Game of Thrones- Season 5, Episode 2: The House of Black and White (Review/Recap)

Frustrating as she may be, at least Emo Sansa is still more badass than Emo Spider-Man.

It’s Tuesday, and we all now what that means…

That’s right! I’m two days late with the Game of Thrones post again! In the interest of getting right into it, let’s, uh, get right to it!

SPOILER ALERT….OBVIOUSLY

King’s Landing 

Cersei and Jaime, still reeling from Tywin’s death, receive a dire warning from Dorne, the southernmost region of Westeros, which has lost its prince, Oberyn Martell, to the trial by combat that plunged many GoT fans into unfathomable depression.

“JESUS H. FUCK, NO!!!!!!!”– Me, about a year ago.

Oberyn’s wife and daughters, the Sand Snakes, have a small viper statue with a necklace in its fangs. Cersei tells Jaime that the necklace belongs to their daughter (Gross), Myrcella, who was sent to Dorne by Tyrion in order to marry some prince, or whatever. Feeling a twinge of… something for Cersei, Jaime offers to go to Dorne in order to take her away from the beautiful climate, progressive attitudes towards women and general pleasantness of that country in order to bring her back to the squalor, corruption and flat-out misogyny of King’s Landing. I don’t know about you, but that seems like a good idea to me!!!

Where this scene gets real good, though is when we discover who Jaime’s travelling partner is….BRONN!!! I FUCKING LOVE BRONN!!!! OHMIGOD, JAMIE AND BRONN ARE GONNA BE TRAVEL BUDDIES!?!?!?! THIS IS THE BEST NEWS EVER!!!!

….

One of them’s gonna die horribly, aren’t they?

Anyways, what’s PsychoBitch doing while Jaime and Bronn are having their playdate? Well, she’s attending to a couple of hunters who are trying to trick her into thinking that the head of some random dwarf they murdered is the head of Tyrion Lannister. God, Westeros is just the fucking worst.

Uncharacteristically, Cersei shows mercy towards the hunters (I’m sure the dead dwarf would appreciate that), and gives the head of the dwarf to Maester (Sort of) Qyburn, who I’m pretty sure is Westeros’ equivalent of Josef Mengele. During a Small Council meeting, she appoints Mace Tyrell Master of Coin and Qyburn Master of Whisperers (Much to Grand Fuckface Pycelle’s dismay). She tries to appoint her uncle Kevan to the position of Master of War, but he not-so-respectfully declines, calling the rest of the Council members sycophants and demanding that King Tommen appoint him himself. Fuckin’ A, Kevan!

The Wall

Gilly is being tutored by Stannis Baratheon’s daughter, which is cool, whatever. Also, Stannis chastises Jon for mercy-killing Mance Rayder, andtries to recruit Jon to his cause, even offering to name him Jon Stark, which, all due respect to Cathryn Stark, should’ve probably been done ages ago. Being the badass that he is, though Jon tells Sam right before the election that he’s gonna decline Stannis’ author, because fuck Stannis, fuck the Red Woman, and fuck Stannis’ creepy wife, that’s why.

Also, Jon gets elected Lord Commander of the Night’s Watch, which is probably going to end poorly, but hey, for the moment, Fuckin’ A Jon!!!

The Vale

The Dynamic Duo (Podrick Payne and Brienne of Tarth) trudge on, eventually ending up in some shithole pub where, surprise, surprise, Sansa and Littlefinger are also hanging out! Remembering her mission, Brienne awesomely confronts Littlefinger, who, being Littlefinger, acts like a giant prick.

My day isn’t complete without imagining Ned Stark wringing his goddamn neck.

Sansa, being Sansa, acts like a brat and rebuffs her, leading to Brienne murdering several of Littlefinger’s men and escaping with Podrick into the woods. Like the badass she is, she resolves to get Sansa out of the clutches of Littlefinger, whether Sansa wants it or no. Fuckin’ A, Brienne!!!

Braavos

The biggest Fuckin’ A of all goes out to Arya, because she is Arya fucking Stark, and she doesn’t have time for some pissant thief’s bullshit.

Dorne

Ellaria Sand kinda seems like a hateful bitch. I totally get being pissed, but killing Myrcella, of all people? Jesus.

Across the Narrow Sea

Tyrion doesn’t get much screen time this time around, but hey, I can’t complain.

Meereen

Noted Dickhead Daario Naharis finds one of the members of the Sons of the Harpy, the anti-Mhysa resistance movement who have been murdering the Unsullied. While emancipated slave Mossador suggests he be killed outright, Ser Barristan reminds Danearys of the behaviour of her shitheel of a father, and she wisely decides to let the Son of the Harpy have a fair trial. However, this being the Game of Thrones world, Mossador fucks it up for her, murdering the S.o.H. in his cell. When Daenarys executes Mossador publicly, the unwashed masses turn on her in a really terrifying fashion, and she was to flee back into her castle.

Boy, it’s hard to do the right thing in this show.

Finally, Dani sees Drogon (The giant black dragon) and tries to reconnect, but he flies away like the ungrateful little brat that he is. He’s Dragon Sansa, is what I’m trying to say.

