Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Human Infants Are Worthless! (A Dominator Infant Rocks In "Phone Home!")

The Good: Good use of humor, Decent performances, Good character development, Fun allusions
The Bad: B-plot is troublingly obvious, Tomaz evolves way too quickly to feel organic
The Basics: Legends Of Tomorrow continues to explore the consequences of breaking time in "Phone Home," which puts Ray Palmer in jeopardy.

Almost immediately in the third season of Legends Of Tomorrow, the magnificent consequences of the second season's final scene was undone. The idea that the Waverider, crashing into an amalgamation of buildings and creatures from different times would have broken time in a way that was serious and had major consequences seemed too much for the writers to stick with. So, Rip Hunter returned with a new, more efficient, agency for fixing time, and the newly-dubbed "anachronisms" are essentially the same type of temporal anomalies as in prior seasons, this time stemming out of Hunter's Time Bureau not being quite as efficient as they initially seemed.

"Phone Home" follows on the events of "Zari" (reviewed here!), which added a new character and a new totem to Legends Of Tomorrow. Perhaps to balance that, "Phone Home" puts Ray Palmer in mortal peril.

In Ivy Town, 1988, the child Ray Palmer is pursued by government agents. In the temporal zone on the Waverider, Ray Palmer is attempting trust-building exercises when he disappears . . . having been killed in 1988. Returning to 1988, Ray Palmer rematerializes and begins to participate in rescuing his younger self. In following the young Palmer, Ray witnesses his younger self feeding a baby Dominator.

While his younger self is supposed to be at school, Palmer and Tomaz try to extract the Dominator. Unfortunately, Ray is skipping school and the two from the Waverider get trapped in his bedroom. When little Ray decides to run away with the Dominator, Tomaz chases him down. While Tomaz is captured by the anti-alien Glasses, Sara Lance is captured by a Dominator Queen.

"Phone Home" allows Ray Palmer to be fleshed out from his usual optimistic self. Palmer is revealed to be unfortunately naive as a child, getting bullied even as he tries to help out the baby Dominator. "Phone Home" is a wake-up call for Ray Palmer, as he starts to accept he was lonely as a child and still lonely as an adult. The episode is also an opportunity to flesh-out Tomaz. Tomaz is a bit of a pessimist, who grew up in a dystopia, so she is pretty much the opposite of Ray Palmer and that plays out fairly well over the course of the episode.

Throughout "Phone Home," Dr. Stein quietly exhibits boredom with being on the Waverider. His apathy toward being on the Waverider leads Rory to spy upon him and he assumes Stein has corrupt motivations. In the course of "Phone Home" Stein's true motivation is revealed and it is presented with a weird sense of temporal urgency that makes no real sense. Rory and Jackson steal the Waverider for Stein, but given the nature of the errand they are on, the immediacy of it is ridiculous.

The humor in "Phone Home" hits far more than it misses, making for a very satisfying episode of Legends Of Tomorrow. "Phone Home" is an episode very much intended for a science fiction literate audience. The lines that are direct allusions to other works hit quite a well and the episode manages to find just the right balance between doing its own thing and making hilarious references to past works.

Tala Ashe does well in "Phone Home" at fleshing out Zari Tomaz, even if her character's arc is rushed over the course of this episode. In case no one else has said it, Ashe proves herself the logical successor to Morena Baccarin with her performance style in "Phone Home;" she has a similar sense of timing.

Ultimately, "Phone Home" manages to be clever and fun without mortgaging its own sense of importance.

For other works with Susie Abromeit, please visit my reviews of:
Jessica Jones - Season 1
Battle Los Angeles
Sex Drive


For other television and movie reviews, please visit my Movie Review Index Page for an organized listing!

© 2017 W.L. Swarts. May not be reprinted without permission.
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Mediocre Execution: Reese's White Peanut Butter Cups Flop!

The Good: Peanut butter flavor is good, Inexpensive.
The Bad: Not the most nutritious thing ever, White chocolate is waxy and flavorless
The Basics: Reese's White Peanut Butter Cups are a bit of a disappointment for anyone who loves creamy, rich, white chocolate.

White Chocolate does not need to be flavorless. Sadly, though, some of the major mass-produced chocolatiers in the United States treat white chocolate like a flavorless cousin compared to milk or dark chocolate. Such is the case with Reese's White Peanut Butter Cups.


Reese's White Peanut Butter Cup are a fairly new Hershey's candy. The Reese’s White Peanut Butter Cups are the same size and shape as the traditional Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups. Like the rest of the Reese’s peanut butter cups, they come as pairs in a thin wax paper cup. The 1.5 oz. package houses two 21 gram candies.

Each Reese's White Peanut Butter Cup is sold as a pair for about $.99.

Ease Of Preparation

These are candy, so preparing them is as simple as opening the wrapper, removing it from the paper tray, and then eating the candy. There is no trick or mystery to eating Reese's White Peanut Butter Cup.


The Reese's White Peanut Butter Cups smell almost entirely of peanut butter. The aroma from these peanut butter cups is strong and inviting for anyone who loves peanut butter.

In the mouth, the White Peanut Butter Cup are waxy and flavorless until the white chocolate shell is broken. When that happens, the tongue is almost instantly overwhelmed by the flavor of the peanut butter, with no real flavor from the white chocolate in the flavor palate.

The Reese’s White cups leave a dry, salty aftertaste in the mouth after the last of the candies is consumed.


These are candy and a mass produced one at that, so it is tough to look at these for something nutritious and then blame them for not being healthy. Reese's White Peanut Butter Cup have mostly recognizable ingredients, which surprised me. The primary ingredients are peanuts, sugar, and vegetable oil. There is nothing unpronounable in these candies, though there are couple of abbreviated preservatives; everything else is easily identified.

A serving of the Reese's White Peanut Butter Cup is considered one package (two cups). From a single package, Reese's White Peanut Butter Cups provides 220 calories, 120 of those calories being from fat. There is no cholesterol in the White Peanut Butter Cups, but they do have 7% of one's daily sodium. There is only 4% of one's daily iron in the cups.

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 contain peanuts! They are not noted to be either kosher or gluten-free.


The pack of these Reese's White Peanut Butter Cup remain fresh for quite some time. The ones I found in advance of Halloween had an expiration date of May 2018. Given that they are wrapped in a very sealed package, it is hard to imagine just what it would take for these to go bad outside melting and refreezing. Hershey's chocolates, even the white chocolates, do seem especially susceptible to melting, though.

