GEEK OUT! ARROW – SAY WHAT?

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Now, I will come right out and say that a lot of Oliver’s motivations on “Narda Parbat” make little sense. I mean, after everything that Malcolm Merlyn has done, why the hell would Oliver risk, not only his own life but that of Diggle’s, to save Merlyn? Kudos to John Barrowman for making Malcolm a deliciously despicable villain that nobody but nobody has any sympathy for. C’mon, at least Slade was utterly messed up in the head by the mirakuru in his system. So what’s Malcolm’s excuse?

Anyways, much of this episode feels like a re-tread of the one where Oliver voluntarily challenged Ra’s Al Ghul despite everybody (but Malcolm!) trying to dissuade him and for that reason it falls rather flat most of the way. It does seem that ever since the mid-season finale, Oliver has been guilty of incredibly stupid decision making! And… did anyone expect Oliver and Diggle to succeed, against the bloody League of Assassins? C’mon! That all said, I did not expect that final scene with Ra’s – alright, you got me there. Well done!

By the way, can someone tell me why Atom comes across as a second rate Iron Man? That is NOT the Atom, CW? WTF

GEEK OUT! AGENT CARTER – AND IN THE END…

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In Captain America: The Winter Soldier, Steve Rogers speaks to an aged Peggy Carter and tells her “knowing you helped found S.H.I.E.L.D. is half the reason I stayed”.

When Agent Carter was first announced, perhaps many thought that the story of how Carter “helped found S.H.I.E.L.D.” would be told. Instead, what we got was how Carter was marginalised at the SSR but still ultimately played a major role in stopping Leviathan from executing a diabolical plot to kill thousands of innocent people and take revenge on Howard Stark.

This final episode of the mini-series does what one expects it to, and with much aplomb. Hayley Atwell, Dominic Cooper and James D’Arcy provide the star power as Carter, Stark and Jarvis as required, whereas Chad Michael Murray (Agent Thompson) and Enver Gjokaj (Agent Sousa) are functionary at best. So while Agent Carter was a fun ride into the post-war MCU, hopefully subsequent mini-series will explore more seriously the founding of S.H.I.E.L.D. and Carter’s role in the same.

Agent Carter has done well to make connections with MCU films (unlike say, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.) and has exploited well the strengths of having a shared universe. Let’s hope there’s more to come.

THE BOOB TUBE: BETTER CALL SAUL – S’ALL GOOD MAN!

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By now, it’s plainly apparent that Better Call Saul as a series is going to be a proper examination of James M. McGill aka Saul Goodman. Vince Gilligan and company are in no hurry to rush through these opening episodes and instead letting the story of McGill play out naturally. It’s fascinating to see how McGill goes from struggling public defender and the perpetual loser to an opportunist seeing the possibilities in every situation. Sure, he is still a little awkward and a bit of a buffoon but this episode – “Hero” lays out the genesis of Saul Goodman for all to see. The straight and narrow seems to be a path rightly forsaken in exchange for success. For the audience, it is intriguing to witness McGill’s metamorphosis and to attempt to second guess each one of McGill’s moves as he manoeuvres himself into positions of favour.

Definitely in no hurry to go from this prequel sequence of events into the post-Breaking Bad continuity – hoping the series will stay with this timeline for awhile.

GEEK OUT! THE WALKING DEAD – IN RICK WE TRUST

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Possibly one of the best Walking Dead episodes in recent memory and it was achieved without having to kill a major character! All it did was examine the question of trust in the post-apocalyptic world of The Walking Dead. After having suffered at the hands of the Governor and the cannibals of Terminus, it’s easy to understand Rick’s reluctance to trust anybody. But what if someone comes along and tells Rick and group that there is a relative paradise waiting for them? Too good to be true? When does playing safe become dangerous? For Michonne, that time to trust a stranger like Aaron is now, and finally Rick has to decide whether he can do so and put his children potentially at risk.

It’s as simple as that but of course, it isn’t simple at all and the tension and drama flows from the audience asking the same question that Rick does – can we trust these people? Well, can we?

GEEK OUT! HELIX – SLOW DOWN WORLD I WANNA GET OFF!

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Definitely the most intense season 2 episode thus far as Amy ramps up her plans to get away from Brother Michael and the island. One cannot blame her considering the outrageous revelations made concerning the relationship between Brother Michael and herself. The most unlikely villainess but kudos to the writers for making it so. The CDC team is not in good shape either as the mistrust bred amongst them threatens to destroy them, even as Alan Farragate plays his role as agent provocateur to perfection.