Overall: Fuckin’ A.

Rating: 8.5/10

Game of Thrones- Season 5, Episode 1: The Wars to Come (Recap/Review)

Drunken cynicism has never looked so good.

OHMYGODOHMYGODOHMYGODOHMYGOD!!!!!!!! IT’S BACK!!!!!!! PRAISE JEEBUS, IT’S BACK!!!!!

You may not have guessed, but I’m excited for Game of Thrones. It is probably my all-time favourite TV show, ahead of such masterpieces as Breaking Bad, Avatar: The Last Airbender and Pokemon: Indigo League.

In case you’re wondering, yes, I know I don’t watch enough TV.

Since the fifth season premiered on Monday, I’ve decided to do a fairly quick review and recap of each episode. Or, rather, every scene from the episode (Since I’m gonna be here all fucking day if I try to repeat what I did when I tried to review Gotham and Flash).

Also, this will have SPOILERS, so if you haven’t watched the episode or caught up, I encourage you to do so and will accept zero responsibility if  details get spoiled for you.

..Yeah. That’s it. Let’s get going.

25 Years Ago

A young blonde girl and her friend visit a fortune teller. But who is this mysterious girl? Perhaps her dialogue will give us some hint of – Oh, she’s being an entitled bitch? Then it’s probably Cersei.

Cersei demands to know her future (Which, as we know, always ends well), and, after a pretty bizarre ritual that involves a grown woman sucking on a 12-year old’s bleeding finger, the fortune teller tells Cersei that she will marry not the prince, but the king (Check), she will have three children while the king will have twenty (Check), and while all of her children will wear golden crowns, they will die in golden shrouds (I’m fine with 1/3 of that part coming true, frankly).

Finally, the fortune teller foresees that Cersei will eventually be cast out by a younger, more beautiful queen, which is a bit Snow White-esque, but whatever, make it happen, Margaery!

Margaery Tyrell can cast me out whenever she wants. I don’t know what “cast out” means.

King’s Landing

In the Sept of Baelor, Cersei and Jaime Lannister pay their respects to their dead asshole of a father, who is sporting the always popular “stone eyeball” look.

Whatever. Joffrey wore it better.

Cersei chastises Jaime for letting Tyrion escape from prison, which, awesomely, led to Tywin’s murder. Jaime looks mopey, but doesn’t do or say all that much, as the writers probably caught wind of the fan reaction to his previous hijinks at a family member’s grave.

At the wake, Cersei meets her ex-lover/cousin, Lancel (The curly-haired little shit who was Robert Baratheon’s squire), who has joined a religious cult known as the Sparrows. During their conversation, it is heavily suggested that Lancel poisoned Robert’s wine under Cersei’s orders way the hell back in season one. Cersei denies this but, honestly, if Cersei isn’t at the very top of your list of suspects, then you haven’t been paying attention.

Elsewhere, Cersei’s fiancee, Ser Loras Tyrell hangs out with his boyfriend (There’s a hackneyed joke about marriage somewhere in there) and is maybe plotting with Margaery to kill Cersei? Sure, why not!!!???

Pentos

Tyrion Lannister and Varys arrive in Pentos after hightailing it out of there. Tyrion has looked better both physically and mentally, having sunk into a drunken depression (Admittedly, I’d feel pretty shitty about myself after strangling my traitorous ex-girlfriend after learning she was schtupping my dad, who I then murdered on the john). Varys reveals that he has been supporting Daenarys Targaryen’s claim to the throne, to virtually no one’s surprise. After much delicious verbal sparring, Tyrion agrees to go meet the Khaleesi (Is she still being called that?).

Slaver’s Bay

One of the Unsullied, expecting a nice, relaxing, uh, lullaby with a hooker gets his throat cut by said hooker, as a fucking creepy masked figure watches on.

“You. Reader. I can hear your flesh screaming to be liberated from your body.”

Meanwhile, Dani is taking a page from the ISIS textbook by destroying the giant idol on the city’s pyramid. That’ll probably end well for her.

To her credit, she denies the Masters of Yunkai’s request to bring back the fighting arenas. Then, she allows Recast McFuckface to change her mind after he gives her some sob story about him growing up there. Fuck Daario Naharis. I hope the creepy mask guy gets him next.

Full disclosure: I actually really like the “new” Daario Naharis actor. I just think Daario Naharis is a dick.

At Daario’s suggestion, Dani tries to reconnect with her two dragons, who she’s kept locked up in a dark, dank underground area for god knows how long. The reunion goes about as well as one would expect.

In the Vale

Ha. Robin Arryn fucking sucks.

Also, Sansa, Littlefinger, something something.

At the Wall

Melisandre  summons Jon Snow, although not for a creepy religious fuckfest, thank god. No, instead, she takes him to her pawn  liege, Stannis Baratheon, who commisions him to try to convince Mance Rayder, the imprisoned leader of the wildlings, to help him re-take the North from the Boltons. As one would expect, Rayder tells him to go fuck himself in the most respectful, yet also badass way possible.

Ciaran Hinds is fucking fantastic, by the way.