As for cleanup, throw the wrappers away in socially appropriate places, as opposed to littering. 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 this chocolate melts into most fabrics, at least dark colored fabrics, it will stain. Getting them to melt, sadly, does not take much.


Reese's White Peanut Butter Cups fail to embody well the flavor of a decent white chocolate, undermining their overall novelty.

For other Hershey's candy reviews, please check out my reviews of:
Hershey's Cookie Layer Crunch Mint
Cadbury Screme Egg


For other food reviews, please visit my index page for an organized listing!

© 2017 W.L. Swarts. May not be reprinted without permission.
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"Elongated Journey Into Night" Resurrects The Elongated Man . . . Poorly.

The Good: The performances are generally good, Danny Trejo's comic timing, Most of the special effects
The Bad: Poor use of humor, Very basic plot, Light on character development, Terrible continuity with the series.
The Basics: Tom Cavanaugh directs The Flash episode "Elongated Journey Into Night," which has its moments, but is hampered by a problematic script.

Every now and then, there is a surprise in the writing for The Flash that leaves attentive fans of the show scratching their heads. When the casting for "Elongated Journey Into Night" was announced, fans were left a bit miffed. After all, "Elongated Journey Into Night" includes Ralph Dibny. Dibny, while very popular in DC Comics as the mundane identity of the detective the Elongated Man, was almost-instantly written out of The Flash. In the first season of The Flash, Harrison Wells lists people who were killed or went missing in the White matter explosion at S.T.A.R. Labs and Dibny's name came right up. So, the immediate burden upon "Elongated Journey Into Night" is to explain how Ralph Dibny could pop up four years later, alive and well.

"Luck Be A Lady" (reviewed here!) seeded the a-plot of "Elongated Journey Into Night" by returning Gypsy to The Flash in a positive way. Given that the big hook for the The Flash Halloween episode is the appearance of Danny Trejo as Gypsy's father, Breacher, the return of Gypsy and illustrating romantic strain between Cisco Ramon and Gypsy was pretty essential to making Breacher's appearance at all relevant.

Cisco Ramon and Gypsy are having a romantic evening when Ramon is attacked by a breacher, who is Gyspy's father. At the Central City Police Department, Mayor Bellows uses an appearance for a photo op, right before Barry brings Joe up to speed about the bus that was affected by the dark matter when Barry was brought out of the Speed Force. Ramon brings Breacher to S.T.A.R. Labs, where Ramon pretends to be in charge. Ramon gets advice from Harry about relating to Breacher. Looking over the evidence for the bus case, Barry and Joe discover that Ralph Dibny might have been on the bus.

When thugs try to menace Ralph Dibny, they discover he is a metahuman with complete elasticity. Dibny is brought to S.T.A.R. Labs where Dr. Snow tries to treat him and his condition. While Breacher starts hunting Ramon, Barry investigates Dibny's office with Iris. Iris discovers a bomb and in rescuing her Barry learns that Dibny has been in contact with the mayor.

"Elongated Journey Into Night" continues The Flash with a generally-solid narrative for the serialized elements of the season. Barry Allen knows that he created twelve Metahumans when he came out of the Speed Force and the Dark Matter that was released when he was freed affected a busload of people. So, the fact that Barry is treating the hunt for the ten metahumans like he searched for his mother's killer is a good aspect of continuity for the show.

Ralph Dibny in "Elongated Journey Into Night" is a buffoon and a jerk. While the writers of "Elongated Journey Into Night" manage to infuse Ralph Dibny with the character's catch phrases and a sinister backstory with Barry Allen . . . that Iris West apparently never heard of, the character bears almost no resemblance to the character from the source material. Barry Allen characterizes Ralph Dibny as a villain and he is convinced that Dibny was a bad guy long before he became a metahuman. That is completely unlike the character in the DC Comic books.

Danny Trejo is the sole light in the humorless darkness that is "Elongated Journey Into Night." "Elongated Journey Into Night" tries to make a lot of jokes, usually pertaining to Ralph Dibny and his transformation into Elongated Man fall flat. The humor is surprisingly lowbrow and the physical humor is, sadly, lame. Trejo, though, executes the jokes he is given quite well.

Breacher's conflict with Cisco Ramon is unfortunately generic and feels repetitive for fans of The Flash. Joe West, Harry Wells, and now Breacher are all virtually-identical disapproving fathers for whom their instinct is to punish the men their daughters are interested in. It is played out on The Flash and it was played out well before "Elongated Journey Into Night." So, Breacher's conflict with Ramon falls almost as flat as Cavanaugh using The Flash to recreate a Quicksilver moment.

"Elongated Journey Into Night" does not satisfactorily explain how Ralph Dibny is even still alive - one has to assume it was a part of the Flashpoint-reset - but the lack of explanation feels sloppy, like Barry saving Iris by evacuating her from Dibny's office building instead of getting the bomb out. Did The Flash actually know there was no one else in the building when the bomb was about to explode or did he just not care?!

Hartley Sawyer does fine with his fast arc in transforming Ralph Dibny from a douchebag into a proto-hero, but the role is not a very complicated one. Such is the bane of "Elongated Journey Into Night;" it is not overly complicated or clever, even when it tries to be.

For other works with Danny Trejo, please check out my reviews of:
The Ridiculous 6
Anchorman: The Legend Of Ron Burgundy


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

© 2017 W.L. Swarts. May not be reprinted without permission.
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October 2017 End Of The Month Report!

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October was high-output month for the blog and it felt good to get back into reviewing quite a bit, especially of all sorts of new television works that allow the blog to remain relevant! We continued to be at the forefront of reviewing the new episodes of Star Trek: Discovery and have picked up the usual DC and Marvel Television Universe shows to keep continuity within the blog high!

We are adapting the Amazon product links as we reference old reviews now. Most of the links have been properly converted and the reviews now have the right products associated with them. We appreciate our readers sticking with us through Amazon reconfiguring, which is likely to continue to be ongoing for a bit longer!

This month, we picked up two new followers 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 on the blog, 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 and remembered to upload the changes, so the index pages were quite a bit more useful than in September! 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 and purchasing items. We really appreciate all the purchases made through the blog as that keeps us going. As holiday shopping picks up, if you're going shopping online, please come through the blog to to it. Thank you so much!