On Julia’s side, the writers chose to tell her story not from the ’30 years later’ perspective but a background tale on what happened after Julia joined the Ilaria Corporation. Disorientating to say the least. Not sure why the writers decided to make that jump as it does not seem to add anything to the ‘present day’ narrative whatsoever. Am just wondering how long it will take for Brother Michael and/or the CDC team to figure out that Amy is behind everything.

GEEK OUT! 12 MONKEYS – RUNNING TO STAND STILL

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Yes, I will admit it – I am getting a little jaded with the TV versions of James Cole and Cassandra Raily. They are just too picture perfect for their own good. Also, I am wondering whether this plot device of going back in time to recover the ‘original’ timeline is going to get tiring soon. I mean, it was fun when it was done in Back to the Future 2 as Marty McFly did his best to avoid himself in the past but considering that this is the 2nd time it’s happening in 12 Monkeys? Ho hum.

But as usual, 12 Monkeys introduced a new element in the plot that pique my interest. What was the whole ‘red forest’ acid trip that Raily went through? What was that about? Another mystery – who is the Witness? Will they reveal this mysteries soon or will they end up as unresolved plot lines like Lost? And how does one keep track of the alternate realities Cole is setting up? Wait and see or give up – what do YOU think?

THE BOOB TUBE: SCANDAL – DEUS EX MACHINA, MOI?

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Yes, Scandal fans, if you haven’t seen the latest episode, I’ve just spoilt it if for you! But seriously, this was the solution to the ‘how do we get Olivia back?’ conundrum? Don’t really buy it! Sillier still if you consider that after all the brouhaha to demonstrate how much the enemies of America would want to get hold of Olivia, we are led to believe that a couple of new locks on her apartment door would keep her safe and secure? C’mon, these jokers were willing to pay a billion bucks!?! So, what’s to say some other bright spark would try the same trick? See where I’m going with this – how does the world go back to status quo after this?

Best part is that there was no hint of what the next storyline could even be remotely about after this. Which is rare for Scandal. I mean, how could they possibly top this? Over to you, Shonda…

GEEK OUT! AGENT CARTER – IT’S HEAVY IN HERE

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Things are looking grim for Peggy and the SSR. She has been captured and accused of high treason whilst Dr Ivchenko is free to work his manipulative hypnotism and instruct fellow Leviathan agent Dottie in his evil schemes. Jarvis tries his best to assist but ends up making things worse. Thompson and Souza have mixed emotions about Peggy as the evidence conflicts with their experience of Peggy himself. Chief Dooley has no such qualms and falls prey easily to Ivchenko’s machinations.

Slowly but surely, Thompson and Souza come to their senses and realize that Peggy is telling the truth but it is too late for poor Chief Dooley and pays the ultimate price for trusting Ivchenko. This episode also reveals what Ivchenko’s plans are and it is surprisingly similar to that of Richmond Valentine’s in Kingsman: The Secret Service. Great minds think alike? Or is there a paucity of ideas in the ‘genre’?

Either way, it sets up brilliantly for the final episode. Considering how long it took Agents of SHIELD not to suck, I say give Agent Carter more episodes!

GEEK OUT! ARROW – UP A HILL BACKWARDS

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Like Thea, viewers of Arrow might be getting a little exasperated at the little twists and turns the CW series needs to take, in order to tell its stories. The last few episodes have been tough on Oliver’s little sister as she has had to deal with an almighty info dump and this latest episode was probably the worst, when she discovered that she was responsible for Sara Lance’s murder. The episode was a bit of a stopgap, serving as an incredulous training lesson meted out by Malcolm Merlyn (why do the Queen siblings continue to trust him when he has proven time and again to be untrustworthy?) but at least brought back Wilson Slade/Deathstroke for more unnecessary violent fun.

In the flashback narrative, Oliver finds himself back in Starling five years ago with Maseo (who is one of the brighter cast additions) which leads to Oliver acquiring his fathers guilty list notebook (remember?). Naturally, the show could not resist throwing in familiar faces into this mix – 2010’s version Tommy, Laurel, John, Felicity, Thea and a drunk Det. Lance all featured in mostly character-revealing moments with the introduction of Lt. Matthew Shrieve (Marc Singer!) at the conclusion spicing things up once again.

But in the present day, things need to move forward with the Ra’s Al Ghul plot line and soon. C’mon!

GEEK OUT! 12 MONKEYS – TIME AFTER TIME

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Continue to be seriously on the fence about Syfy’s 12 Monkeys. This latest episode basically was a one location (The Nightroom) shoot as Cole and the Army of the 12 Monkeys came ever closer to their goal – the deadly virus. There was quite a bit of people sitting around and waiting for something to happen. The Pallid Man played mind games and tortured Cole as the Army was kept away from the virus by a lazer force field.