As is par for the course at this point, Mance is sentenced to be burned alive in a religious ritual that is pretty disturbing, given how much I came to care for the guy in the episode. Thankfully, Jon, being the beautiful, beautiful man that he is, grants him a quick, painless death via arrow to the heart.

Overall: If you’ve been following Game of Thrones since the beginning, you know that some episodes, while still great, are more or less only there to build up the events to come. This is one of them.

8/10

This kid better be the next one to bite it.

Gotham- “Viper”, “Spirit of the Goat”, “Penguin’s Umbrella” and “The Mask”

Suddenly, the show’s representation of Victor Zsasz looks positively adorable.

Nope, won’t have time for the blurb, let’s get straight to my ratings.

“Viper”- 2.5/5

Spirit of the Goat”- 3.5/5

“Penguin’s Umbrella”- 4/5

“The Mask”- 4/5

Huh. Gotham has finally managed to put together a short streak of not only decent, but genuinely good episodes? There may yet be hope of me going on to review season two!!!!

Also, sorry about the half-assed post, but four episodes is a ton to write about I tried several different drafts, but none of them were panning out, so I’ll just timidly shrink back to the “one review every two weeks” format (That goes for The Flash and Korra as well).

I’ve also finished a rough draft of something brand new (That isn’t a goddamn review) that I’m really excited to put out there. Not that I don’t love doing reviews, but if anybody read this blog, I bet they would be tired of reviews at this point, and… Yeah, I’d be lying if I said they’re the thing I most look forward to upon waking up in the morning.

bf7d3-deathlist2b5

By the way, this photo is your one hint about what’s coming up next (Besides reviews, I mean).

 

The Legend of Korra Reviews- “The Coronation”, “The Calling” and ” Enemy at the Gates”

I need this made into a t-shirt. Like right now.

All right, I’m assuming everybody reading this has watched the three most recent Korra episodes, because, I mean, what the hell would you be reading this for if you hadn’t? So, instead of doing my usual blurb about the pot, I’m just going to do a point form list of anything that interested me about the three episodes. Starting with the coolest character this show has had:

  • Toph Beifong is a freaking badass. Even at age 100 or whatever, she is still so damn cool. I’ve never been a giant fan of her “twinkle toes” catchphrase, because I find that really juvenile (I know, I know, it’s a kids’ show), but otherwise, she acts just like she did when she was a kid, unlike Katara, who is basically just filling the stock roles of “wise old lady” and “convenient healer” whenever she appears. Also, kudos to the voice actress (Philece Sampler) for really making the character sound like she did when she was twelve, except, you know, old. I do hope she comes back later in the season, I think it’d be real cool to have her beat the crap out of Kuvira. Or anybody, really.
  • So, Kuvira turned out to be the bad guy,to absolutely no one’s surprise. Continuing the trend in Korra of having villains that aren’t just blubbering madmen, Kuvira is…. Unsavoury, but she does make some good points. Yeah, the uniting of the Earth Kingdom is a good idea, and it’s probably best that technology and a progress are prioritized over an outdated, unegalitarian monarchy, and yes, the Earth Empire does reward the territories it unites with food, prosperity, etc. So yeah, Kuvira does seem like a pretty legit ruler… Until you realize that you just justified the aggression of this world’s equivalent of Hitler or Mussolini.

Erde Reich über alles!!!

  • Yeah, as good as those things are, replacing an indifferent monarch with a super-controlling fascist is really not the best move you can make. Speaking of which, I really liked Prince Wu’s interactions with Mako and his character development as a whole. Just as Kuvira is a fairly accurate representation of a leader who will unhesitantly go to extremes to preserve her power, Wu is an accurate representation of somebody who wants to be in power because of the prestige that the position would bring him (Think Marie-Antoinette, I guess).
  • Mako and Bolin are kinda breaking my heart. Bolin’s endearing stupidity got the better of him, and, once again, Mako couldn’t talk him out of doing something really stupid. I get so sad when Mako and Bolin are fighting, because they’re so close, and they’ve been through so much shit together that it can be upsetting when they don’t see eye to eye. And yeah, Mako may have the moral high ground in this case, but Bolin so wants to believe that Kuvira’s cause is just, and that he’s helping people, but then, he comes to his senses too late, and off he goes to a re-education camp. Speaking of which…
  • DAMN YOU ZHU LI!!! VARRICK GAVE YOU EVERYTHING AND YOU THREW IT ALL AWAY, AND FOR WHAT?!?!!?!?! YOU BITCH!!!! YOU HORRIBLE, HORRIBLE BITCH!!!!
  • When I first started watching Korra, Meelo was one of my least favourite characters, because as much of an immature man-child as I am, fart jokes seemed really out of place on a show that contains military coups, political assassinations and a teenage girl getting crippled. However, partway through the second season, I warmed up to him. He has, to date, one of my favourite lines in the series (“Look to your left, look to your right” etc….). However, he’s definitely better as a supporting character than as the main focus of an episode, as he was in “The Calling” along with his sisters, as I found that he just got grating once again. I think I’ll end up just fine with him now that he’s (probably) not going to star in any more episodes.
  • Also, is it just me, or does the voice actor for Meelo (Logan Wells) sound a little young for the character?
  • Lastly, I’m really digging Korra’s journey back into Avatar-dom. A minor complaint of mine is that, after wisely avoiding this trait in the third season, Korra almost fell into the fatal flaw from the first two seasons, in which she temporarily joined the side of the devils (Tarrlok’s Anti-Equalist squad and Unalaq’s invasion of the Southern Water Tribe) until she came to her  senses. It kinda looked for a while that Kuvira may have swayed Korra to her side and, yeah, it looks like Korra’s convinced in part that joining the Empire would be best for the city of Zaofu, but she’s clearly more interested in peace than any ideological bullshit. I dunno, the show’s done a great job so far, so I have faith that it won’t descend into the mediocrity that plagued parts of the first two seasons.