At the end of October 2017, I have reviewed the following:
590 - Book Reviews
with specialized index pages for:
Star Trek Books
Graphic Novels
959 - Music (Album and Singles) Reviews
with specialized index pages for:
Music Reviews By Rating (Best To Worst)
Music Reviews In Alphabetical Order
3338- - 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!)!
240 - 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
922 - 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
1064 - Food, Drink, And Restaurant Reviews
with specialized index pages for:
Cheese and Meats
Ice Cream
Other Food
285 - Pet Product Reviews
Cat Product Reviews
Dog Product Reviews
Rabbit Product Reviews
116 - Travel Reviews
Destinations Reviews
Hotels Reviews
231 - Health And Beauty Product Reviews
216 - Home, Garden, Appliance and Tool Reviews
109 - Electronics, Computers, Computer Games and Software Reviews
62 - Other Product Reviews

The Featured Review For The Month of October is my review of: The Queen City Diner in Allentown, PA!
Check it out!

The month of October was packed with new, highly-read reviews, especially for new television works! For October, the Top Ten Reviews of the month were:
10. "Luck Be A Lady" - The Flash
9. Man Of Steel
8. Rick And Morty - Season 3
7. "Magic To Make The Sanest Man Go Mad" - Star Trek: Discovery
6. "Girl Of Steel" - Supergirl
5. "Choose Your Pain" - Star Trek: Discovery
4. "The Butcher's Knife Cares Not For The Lamb's Cry" - Star Trek: Discovery
3. "Context Is For Kings" - Star Trek: Discovery
2. "The Flash Reborn" - The Flash
1. Stranger Things - Season 2

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 - 336 reviews
9s - 529 reviews
8s - 1020 reviews
7s - 1131 reviews
6s - 1058 reviews
5s - 1342 reviews
4s - 1008 reviews
3s - 788 reviews
2s - 387 reviews
1s - 257 reviews
0s - 129 reviews
No rating - 142 articles/postings

There was a decent amount of movement this month, but no new additions to the all time Top Ten Reviews, though for some wonderful reason people were reading our #1 review even more this month, allowing it to pull even further ahead! At the end of October 2017, the most popular reviews/articles are:
10. Oz The Great And Powerful
9. The Mortal Instruments: City Of Bone
8. Lemony Snicket's A Series Of Unfortunate Events - Season 1
7. Warm Bodies
6. Iron Man 3
5. Now You See Me
4. Tyler Perry's Temptation
3. The Burden Of Being Rogue One: A Star Wars Story
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!

© 2017 W.L. Swarts. May not be reprinted without permission.
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Generic Pirate Episode For Doctor Who: "The Curse Of The Black Spot"

The Good: Special effects, Early humor, Acting is as good as the writing
The Bad: No real character development, Dull plot, Poor writing
The Basics: "The Curse Of The Black Spot" makes a pirate episode for Doctor Who . . . which is pretty much the same as any other episode of Doctor Who with a creature that appears at first to be supernatural.

One of the interesting aspects of Doctor Who is that, as an episodic work that can go anywhere in time and space, the show has license to go anywhere it wants and it can do so fairly organically. So, if the show wants to do a circus episode, it can; if it wants to go to an underwater city next week, there it goes. Given the infinite potential range of Doctor Who, it is almost a surprise that it took the show so long to get to a pirate episode since it returned to television in 2005. The pirate episode is "The Curse Of The Black Spot" and while it might initially appear to be a divergence from Doctor Who, it does not take long before it falls into the very standard Doctor Who formula.

In other words, and there are no spoilers here, while there is initially something that appears supernatural, it turns out to be something alien. Anyone who has watched any five episodes of Doctor Who that have a creepy artifact or an apparent supernatural creature like a ghost, will recognize this as the formula. "The Curse Of The Black Spot" follows that formula very closely.

Opening with a rowboat full of pirates returning to their ship, the returning pirate is alarmed to learn that one of his crew was wounded. The wounded pirate has a black mark on his hand and almost immediately after the captain sees the mark, the song of the siren begins and the wounded pirate suddenly disappears. The Doctor, Amy and Rory appear in the ship and Captain Avery decides they must be stowaways. While The Doctor and Rory are threatened with walking the plank, Amy gets a sword and holds the five pirates at bay. When Amy cuts one of the pirates very minorly, a black spot appears on his hand and Rory is similarly wounded and marked. When The Siren begins singing, Rory gets wacky . . . and then the Siren appears to drag the two wounded men away. Amy manages to save Rory, but the other pirate dies.

After another pirate is killed, the survivors move to the armory because The Doctor realizes that the Siren can transport out of any water source and the magazine is the driest place on the ship. Inside the armory, Captain Avery discovers his own son has stown away. With his son so marked, Captain Avery and The Doctor set out to retrieve the TARDIS. While they are in the TARDIS, the other pirates mutiny against Avery to try to save themselves. But after the TARDIS disappears on its own, The Doctor realizes that the Siren can burst out of any reflective surface to kill. With only their wits, The Doctor and his friends must try to survive.

"The Curse Of The Black Spot" has The Doctor playing ridiculous right away and the humor starts very organically and cutely. But as the situation turns increasingly horrific, The Doctor's humor becomes terribly forced. What is far more irksome is the fact that The Doctor shows no care when Rory is marked for death. His jokes about death fall particularly flat when Rory is in mortal peril and he continues to act casual about it.

Karen Gillan is given a poor part to play in "The Curse Of The Black Spot." Amy seems more upset that the brainwashed Rory found the Siren attractive than she does by his imminent death. The problem is in the writing, but Gillan is unable to make the jokes land or the concern about something so trivial seem at all reasonable.

Hugh Bonneville makes Captain Avery into a credible captain and a reasonably well-rounded pirate. When Avery has to dump all his loot overboard, there is a moment when Bonneville uses his eyes to emote the moral dilemma going on in his character's mind where he weighs the crown vs. his son's life. It's a compelling moment and an exception to the rule of the episode.

Lily Cole plays the Siren and her job is basically to look as good as she does in the episode. She succeeds. The disappearing TARDIS feels very contrived in "The Curse Of The Black Spot" and the serialized element in the episode - Amy seeing the mysterious woman with the eye patch, who tries to reassure Amy, but ends up alarming her - stands out appropriately.

