stein continues to pressure Jax to find the hidden compartment with him, while Jefferson insists he just wants to repair the time engines. While the implication is that Lance, Rory and Jiwe use the drop ship to make the trip back to feudal Japan, it is not made explicit, nor is it at all clear how Lance figured out where in time the two ended up. Similarly, how Dr. Stein and Jax deduced the combination to Rip Hunter's secret compartment is a bit of a mystery.

Sara Lance continues her heroic development as the new commander of the Waverider. In "Shogun," Lance kicks serious ass using her League Of Assassin training, but she also acts like a leader in the way she vouches for Mick. While the end of "Shogun" is a bit predictable and has an anticlimax that features Firestorm lying to the new Captain, Lance is very cool in the episode and she bears the mantle of command well. While Lance smartly explains to Amaya why they cannot simply go back in time and stop the murderous time traveler from killing Rex, she shows a lack of imagination (which either of the two geniuses or even Mick Rory, given that he was Chronos) by not suggesting that they go back in time and plant a surveillance device at the JSA Headquarters and/or put a tracking device on the item they know he will steal. Sadly, Legends Of Tomorrow starts to slip into the "simple problem, simple solution" plot problem that plagued the first season.

The DC Television Universe - at least The Flash and Legends Of Tomorrow - have been strongly based in science. Indeed, the big supernatural element of the first season of Legends Of Tomorrow involved Vandal Savage, Kendra and Carter reincarnating and while it took until the end of the season, was finally explained as alien technology that arrived in the meteorites from Thanagar. So, viewers have to take on faith that Vixen's totem necklace will somehow be explained technologically, but in "Shogun," it is played as a supernatural type artifact and that is somewhat unsatisfying.

The performances in "Shogun" are adequate, but none are truly exceptional. Maisie Richardson-Sellers and Nick Zano - Amaya and Nate, respectively - continue to develop their performances to define their characters, but they do not have a chance to illustrate a lot of range yet. As a result, much of the emotional power of the episode comes from Dr. Palmer's struggle as he faces losing his Atom suit and his superpowers. Palmer has to sacrifice all that makes him special to the Waverider crew and it is treated in a surprisingly blase fashion. Brandon Routh is not given a chance to explore or develop Palmer's concerns as he faces losing his abilities. The closest we get is Routh expressing real frustration while training Heywood.

The season-long mystery for Legends Of Tomorrow is very subtly progressed by the contents of the secret room, which is fairly interesting. What is future Barry Allen's message to Rip Hunter? It's not clear, but if it has to do with Eobard Thawne, one would expect Dr. Stein to be much more alarmed upon hearing it. And fans of The Flash are likely to be disappointed by the idea that "Shogun" very subtly undermines the obvious, planned series finale of The Flash (wherein Barry Allen sacrifices himself in 2024 during the Crisis!) by allowing that end to be spoiled by the idea that Barry Allen survives his act of sacrifice and comes back about thirty years later.

All that said, "Shogun" does a decent job of tying together the three plotlines to make another episode of Legends Of Tomorrow that is well worth watching.

For other works with Stephen Oyung, please visit my reviews of:
Sicario
Red Dawn
The Last Airbender
Legion

6/10

For other television season and episode reviews, please visit my Television Review Index Page for an organized listing!

© 2016 W.L. Swarts. May not be reprinted without permission.
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