“The Coronation”: 4.5/5

“The Calling”: 4/5

“Enemy at the Gated”: 4.5/5

The season so far: 9.0/10

The Flash- “Pilot” and “Fastest Man Alive” (SPOILERS)

Evidently, CW took the special effects money out of the costume budget.

I’ve never been that big of a Flash fan, to be completely honest. It’s not that I don’t like him, it’s just that he’s never been any more to me than the funny guy from the Justice League cartoon. I guess I’ve always liked him in the sense that he was a member of the Justice League, and it was cool to see him fight along some of my favourite heroes like Batman and Wonder Woman, but even today, I wouldn’t go out of my way to buy a Flash solo comic.

And yet, I read Aquaman. Funny how that works.

But hey, it only takes one good interpretation of the character for me to really embrace him or her, even if previous interpretations haven’t grabbed me. That’s why I was looking forward to this new Flash show. Knowing that CW, the channel behind Arrow, was developing it gave me hope that it would turn me on to Barry Allen like Arrow did for Green Arrow.

And boy did it not disappoint.

Let’s just jump right in. Barry Allen (Grant Gustin) is a twenty-something forensics analyst working for the Central City Police Department under his boss and adopted father, Joe West (Jesse L. Martin), who took him under his wing after his father was incarcerated  for the murder of his mother, despite Barry’s insistence that he is innocent, and that a “man inside a ball of lightning” killed his mom. Joe’s daughter, Iris (Candice Patton), is Barry’s best friend, although he has feelings for her that she is too shy to admit. However, when a particle accelerator at S.T.A.R. Labs explodes and creates a lightning storm, Barry is struck by one of the bolts of lightning and goes into a coma for nine months.

Upon waking up, he discovers that he can now move at superhuman (Sorry, metahuman) speeds, because fuck science. The scientists who looked after him are ex-S.T.A.R. Labs employees Dr. Caitlin Snow (Danielle Panabaker) and Cisco Ramon (Carlos Valdes), as well as A-list scientist Dr. Harrison Wells (Tom Cavanaugh), who was a respected scientist until the particle accelerator explosion, which left him seemingly crippled and his reputation in tatters. This trio help him develop his power and pursue the other, less friendly metahumans that the particle accelerator explosion created, like Clyde Mardon (Chad Rook) and Danton Black (Michael Christopher Smith).

Before I truly get into what I loved the show, let’s get through the two things that I hated about the show. And that was one line in each episode. Those would be the line during Green Arrow’s cameo in the first episode (“I think that lightning struck you for a reason.”) And Barry(?)’s line in the second episode (“We were all struck by lightning that day.”)

God, that fucking sucked.

Once you get past the occasional cheesiness of the dialogue, you get a pretty great show. The action pushes aside the grittiness of Arrow for pure comic book action, which I would expect from a movie about a guy who dresses in all red and runs at superhuman (Metahuman, dammit!!!) speeds. Actually, it kind of reminded me of the good parts of the latest Spider-Man movie. The action is great for a TV show (Not quite blockbuster level, but would you really expect it from a CW show?), the atmosphere is great, a lot more lighthearted and comedic than Arrow, but it also excels in its dramatic moments, mostly thanks to the spirited performance from Jesse L. Martin, who plays Iris’s dad and Barry’s adopted dad, who is reluctant to allow Barry to go after  murderous super-criminals. Understandably so too. It’s hard to run at all when you have a million clones punching you in the head.

Grant Gustin, who you may remember from Glee, if you happened to watch that show (In which case, you saw something in it that I sure didn’t), and so far, he’s pretty great! Stephen Amell may be great as Green Arrow now, but it took him a few episodes for him to really settle into a groove. Grant Gustin has settled into that groove pretty much right off the bat,  reminding me, again, a lot of Amazing Spider-Man 2, regarding Andrew Garfield’s portrayal of Peter Parker. You know, minus the bodacious hair.

I’d go gay for the hair alone.