"The Curse Of The Black Spot" is more contrived and formulaic than it is ever engaging or impressive.

[Knowing that single episodes are an inefficient way to get episodes, it's worth looking into Doctor Who - The Complete Sixth Season on DVD or Blu-Ray, which is also a better economical choice than buying individual episodes. Read my review of the sophomore season of Matt Smith as The Doctor here!

For other works with Lily Cole, please visit my reviews of:
The Zero Theorem
Snow White And The Huntsman
The Imaginarium Of Doctor Parnassus


See how this episode stacks up against other episodes and seasons of Doctor Who by visiting my Doctor Who Review Index Page where the reviews are organized from best to worst!

© 2017 W.L. Swarts. May not be reprinted without permission.
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Happy Second Birthday Evie! It Turns Out She Likes Tiki Cat Tuna & Chicken Velvet Mousse!

The Good: Wonderful ingredients, Good nutrition, Even Evie likes it!
The Bad: Very expensive, No dental benefits
The Basics: Even Evie was willing to try the Tiki Cat Tuna & Chicken Pate cat food and the other two cats like it . . . a lot more than my wallet does!

Today is Evie, my tiny calico cat's, second birthday. After all these years, Halloween is something fun and celebratory for me again and today, I've tried to spend some extra time with my little girl. In an uncharacteristic move (given how little she actually enjoys wet cat food), I decided to give Evie a little wet food for her birthday. The pleasant surprise of the day was that Evie actually ate some of the Tiki Cat Tuna & Chicken Velvet Mousse and seemed to enjoy it, which was nice! While the Tiki Cat Tuna & Chicken Velvet Mousse is a bit expensive and does not have any real dental benefits for cats, the fact that all three of my cats actually will eat it is a big plus in the food's favor!


Tiki Cat Tuna & Chicken Velvet Mousse comes in a plastic 2.8 oz. single serve pouch, which is not resealable. Supposedly, all three of my cats for their weights and ages should eat one and a half pouches per day! Even on sale, that would be far too expensive for us to feed them this mousse that much each day. As well, because it is a wet cat food, the Tiki Cat Tuna & Chicken Velvet Mousse does not have any dental benefits that would encourage me to give the cats this each and every day to give them overall dental health.

Ease Of Preparation

The Tuna & Chicken Velvet Mousse opens up easily enough in the 2.8 oz. plastic pouch. The small plastic pouch as a top that easily pulls off. Opening the pouch reveals the food inside. Velvet Mousse Tuna & Chicken looks like pureed salmon or tuna, though it is pink and does not have fishy chunks in it. This cat food may be dispensed into a cat's food dish by squeezing the food out of the pouch or spooning it out.

Evie, Elim And Timber’s Reactions

The Tiki Cat Tuna & Chicken Velvet Mousse smells strongly fishy. The aroma from this mousse is fresh and realistic, completely embodying the promised tuna!

Elim and Timber both went pretty rapidly for the Tiki Cat Velvet Mousse Tuna & Chicken Cat Food. They not only tried this mousse, but they eagerly came back for it time and again. The real surprise of the Tiki Cat Tuna & Chicken Velvet Mousse was that Evie - who has almost always rejected wet cat foods - gave this a try and did not abandon it after her first taste. In fact, this might be the first wet food that Evie has favorably responded to and actually consumed as opposed to sniffed and avoided! All three of the cats had very fishy breath after tasting this cat food!


The Velvet Mousse Tuna & Chicken is very nutritious for cats and it has nothing noticeably bad in it. Considering that the primary ingredients are tuna broth, tuna and chicken, the Tiki Cat Velvet Mousse Tuna & Chicken Cat Food has quality ingredients enough to justify the price. According to the guaranteed analysis on the pouch, there is a minimum of 13% crude protein and 2% crude fat and no more than 1% crude fiber, 2% ash, and 80% moisture. This is food appears to be wheat-free and it most definitely requires refrigeration after it is opened!

I cannot afford to give Elim and Timber this each and every day, though Elim gets it quite often - especially since our local discount store started stocking it pretty regularly. Hard cat food has clear dental benefits that the Velvet Mousse Tuna & Chicken does not have. When the cats chew (to split into bite-sized pieces) their hard cat food, it scrapes plaque and tartar off their teeth. There is no such physical operation going on with this cat food.


Tiki Cat Velvet Mousse Tuna & Chicken is enjoyed by my cats, but not in an exceptional way that benefits their teeth or my wallet, making it a more average than incredible cat food.

For other cat foods, please visit my reviews of:
Friskies Gravy Swirlers Chicken And Salmon flavor cat food
Purina ONE Purposeful Nutrition Tender Selects Blend Cat Food
Iams Premium Protection Mature Cat Food


For other pet product reviews, please visit my Pet Review Index Page for an organized listing!

© 2017 W.L. Swarts. May not be reprinted without permission.
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Monday, October 30, 2017

"The Faithful" Explores The Consequences Of Supergirl Well!

The Good: Decent performances, Good themes, Clever resolution
The Bad: Pacing, Some of the technical details are a bit off
The Basics: Supergirl finds herself a reluctant deity for "The Faithful" in a generally good episode of Supergirl.

Supergirl has a lot going for it on the fundamentals. Despite being yet another super hero ensemble team show in the DC Television Universe, some of the characters in Supergirl have some genuine character conflicts and faults that could make for truly compelling television. But, for most of the episodes, Supergirl plays toward the masses with a light, fluffy, CW-type feel that keeps the show from ever getting too deep or two heavy . . . even when it is dealing with issues like genocide or (group) hatred (racism, homophobia, sexism, etc.). As "The Faithful" begins, Supergirl has been meandering into its third season without a decent sense that the show or its characters are going somewhere - the strongest elements of any of The CW's DC Television Universe shows tend to be the serialized ones, not the bottle episodes. "The Faithful" manages to do a good job of exploring its issue well and in a fairly adult manner as a Supergirl cult springs up in National City.

"The Faithful" follows on "Far From The Tree" (reviewed here!) and it is impossible to discuss the new episode without some reference to the prior one. After all, "Far From The Tree" found Samantha Arias coming to work at CatCo under Lena Luthor. While Alex has lied to Maggie about being okay with not wanting children, which also resonates into "The Faithful."