Anyway, doubling back to the atmosphere of the movie, I think that maybe the most prominent way that it blows Gotham out of the water is in tone and/or atmosphere. As I have mentioned in my reviews of the aforementioned sho Gotham hasn’t really shown what it wants to be quite yet. Is it a gritty crime/cop drama? I mean, I guess, but it throws in way too much camp and corniness for me to really take it all that seriously. The Flash,  feels like a Marvel Cinematic Universe movie. It’s lighthearted, yet dramatic at times, and really delivers on showing a badass superhero doing badass superhero things, instead of bouncing around to a bunch of villains that you’re not that interested in. Especially in this case, since the Flash’s rogues gallery isn’t quite as impressive as Batman’s or Spider-Man’s. Sure, we do have Reverse Flash and Gorilla Grodd to look forward to, but I think it’s nice for  them to focus on the minnows like Multiplex, or whatever while we have the chance to get into Flash and his friends, who, by the way, are pretty great. Especially Tom Cavanagh as Harrison Wells. I can’t stop pondering what this guy might be all about. I thought for a while that he might be Reverse Flash, but that’s probably not the case. And, for the life of me, I can’t recall a character of that name from the comics (Admittedly, I don’t read Flash comics), but DAMN, is it ever gnawing at me.

If anybody spoils it for me, I will grow violent.

Pilot“: 4.5/5

“Fastest Man Alive”: 4.5/5

Gotham- “The Balloonman” and “Arkham”

Nerdgasm imminent.

 Okay, so we’re officially four episodes into Gotham, so, going by general television rules of thumb, we should have a pretty good handle on what exactly this show is about. And so far, Gotham has been pretty….. All over the map, to say the least. So far, it’s been two good episodes (The pilot and “Arkham”) and two mediocre episodes (“Selina Kyle” and “The Balloonman”). Since we’re around this TV milestone, I figured I’d use this entry not so much to focus on the two recent episodes, but to underline one strengths, one weakness and one mediocre trait that the show has displayed so far. I’ll still talk about the individual episodes, but… Yeah, I guess you get the idea.

Strength: Cinematography

The Tim Burton Batman movies and the Christopher Nolan trilogy both had different ideas on what the look of Gotham City should be. Burton definitely had a ton of creative input in his movies, especially Batman Returns, as his Gotham is appealingly ugly and highly stylised. One could almost say it’s more faithful to the comics, but that would imply that Burton actually read the comics, which he didn’t.  Nolan’s Gotham always reminded me of the rust belt, matching the gritty, realistic tone of the movies. Gotham successfully succeeds in combining the best elements of both Gothams to create a city that looks to be straight off the pages of DC Comics. Props to whoever was in charge of that.

Weakness: Tone

Oh boy, oh boy. Holy shit does this show have some problems here.

With the exception of the Nolan movies, which were ultra-modern, and the ultra campy iterations, Batman stories have always had somewhat of a timeless feel to it. The 1989 movie brought a lot of fashion, images and dialects straight from the early-to-mid 20th century, as did the animated series, mixing them with more modern technologies like literally anything in Batman’s utility belt. It may not have made the most sense when you think about it, but hey, it was charming, or at least I found it to be.

How quaint!!!

While I also really enjoyed the tone of the new movies, and the campy movies had…. Actually they all sucked, but my point is that Gotham tries way too hard to be a balanced mix of all of these styles, which just ends up coming across as stilted and jarring. At times, it wants to be very dark and realistic, but there are other times when the over-the-top villains and cartoonish violence just take me out of it (I’m looking at you, Balloonman. Jesus Christ, wasn’t that a fucking stupid concept?). Black comedy and camp can be put to good use, but that’s not really the case in this show.

Ugh….

Meh…: Acting/Characters 

I should be the first to admit that I was a little high on the actors in my review of the pilot episode. And I’ve still gotta be honest, I haven’t seen a straight-up bad performance just yet. Robin Lord-Taylor as Penguin is still my favourite performance, even if his arc is really improbable. I really like John Doman in the limited screen time he gets as Carmine Falcone, as is Sean Pertwee as Alfred Pennyworth. I also really like Ben McKenzie and Donal Logue, even if McKenzie can sometimes be overly stoic for my taste. Jada Pinkett-Smith as Fish Mooney and Cory Michael Smith as Edward Nygma are also fine, even if neither has done much, and the showrunners can’t seem to help drilling the fact that Nygma becomes the Riddler into our brains ever so much.

A lot of the characters just seem to be there for the sake of being there, though. Montoya, Allen and Barbara are all boring as hell. I have yet to feel a twinge of interest towards any of them. And, while they aren’t bad actors per se, I would argue that they’re better than most other child actors out there, David Mazouz and Camren Bicondova as Bruce Wayne and Selina Kyle, respectively, jus don’t have interesting enough stories for me to really get invested.

***

That’s all for now. Hopefully the show picks up, because at the rate it’s going, it’ll fall off of my review list after this season. This last episode was better than the two before it though, so maybe that’s a sign it’s trending in the right direction? I sure hope so.

“The Balloonman”: 2.5/5

“Arkham”: 3.5/5

The season so far: 6.5/10 

The Legend of Korra Reviews- “After All These Years” and “Korra Alone” (SPOILERS)

Holy crap! Flying squirrel suits!!!

So, at long last, I’ve caught up with Legend of Korra and have reviewed the first two episodes of the fourth and final season, titled “Book 4: Balance”.

The Avatar franchise: sub-titling its seasons before American Horror Story ever did.

First, a little background. The Legend of Korra is a Nickelodeon animated series that debuted in 2012. It is a sequel to the legendary animated series Avatar: The Last Airbender, which is my third favourite television show of all time, after Breaking Bad and Game of Thrones, not necessarily in that order.

Legend of Korra takes place around seventy years after the events of The Last Airbender, in a world where some individuals, known as “benders”, can manipulate one of the four elements (Water, earth, fire or air), mainly for combat, peacekeeping or, most infamously, athletic purposes, combat techniques based upon martial arts such as t’ai chi, kung fu and wudang. The people of this world originate from the four different nations, which are, in fact, based on the elements, and different Asian or aboriginal cultures. The Northern and Southern Water Tribes (Seemingly based on the Inuit people), the Earth Kingdom (Chinese, I think), the Fire Nation (Japanese, I’m sure) and the endangered Air Nomads (Tibetan). The main hub of these four nations is the United Republic of Nations, the capital of which is the originally named “Republic City” (20’s New York, but Asian).

There is only one person in the world who can bend all four elements. This person is known as the “Avatar.”

No, not that one. Pay attention.

The Avatar, along with supposedly being the most powerful human being in the world, is also the human link to the spiritual world and the main peacekeeper in the tumultuous world of the show, in which the amount of social unrest, violent populist uprisings and political corruption would put most African countries to shame.

The current Avatar is a young woman from the Southern Water Tribe named Korra (Voiced by Janet Varney), who, throughout the series, fights crime, corruption, and the forces of darkness in general, along with her friends, a firebending detective named Mako (David Faustino), his brother, an earthbender named Bolin (P.J. Byrne), Korra’s airbending instructor and the previous Avatar’s son, Tenzin (J.K. Simmons) and industrial magnate Asami (Seychelle Gabriel), who isn’t actually a bender, but she makes up for it by being super rich.

Shock glove, motherfucker!!!

Now that I’ve finished up the brief overview, it’s time to get into the recent episodes as best as I possibly can. This, of course, means that a spoiler warning is now in effect. If you haven’t watched the first three seasons, you best get on that right away. I take no responsibility for spoilers as f now, so don’t come crying to me if I ruin the show for you.

So, in the season premiere (“After All These Years”), three years have passed since Korra fought the anarchist airbender Zaheer (Henry Rollins) and his Red Lotus clan. Though Zaheer was defeated, Korra was crippled both from the waist down, and mentally, falling into a deep depression, as she returns to the South Pole to take a break from being the Avatar for a bit. Her friends go their separate ways, with Tenin and Jinora (Kiernan Shipka) re-working the resurgent Air Nation into a crime-fighting task force that tries to restore order to the devastated Earth Kingdom, which has been thrown into disarray ever since Zaheer murdered the Earth Queen. Problem is, the Earth Kingdom is huge, and there’s a lot of crime to fight.The time crunch isn’t helping either, as Prince Wu (Sunil Malhotra) is set to be crowned Earth King momentarily, and, being a vain prick, is eager to be crowned as soon as possible. Speaking of Prince Wu, he is accompanied by Mako (Much to Mako’s dismay), who has been assigned by the powers that be to be Wu’s bodyguard.

And Asami’s doing whatever. She doesn’t really interest me when she’s not adventuring with Team Avatar . She’s a great character, but still…

Speaking of Team Avatar, everyone on the aforementioned group of adventurers is excited about the upcoming reunion, a result of everybody getting back together for the coronation of Wu (By the way, I call dibs on the name “Coronation of Wu” for my indie rock band). However, when Tonraq (James Remar) , Korra’s father, arrives from the South Pole, everybody’s shocked to learn that Korra has vanished off of the face of the Earth, having not been seen for six months.

I really wish I had a lot to talk about, because it’s kind of a slow burn of an episode. That’s not a bad thing, by any means though. I enjoyed seeing here the characters have ended up after three years, and I like the new character of Wu, even if I want to punch him in the face. I also liked the new character of Kuvira (Zelda Williams, daughter of the late Robin Williams), a new character who is unifying the Earth Kingdom again with the help of Bolin and Varrick (John Michael Higgins). However, I feel like it’s a bit too obvious that she’s meant to be the new villain of the show, as she seems to be more into hostile takeovers instead of peaceful reunifications, and it is suggested that she may be plotting against the prince.

All that’s fine and well, but the show didn’t do an especially good job of showing what exactly Kuvira was supposed to be doing. So, she’s uniting the Earth Kingdom. Okay, simple enough. She’s conspiring against the prince? Great. Here’s my question: Does anybody else know? I mean, the governor who she bullies into joining her is really against it and so is Opal, which wouldn’t be so surprising if the idea wasn’t that she was supposed to be paving the way for the monarchy. Someone mentions that the people who throw pies at Wu support Kuvira. Aren’t Wu and Kuvira on the same side (At least supposedly)? And if it’s common knowledge that Kuvira has gone rogue, why haven’t they done anything to stop her? I sure as hell wouldn’t have let her take over as much territory as she had without stopping her, if I knew she had gone rogue.

That doesn’t make the episode bad though. It’s a great episode, and, with any luck, my lone nitpick gets some sort of reasonable explanation. Maybe I just wasn’t listening when they explained it. Whatever. She’s a badass.