Flashing back to the plane whose near-crash led to Supergirl revealing herself, a drinking man criticizes the life a nearby - younger - passenger has. In the present day, Samantha is at her daughter's soccer game when she is approached by a woman who knows her daughter Ruby by name and gives her a pamphlet for a meeting. Kara sees the pamphlet when visiting Lena's office and she attempts to research the meeting it advertises. Kara, James, and Winn end up at the meeting of the Followers Of Rao (a Kryptonian god), which is led by the man from the plane. The room is filled with people Supergirl has saved, which leaves Kara unsettled.

At a girls' night in, Kara and her friends get to know Samantha better. During the event, Supergirl realizes there is a fire and a person who needs rescuing. In rescuing a young man from the fire, Kara learns that the Followers Of Rao are committing crimes in order to get rescued by Supergirl. When she attempts to interview the leader of the cult, Coville recognizes Kara as Supergirl. When Supergirl recognizes an object Coville gave her as Kryponian, she realizes that Coville has a probe from Krypton that he overloads in an attempt to bring thousands to his cause. With Kara poisoned by Kryptonite, Alex must rise to the occasion of saving the city.

"The Faithful" does a decent job of exploring how people can latch onto an idea or person and build a belief system around it. For a change, Supergirl does not pull its punches as the Followers Of Rao are characterized as zealots and hypocrites, willing to go against their beliefs to gain followers. "The Faithful" refocuses the third season of Supergirl by delivering some answers to lingering questions and satisfactorily infusing the new character (Samantha Arias) with some sense of importance and vitality. Sadly, Arias's importance only truly comes in at the climax of "The Faithful" and she is only tangentially-related to the a-plot.

The themes in "The Faithful" are important and well-executed, but the amount of attention paid to Kara is comparatively minor. In fact, the biggest emotional moment is an Alex moment and Chyler Leigh rocks it. Unfortunately for the larger arc of the third season of Supergirl, Alex's big moment is long-foreshadowed and telegraphed. Despite that, Chyler Leigh dominates the climax of "The Faithful."

Also odd in "The Faithful" is how the cult that springs up around Supergirl inexplicably does not shake Kara's faith in Rao. That seems like a pretty dramatic oversight on the character level within the episode.

It also seems odd that Coville can, apparently, read Kryptonian (albeit poorly) and that J'onn J'onzz sends Kara to deal with a Kryptonian probe instead of dealing with it himself. Why no one at the DEO would assume a probe from Krypton would have Kryptonite on it seems especially dense.

All that said, "The Faithful" does a good job of illustrating how destructive religion can be.

For other works with Carl Lumbly, please visit my reviews of:
Injustice: Gods Among Us


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

© 2017 W.L. Swarts. May not be reprinted without permission.
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Dry, Bitter, Delicious: Wild Ophelia Maine Sea Salt Peanut Butter Cups Deliver!

The Good: Good chocolate and peanut butter flavors, Great ingredients, Awesome corporate ethics, Good sea salt flavor
The Bad: Could use more sea salt, A little more expensive than other peanut butter cups with minimal differences
The Basics: The Wild Ophelia Maine Sea Salt Peanut Butter Cups are enjoyable, but they could use a little more sea salt in the chocolate to truly make them pop.

Every now and then, I encounter a product that has a good idea and it does not quite break through to fully realize that good idea. Wild Ophelia Maine Sea Salt Peanut Butter Cups are certainly one of those products. Wild Ophelia does a lot right (and it's a pretty great company!), but the two peanut butter cups by the company I have so far tried have not truly blown me away. The Wild Ophelia Maine Sea Salt Peanut Butter Cups are good, but for having the dual gimmicks of dark chocolate for the cups and sea salt, the sea salt is not actually prevalent or distinct enough to land the concept. Despite that, the Wild Ophelia Maine Sea Salt Peanut Butter Cups are quite good!


Wild Ophelia Maine Sea Salt Peanut Butter Cups are a fairly new candy. The Wild Ophelia Maine Sea Salt Peanut Butter Cups are like mini-candy cups. They come as a quartet of treats on a thin cardboard tray. The 1.37 oz. package houses four candies which are each 1"in diameter and 5/8" tall, shaped like a traditional peanut butter cup.

Ease Of Preparation

These are candy, so preparing them is as simple as opening the wrapper, removing it from the cardboard tray, and then eating the candy. There is no trick or mystery to eating Wild Ophelia Maine Sea Salt Peanut Butter Cups. The Maine Sea Salt Peanut Butter Cups are a ready-to-consume candy.


The Wild Ophelia Maine Sea Salt Peanut Butter Cups explode with the aroma of peanut butter. The scent from these chocolates is that of fresh roasted peanuts and it is very inviting. There is almost no hint of the chocolate in the bouquet from the Wild Ophelia Maine Sea Salt Peanut Butter Cups.

In the mouth, the Maine Sea Salt Peanut Butter Cups taste sweet and chocolatey. For being a dark chocolate, the Wild Ophelia Maine Sea Salt Peanut Butter Cups start quite sweet, before they transition to a dry, dark chocolate flavor. The dryness of the Wild Ophelia Maine Sea Salt Peanut Butter Cups continues with the peanut butter when the bitter chocolate shell of the cups is broken.

The Wild Ophelia Maine Sea Salt Peanut Butter Cups leave a dry, but sweet, aftertaste in the mouth after the last of the candies are consumed; it is not an unpleasant aftertaste and it does not last very long in the mouth.


Wild Ophelia Maine Sea Salt Peanut Butter Cups are comparatively good on the nutrition front, which is unsurprising given how good the ingredients in this chocolate are. The primary ingredients are Fair Trade Bittersweet Chocolate, peanut butter, and powdered sugar. There is nothing unpronounable in these candies; everything in them is easily identified, like sea salt.

A serving of the Wild Ophelia Maine Sea Salt Peanut Butter Cups is considered one package (four peanut butter cups). From a single package, Wild Ophelia Maine Sea Salt Peanut Butter Cups provides 220 calories, 150 of which are from the 17 grams of fat. There is 1% of the RDA of cholesterol and 50 mg of sodium. There is 4% of one's daily Calcium in the Cups, as well as 15% of the RDA of Iron.