As good as the first episode was, “Korra Alone” blows it out of the water. During this episode, the focus is entirely on what happened to Korra after Zaheer was defeated. Through sheer persistence, and thanks to Katara’s help (And a pretty cool Kill Bill reference, I like to think), regains her ability to walk. However, when she goes to travel back to Republic City, she finds that she is a pretty damn terrible bender now, as she gets her ass handed to her by some puny crooks. Her self-confidence destroyed, she renounces her Avatar identity and becomes a cage fighter, where she gets the shit beaten out of her. She starts hallucinating a dark version of herself that torments her, until she chases it into the woods where it… Beats the shit out of her. Notice a recurring theme?

Anyway, she is sucked into a hallucination of a puddle of mercury, but she is found by an old woman, who reveals herself to be Toph Beifong!!!

Cue goosebumps.

We’ve seen Korra lose hope before, and feel unable to go on before As great as Korra is, her arcs during the first two seasons were pretty repetitive), but we’ve never seen here actually physically and mentally unable to go on. She regained her ability to walk, sure, but her bending is lacking and she can’t even handle sparring partners, much less street toughs, anymore. Not only that, but when she was growing up, she grew up mostly secluded from other people’s opinions of her, only hearing from the White Lotus about how great she is, and about how important the Avatar is. Then, she goes to Republic City and she immediately has the fact that the Avatar is, in fact, a useless relic of a bygone era. The Equalists, Amon, Vaatu, Unalaq, Zaheer and the Red Lotus all felt  that the Avatar was no longer worth having around for one reason or another. That can do a number on a person, and that, combined with the physical element of being beaten, poisoned and crippled, made the comedown of the realisation that, yeah, that might be the case.

Great stuff here, man!!! I fucking love it!!! As much as I like Gotham (Though it’s flawed as hell) and loved the first episode of The Flash (More on that later) Korra has blown the other two out of the water. It’s just so beautiful and so dramatic. The last season of Korra was one of the best seasons of TV of that year, and this season looks to build onto that success. I can’t wait!!!

Damn, now I have to decide between Fury, The Book of Life and The Legend of Korra on Friday. Talk about first world problems.

“After All These Years”: 4.5/5

Korra Alone”: 5/5

The season so far: 9.5/10

Also, just saying, the girl can rock the short hair.

How My TV Reviews Work

Still the best TV show within a TV show ever.

So, I’ve officially been reviewing television shows for about three weeks and, needless to say, I haven’t been doing a great job keeping up. I’m several days overdue on the reviews for episode 3 of Gotham, ditto for the pilot episode of Flash and a full week overdue for the fourth season premiere of Legend of Korra. Hell, I haven’t even finished the third season of the latter show.

In my defense, Henry Rollins’ character is meant to be savoured.

Also, as much as I hate that this is the case, I still have school to work through, and until I break free from that burden, I can’t really devote all my time into a blog that doesn’t make me any money or extra credit and, at this point, it’s just a passion project. So, unfortunately, I have to enforce some rules on these reviews.

  • The reviews will be out every two episodes. Both episodes will have a rating out of five, and the totals will be added up at the end of the season to give the season an average score out of 10.
  • If the season ends with a rating under 7.5/10, I probably won’t devote any more time to reviewing the show. I may still watch it, but I just won’t review it.
  • If the season’s rating ever falls under 5.0/10, I reserve the right to call it quits at the nearest quarter, half, or three-quarter mark, and if it ends the season with a failing grade, you can forget about me reviewing another episode of it ever again (For a season at least).
  • Expect the reviews to come out a day or two after the airing of the second episode. You know, unless a holiday gets in my way, or something.
  • When it comes to reviewing the baseball playoffs….I’m done. It takes a crapload of time and it’s just not that fun for me anymore. I’ll still do some baseball stuff, but definitely expect a noticeable shift away from athletics and more towards mindless entertainment.
  • Movie reviews will always get priority, so shows that air on weekends and Friday night are likely to get shafted, somewhat.

Get it? Awesome. Now if you’ll excuse me, I have some procrastinating to do!

Gotham: Episode 2- Selina Kyle (Review)

That’s one sad looking cat.

So, in my review for the pilot episode of Gotham, I went into some detail about what I liked about the show in that 45-minute debut, and, as I found, there was quite a bit to like. The actors were great, the writing was tight, the atmosphere was appropriately dark, and its take on the Batman mytho seemed interesting enough to hold my attention. It’s not like it was flawless though. I found the framing of Gordon to be stupid, I felt that they tried to cram in too many villain cameos and in respect to the villains, there was a bit too much pointless fanservice.

Case in point: “Don’t call me Penguin!!!”

Were those problems resolved in the second episode? Well, kinda. The cameos feel a lot less pointless this time around, and it feels like every character served at least some semblance of a purpose to the plot. Problem is, the fanservice is still there, and it really got on my nerves this time around. It wasn’t so much Cobblepot’s dislike of the title of “Penguin” that bothered me this time around as the title character, Selina Kyle (Played by Camren Bicondova)’s insistence on being called “Cat.” Seriously. That is the very picture of violently beating subtlety to death.

Even if the fact that Selina Kyle is Catwoman wasn’t  already spoiled thanks to the show’s marketing campaign…

Case in point.

… We pretty much would have figured it out based on the fact that she dresses pretty much exactly like what you’d expect Catwoman to dress like, minus the skintight catsuit and gratuitous cleavage.

All of a sudden, I feel the urge to play through Arkham City again.

Also, is it just me or did the writing seem to take a turn for the worse? I wasn’t like it was a work of art, but it sure wasn’t as clunky as, say “My name is Cat” or whatever. And while I do like Bruce Wayne in this show, his dialogue seems a touch too formal for-what is he, a twelve year old?

While I’m still bitching about things I didn’t like, I really hope that the subplot about Allen and Montoya believing that Gordon is a crooked cop is wrapped up neatly and disposed of within the next episode or so. Man am I not interested at all in that being a thing.

Before I sign off, I feel like I should compliment what this episode does well, because honestly, there’s still a lot of good things to say. The show still looks fantastic (I’m a sucker for comic book visuals) the performance are still great (Robin-Lord Taylor is my favourite actor on the show at this point, and Camren Bicondova did a fine job as Catwoman Jr.), the villains were sufficiently menacing, I appreciated the reference to the Dollmaker (If you don’t know who that is, do yourself a favour and read the first volume of the new Detective Comics series) and hey, despite its’ faults, I still liked the episode! Yeah, it didn’t live up to the pilot, but I don’t think that it’s that serious of a setback. I, for one, can’t wait to see what the next episode brings.

Episode Rating: 3/5

Season Rating: 7.0/10

 

Gotham: Episode 1- Pilot (TV Review) SPOILERS AHEAD!!!

Selina Kyle: Apparently, the all-seeing eye of Gotham City. Who’da thunk it?

SPOILERS AHEAD!!!

SPOILERS AHEAD!!!

SPOILERS AHEAD!!!

 If you had told me one year ago that Fox was panning to release a TV crime drama set in Gotham City, I would have been completely overjoyed. I’ve always kinda thought that transitioning to TV might be a better idea for those grittier, more down-to-earth superheroes that don’t necessarily have the flashy godlike powers (Smallville notwithstanding). And as much as I don’t hate the idea of Ben Affleck donning the cape and cowl (Even if the rest of the DC cinematic universe is starting to look like a giant clusterfuck) I would love to see a Batman TV show.

Take away Batman from the equation though, and I would’ve been less than enthused.

Indeed, Gotham chooses to focus not on Bruce Wayne (Played by child actor David Mazouz) and his transformation into everyone’s favourite rich nutjob, but on the exploits of Detective James Gordon (Ben McKenzie, former star of The O.C. and, actually a former Batman voice actor. He voiced the Dark Knight in the animated movie, Batman: Year One)  and his troubled partner, Harvey Bullock (Irish-Canadian actor Donal Logue). How did the pilot episode of this risky venture prove?

Absolutely brilliant is how it turned out.

Don’t get me wrong though, Gotham has problems, and I’ll get them out of the way first so I can gush later. My only real qualms with the movie have to do with the characters, not that the actors are to blame. I think they all do very great jobs, especially newcomer Robin Lord-Taylor as Oswald Cobblepot, Jada Pinkett-Smith as original villain Fish Mooney, Cory Michael Smith’s brief cameo as Edward Nygma and the two leads, McKenzie and Logue. Problem is, the show seems a bit over-preoccupied with stuffing as many villains into it as possible in order to give super-nerds like me a hard-on. I guess it kind of makes sense this one time, given that it was the pilot episode, and they had to stuff in as much fan service as possible in order to convince Fox that they could attract an audience. In that respect, it makes sense, but I hope that they can segway into villain introductions a little better than their introduction of the man who will eventually grow up to be a Tim Burton- directed abomination.

SCENE: A group of thugs are viciously beating up on a fellow criminal. The most violent aggressor is a younger man, brandishing an umbrella while wearing a tuxedo

ANONYMOUS THUG:  Take it easy (Practically turns to audience) Penguin! (Practically winks at the goddamn audience)

PENGUIN: Don’t call me that!!!

Huh, they took lessons from the James Cameron school of subtlety, I see.

Also, I love how Detectives Montoya and Allen go ahead and take Cobblepot at his word when he tells them that Gordon and Bullock framed and murdered Mario Pepper, and immediately report their suspicions to Barbara and threaten Gordon without a shred of evidence. I thought these guys were supposed to be real hotshots. What the hell?

Overall, though, my favourite thing about the show is that it feels like a comic book set in Gotham City ,especially something like Batman: Year One (Again, minus Batman). It has a very dark atmosphere, and doesn’t hesitate to bust out the blood (Unlike the great Tim Burton and Christopher Nolan movies, who had to maintain a PG rating). The scene where Bruce’s parents are murdered (Spoiler alert, in case you’ve been living under a rock) is as emotionally  resonant as it’s ever been, the writing is, while not exactly Shakespeare, very fitting to the tone, and really, I can’t wait for the next episode.

Episode Rating: 4/5

Holy fuck, was that the Joker!?!?