These are not Vegan-compliant, nor are they recommended for anyone with a nut allergy as they are produced on equipment that processes tree nuts and the cups contain actual peanuts! They are not noted to be kosher, though they are gluten-free and made using Non-GMO ingredients. There are allergy warnings for milk, tree nuts, peanuts and soy.


The package of these Wild Ophelia Maine Sea Salt Peanut Butter Cups remain fresh for quite some time. The ones my wife got me for my birthday would have expired on May 31, 2018, had we not eaten all of the cups up already. Given that they are wrapped in a very sealed package, it is hard to imagine just what it would take for these to go bad outside melting and refreezing. These Wild Ophelia chocolates do not seem very susceptible to melting.

As for cleanup, just throw the wrappers away in the trash and you're done! There is no real cleanup needed unless one is eating them in a hot environment. In that circumstance, it is likely one would need to wash their hands. If this chocolate melts into most fabrics, it will stain, which is a legitimate concern, but dark chocolate does not melt very easily.


Wild Ophelia Maine Sea Salt Peanut Butter Cups are flavorful and nice, but they do not have enough sea salt in the chocolate or center to sell the consumer on the concept fully.

For other Wild Ophelia candy reviews, please check out my reviews of:
Cold Brew Sea Salt Caramel Latte Chocolate Coffee Bites
Wild Ophelia Caramelized Banana Peanut Butter Cups
District 12 Mining The Hunger Games: Catching Fire Mined Salt And Milk Chocolate Bar


For other candy reviews, please visit my Candy Review Index Page for an organized listing!

© 2017 W.L. Swarts. May not be reprinted without permission.
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Sunday, October 29, 2017

Harry Mudd And The Time Turner: "Magic To Make The Sanest Man Go Mad"

The Good: The acting is fine
The Bad: Humor falls flat, Neglect of organic character traits, Forced character problems, Recycled plot, Particularly lame macguffin to justify the plot
The Basics: Star Trek: Discovery seems to use up its budget on the long title when Harry Mudd returns in the "Cause And Effect" rewrite "Magic To Make The Sanest Man Go Mad."

One of the real issues with making a prequel series in a well-established franchise is there is an immense potential to undermine the works that were previously-created, but come after within the canon of the franchise. Doing a prequel right means that the creators have to come up with entirely new material that is not even tangential to what has come before. The reason behind this is simple; if the ship in the prequel survives whatever phenomenon it encounters and manages to survive the series without its entire run being undone, the logical questions fans would have for any repeated phenomenon later on in the series would be "Why didn't the computer [or Data or another character who studied StarFleet history] recognize the phenomenon they were encountering as identical or similar to the one experienced by [insert name of prequel ship/crew]?" With the Star Trek franchise in the hands of people who have no apparent care for continuity, Star Trek: Discovery continues to do whatever its creators want without any reasonable expectation that it will satisfactorily address fan concerns about how the show relates to all that comes after it. So, with the Star Trek: Discovery episode "Magic To Make The Sanest Man Go Mad," it is hard for fans of the franchise not to see it as a half-assed rewrite of the Star Trek: The Next Generation episode "Cause And Effect" (reviewed here!).

"Magic To Make The Sanest Man Go Mad" follows up on both "Lethe"(reviewed here!) and "Choose Your Pain" (reviewed here!). The most instant connection between the prior episodes is that Burnham has a relationship with Ash Tyler now and Harry Mudd returns.

Specialist Michael Burnham begins to bond with Tilly and Ash Tyler in advance of a party. Burnham feels like an outsider at the party and she is rescued from the awkward interaction when she and Tyler are called to the Bridge. En route, she runs into Stamets, who has become weird as a result of his interfacing with the Spore Displacement Drive. On the bridge, Saru recognizes an alien life form outside the ship as an endangered species. Burnham convinces Lorca to take the giant life form aboard and Harry Mudd comes out of the creature and kills a number of people before he contacts the Bridge. Mudd then destroys the Discovery, before creating a time loop.

When Tyler and Burnham are called away from the party again, the Discovery encounters the Gormegander after Stamets mentions one in the hallway. Mudd beams into Engineering where he tries to take control of the Spore Drive to sell Discovery to the Klingons. While Stamets is able to kill Mudd, the time loop reboots. The next time through the loop, Mudd captures Lorca and reveals that he has killed Lorca 53 times before. Stamets continues to reach out to Burnham to try to stop Harry Mudd from learning how to access the Spore Drive.

"Magic To Make The Sanest Man Go Mad" is what happens when Star Trek attempts to chase after the frat boy demographic. The party on the Discovery is very drunk college guy style and the lowbrow nature of it is embodied (surprisingly well) by Mary Wiseman as Sylvia Tilly acting like a drunk sorority girl.

The macguffin in "Magic To Make The Sanest Man Go Mad" is a Time Crystal, which is a ridiculous new magic crystal, which allows Mudd to create time loops. Burnham has heard of these magic crystals from the Vulcan Science Academy . . . which in the continuity of Star Trek: Enterprise did not believe in time travel. For sure, in Star Trek: Enterprise, the Vulcans were given irrefutable proof of time travel, but the viewer of "Magic To Make The Sanest Man Go Mad" is expected to believe that Vulcan scientists not only accepted that time travel was real, but they managed to discover artifacts of immense power, like the Time Crystal.

Fans of Star Trek are less likely to be upset by the plot of "Cause And Effect" being reused as a malicious device for the episode than the fact that Harry Mudd in this incarnation is characterized as malicious and murderous as opposed to the low-grade buffoon he was in the original Star Trek. Rainn Wilson does fine with the material he is given, but the character is written entirely differently from the one established in Star Trek. But, just as fans of Star Trek: The Next Generation might wonder how the crew of the Enterprise-D did not do a thorough search for a Time Crystal, they are likely to wonder why the hell Harry Mudd would have ever done another caper without acquiring another Time Crystal first.

As for the original aspects of Star Trek: Discovery, Lt. Saru is once again completely undermined in "Magic To Make The Sanest Man Go Mad." For an alien race that is entirely geared around sensing death and personal menace, the fact that Saru's "threat ganglion" are not going berserk in the episode makes no rational sense.

But, sensibility is not the hallmark of "Magic To Make The Sanest Man Go Mad" or Star Trek: Discovery. "Magic To Make The Sanest Man Go Mad" continues to characterize Michael Burnham as a forced outsider; a human who acts like a Vulcan for no clear reason (she was raised by a liberal Vulcan and a human after being rescued when her human parents were killed . . . but has been around humans for at least seven and a half years - more if she actually attended StarFleet Academy). Her rediscovery of human emotions is almost as problematic as Saru's threat ganglion not making an appearance even when Harry Mudd walks onto the bridge and kills Lorca in front of him.

The humor in "Magic To Make The Sanest Man Go Mad" falls universally flat and the attempts at the humor continue the episode's tone like the show is chasing after an audience nowhere near as smart as the Star Trek demographic.


For other Star Trek episode, movie, and seasons, please check out my comprehensive Star Trek Review Index Page!

© 2017 W.L. Swarts. May not be reprinted without permission.
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Taza Coffee Dark Chocolate Mexicano Perfectly Blends Both Promised Flavors!

The Good: Wonderful ingredients, Amazing flavor, Quality justifies the price!
The Bad: Nothing that I can find!
The Basics: Taza Coffee Dark Chocolate Mexicano is flavorful and a great balance between both of the promised flavors, making it well worth picking up!

I am on a pretty constant quest for perfect chocolates. Even when I find something that I rate as perfect, I do not stop enjoying other chocolates, but should I ever give up my reviewing, the odds are that my cupboard would be completely filled with the 10/10 rated chocolates I have reviewed over the years. I now have to make room for a new one, a dark chocolate and coffee blend that easily achieved perfection. That is the Taza Coffee Dark Chocolate Mexicano and they are quite remarkable. And, long before I have to stock up on perfect chocolates, I will restock my cupboard with these chocolate discs!


Taza is an premium chocolatier that is making Mexican-style stone ground chocolate in . . . Massachusetts?! The Coffee Dark Chocolate Mexicano is a high-quality chocolate that I was lucky enough to find inexpensively at my local discount store.

The Coffee Dark Chocolate Mexicano comes as two discs (2.7 oz. total) that are paper-wrapped together and packaged inside a cardboard wrapper. The whole disc is presented as a 3” in diameter by 5/16” thick slightly segmented chocolate disc. The segments do not snap apart evenly. This makes the Coffee Dark Chocolate Mexicano generally easy to portion out to have less than a full serving, which is nice for those who might be watching their waistline!

Ease Of Preparation

Eating Taza Coffee Dark Chocolate Mexicano is not a real challenge. After removing the cardboard and the paper wrappers, simply pull out the disc or break a segment off and stick it in your mouth. There is no particularly complicated equation to eating these chocolates. This is an entirely ready-to-eat food . . . unless one wants to make it into a hot cocoa!

The hot chocolate version of the Taza Coffee Dark Chocolate requires milk and uses both discs in a package. One needs to grind up both discs of the chocolate and stir it into the simmering milk. Honestly, I've yet to make up some of this flavor as a cocoa.


Unwrapping the dark chocolate bar, the smell of dark chocolate is potent and pure. The Coffee Dark Chocolate Bar smells almost exclusively of the chocolate, as opposed to coffee.

The Coffee Dark Chocolate is predictably solid dark chocolate. The Taza Coffee Dark Chocolate Mexicano is chocolate is potent and dark flavored and dominates the front half of the flavor palate. By the time the coffee manifests as a crispy texture in the mouth, the flavor of deep roasted coffee is blending with the flavor of dark chocolate. This might well be the perfect blend of dark chocolate and coffee flavors; neither one overwhelms the other and each flavor holds its own and the two flavors mix well with one another.

There is a strong, bitter coffee aftertaste in the mouth left by the Dark Chocolate Mexicano after the last of it is consumed. The Taza Dark Chocolate Mexicano leaves an aftertaste in the mouth for about three minutes and while it is bitter and strong (especially for an aftertaste), it is not unpleasant for anyone who truly loves dark chocolate or coffee.


Taza chocolates are intended as a dessert product, so anyone attempting to live off them is proceeding under a ridiculous premise! Each 38 gram disc of Coffee Dark Chocolate Mexicano represent a single serving of the chocolate. Made primarily of organic cacao beans, organic cane sugar and organic coffee beans, there are no unpronounceable ingredients in this chocolate. They were produced on equipment that forces them to add a disclaimer about almonds, coconuts, and hazelnuts. The Taza Coffee Dark Chocolate Mexicano are marked as both gluten free and Vegan-compliant, as well as Soy Free.

Taza's Coffee Dark Chocolate Mexicano have 210 calories in a one-disc serving, 110 of which are from fat. A full serving represents 35% of one's RDA of saturated fat, but they are cholesterol-free. There is a minimal anount of sodium in these Dark Chocolate Mexicano Coffee chocolates and there are 3 grams of protein. These are not a significant source of any vitamins or minerals, though they do have 1% of one’s daily calcium and 4% of the RDA of Iron.


As a chocolate, Taza Coffee Dark Chocolate Mexicano are fine as long as they are stored below 65 degrees Fahrenheit. The packager I picked up two weeks ago had an expiration date of April 7, 2018. Given that mine are gone already, I cannot comment on how well they endure as they come closer to the expiration date.

If, however, they melt, they will stain. Consult your fabric guide if they melt as dark chocolate can be a bear to clean up when melted into light fabrics. Otherwise, cleanup is simply throwing the paper wrapper away when you are done with the chocolate bar.


Taza Coffee Dark Chocolate Mexicano perfectly embodies both of its promised flavors, making for an ideal blend for anyone who loves dark chocolate or coffee.

For other reviews of other chocolates, please check out:
Awake Caffeinated Milk Chocolate candy bar
Wild Ophelia Cold Brew Sea Salt Caramel Latte Chocolate Coffee Bites
Cachet Lemon & Black Pepper Dark Chocolate Bars


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

© 2017 W.L. Swarts. May not be reprinted without permission.
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"Strange Visitor From Another Planet" Is Average Supergirl

The Good: Good performances from Melissa Benoist and David Harewood, Moments of character
The Bad: Very basic plot, Lack of realistic and lasting consequences.
The Basics: "Strange Visitor From Another Planet" is a fairly basic Supergirl shapeshifter episode that blends an internal conflict with Cat Grant and J'onn J'onzz awkwardly.

The DC Television Universe is, in some ways, hampered by its own sense of concepts. Most of the shows in the "Berlantiverse" are team-oriented, Villain Of The Week works with a serialized element that builds a season's primary antagonist. It is somewhat formulaic, especially considering that the Villain Of The Week is very specific to the show - Arrow has the criminal of the week, The Flash has Metahuman Of The Week, Legends Of Tomorrow goes with "Temporal Anomaly" Of The Week, and Supergirl began as a series that was, largely, Alien Of The Week. The problem with such a formulaic nature across the various DC Television Universe shows is that the X Of The Week often possesses some measure of overlap. In other words, it doesn't so much matter if it is Metahuman or Alien of the week when the hero is confronting a shapeshifter, electricity-manipulating entity or one that drains the heroes of their powers. Supergirl, in many ways, drew the conceptual short straw of the series' based simply on being produced last. "Strange Visitor From Another Planet" gives viewers yet another shapeshifter villain and, because the show is Supergirl, it is an alien.

"Strange Visitor From Another Planet" picks up after "Childish Things" (reviewed here!), but it picks up more elements from "Blood Bonds" (reviewed here!) than its immediate predecessor. It is impossible to discuss without some references to the season's big revelations that came in prior episodes. After all, Cat Grant suddenly has a new son, Lucy Lane is working for CatCo, and the anti-alien agenda is rising while Hank Henshaw wrestles with actually being J'onn J'onzz - the Martian Manhunter. In "Strange Visitor From Another Planet" the White Martians become a real threat on Supergirl, which menaces both National City and J'onzz.

After Kara rescues a family from a forest fire, she returns to National City where she laments the emotional distance she now has from Winn, who told her he loves her. While Cat Grant is surprised by her older, abandoned, son Adam Foster coming to CatCo, National City is visited by the anti-alien Senator Miranda Crane. When Crane's rally is interrupted by an attack by White Martians, Supergirl has to rescue Miranda Crane and extract her to the DEO. While Cat Grant struggles through a meal with her son, James Olsen and Kara go over hit photographs of the rally and realize there is a "tell" for the shape-shifting White Martians and that Senator Crane might have been replaced by a White Martian. At the DEO, Crane reveals herself to be a White Martian and attacks J'onn.

When Adam Foster rejects Cat and her clumsy attempt to relate to her adult son, Foster rejects Grant. Grant turns to Kara to step in and Kara tries to broker a relationship between the two. When the search for the White Martian leads to the sewers, Alex is captured by the White Martians and Kara and J'onn have to rescue her.

"Strange Visitor From Another Planet" has some weird plot issues, first and foremost being that Kara has to be called by James Olsen to come save Crane from the White Martian attack in the teaser. Why the D.E.O. and Supergirl would assume that violence or a problem would not break out at a rally for a bigot seems tragically naive. Director Glen Winter assumes viewers are idiots when Kara and Olsen recognize that the photographs Olsen took imply that Crane is a White Martian, then cut to Crane for a flash of her eyes going white to confirm it. That is lazy and insults the audience. In a similar way, why the DEO uses open comms in "Strange Visitor From Another Planet" which allows the White Martian to get the drop on Alex Danvers.

Cat Grant and Kara have an interesting relationship in "Strange Visitor From Another Planet." Grant immediately fires Kara when she realizes that Kara finished her letter and sent it to Adam, which is a realistic kneejerk reaction, but she does not stick to it. Kara manages to talk her way back into her job by pointing out how she would jump to have a conversation with her own mother, who has died. Kara attempts to prep Cat for a dinner with Adam, but is rebuked . . . but when Cat later complains to her about how Kara sent her in unprepared, Kara does not point out that she tried and Grant is being churlish. The relationship between estranged son and mother is actually an interesting one, but the tragedy of "Strange Visitor From Another Planet" is that trying to be honest with Foster does not fundamentally change the nature of Grant and Kara's relationship . . . or put Grant on a more interesting and honest path.

The D.E.O. plot is a pretty standard Alien Of The Week/shapeshifter plot. Alex Danvers struggles to help Hank Henshaw and keep him on mission. J'onn J'onzz reveals the Martian Holocaust to Danvers and his honesty is tempered with the knowledge that if he is involved in tracking down the White Martian, he will draw out the White Martian. That comes to pass almost immediately, but instead of keeping J'onzz off the table and letting a human rise to the occasion, J'onn J'onzz exposes himself to the White Martians. That mistake haunts J'onzz well into the third season, but it also establishes a forced "no kill" rule that is quickly swept aside in the face of larger battle sequences on Supergirl. "Strange Visitor From Another Planet" throws down the gauntlet between Earth and the White Martians, but the payoff still has not come, despite there being a number of fast transports between Earth and Mars in the Supergirl universe.

Melissa Benoist is quite good in "Strange Visitor From Another Planet." Danvers struggles in "Strange Visitor From Another Planet" with negotiating between Cat Grant and Adam Foster. Benoist finds the right balance between being flirtatious with Blake Jenner (Foster) and expressing deep and genuine emotions with Calista Flockhart's Grant. Benoist is emotive and portrays a genuine quality that is uncommon for what she is given to play on Supergirl.

Tawny Cypress is fine in the dual roles of Miranda Crane and the White Martian. Unfortunately for Cypress, she is not given the chance to make Crane into a well-developed adversary before she is undermined. In other words, it is hardly a dramatic transformation or a great expression of Cypress's range to do one inflammatory speech, then change the character into a reformed bigot. Cypress handles the physical performance of playing - essentially - an action hero well during that portion of "Strange Visitor From Another Planet."

The two big emotional journeys in "Strange Visitor From Another Planet" are robbed by the script. J'onn J'onzz makes a profound and personal revelation and blending his plotline with a somewhat more melodramatic arc for Cat Grant and her son. Similarly, Cat Grant's arc with Adam Foster is robbed of some of its importance - as is Kara's arc as a negotiator between the two - when Grant does not have any significant or fundamental changes as a result of her meeting and accepting her estranged son back in her life.

The result, ultimately, is that "Strange Visitor From Another Planet" is an average episode of Supergirl without the extraordinary moments the show seems to be building to.

For other works with Tawny Cypress, please visit my reviews of:
House Of Cards - Season 1
Heroes - Season 1
World Trade Center


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

© 2017 W.L. Swarts. May not be reprinted without permission.
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