Jennifer Goines was reunited with Cole and her contribution proved crucial in the scheme of things. Actually, I am making all this sound more exciting than it actually was. Which made me resolve to give up on the series when once more, the show pulled a rabbit out of the hat with its mysterious ending. When a show is about time travel, there are a lot of possibilities for courageous writers to take narrative risks and it seemed at the conclusion that 12 Monkeys had done just that. Wait and see again, I guess.

GEEK OUT! HELIX – THE PLOT … ER … THICKENS

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Alright, so we are spoiling season 2 episode 5 with the above image which reveals that cult leader Michael is actually an immortal. But of course, that was hinted by the scores of portraits on his wall and the different generations of women advisors (they are all his daughters apparently). So, is Caleb (from the 30 years later storyline) also Michael’s son? Who knows? This revelation needed to come as the plot lines were steadily going nowhere.

As it was, the fact that certain cult factions were working against the CDC team without any consequences or concern from the ‘benevolent’ Michael seemed a tad too convenient. So maybe this revelation accounts for Michael’s constant placid demeanour. Elsewhere, Alan and Peter sort out their differences without satisfactory resolution with Peter once again keeping his cards close to his chest. Sure, I understand that secrets keep a story intriguing but too much is not a good thing either. In any case, we need some answers and soon.

THE BOOB TUBE: BETTER CALL SAUL – CRIME PAYS

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Better Call Saul is almost Breaking Bad in reverse. Basically, for fans of the latter, we already know ‘Saul Goodman’ as the unscrupulous, immoral shyster lawyer. This prequel/sequel of sorts is telling us the story of how bumbling, inept, down on his luck Jim McGill become Saul Goodman. The best part? There is no rush to get there! The show takes its time to tell Jim’s story first before rushing into Saul. So far, that has meant first class television for the three episodes we have had so far.

Any familiar faces, you ask? Well at the moment we have Jonathan Banks reprising his Breaking Bad role as Mike Ehrmantraut – who we find as a crusty parking attendant.Ehrmantraut is actually instrumental in helping McGill crack the case and save his own bacon. So suddenly our awkward attorney has his very first significant ‘win’ and how it moves from here is anyone’s guess but the show has all the makings of a humongous hit.

GEEK OUT: THE FLASH – CAN THE FIRESTORM SPIN OFF BE FAR AWAY?

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The Firestorm two-parter may well have been the best Flash episodes so far – which is really saying something. No stone was left unturned to flesh out the characters that make up Firestorm (i.e. Martin Stein and Ronnie Raymond) and there was a sense of inevitability that the two would eventually merge once again. Harrison Wells (Reverse-Flash) is manipulating events behind the scenes and as the ending suggests is also somehow related with Gorilla Grodd as well! I am curious to see what Wells’ motivation in the scheme of things because the writers have done a good job in keeping Wells’ true intentions hidden.

The episodes worked so well that it played like a set up for a Firestorm spin-off and depending on how the audiences respond, I am guessing that that series may happen sooner than later. Victor Garber (Stein) and Robbie Amell (Raymond) have settled into their respective roles rather well and it would be intriguing to see how a Firestorm series will explore this unique dynamic. But for the Flash, it does feel that we getting ever closer to Barry’s encounter with the Reverse-Flash in a race to save his mother. Can hardly wait!

Just an aside to pay tribute to the creators of these wonderful super-heroes. Even as the credits omit this fact (based on characters in DC Comics), the Barry Allen-Flash was of course created by writers Robert Kanigher & John Broome and artist Carmine Infantino, whilst the original Firestorm was created by writer Gerry Conway and artist Al Milgrom. Credit where it is due!

GEEK OUT! THE WALKING DEAD – THE CALM BEFORE THE STORM

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After the traumatic episodes on both sides of the mid-season break, this episode caught up with our merry band of survivors to find them struggling with a crisis of faith. Season 5 has seen more death, more disaster, more peril than ever before. Inevitably, the question must be broached – what’s the point of going on? Why not just give up? For Maggie, Sasha and Daryl, it seems as if their will to live has gone, even as Beth and Tyreese have gone. The pain is difficult to take and it does not help that the group is exhausted running out of food and water as they make the long trek to Washington D.C.

Quite like episode 9, there is a lyrical, poetic quality to “Them” as the group’s grapples with their biggest challenge – not walkers and not evildoers but themselves. After all, if you cannot convince yourself to keep living, then the battle is already over. This is encapsulated by Rick when he says – “… we are the walking dead” even as the group shelters from the storm. However, moments later when the will to survive is given the ultimate test, the group collectively brave the storm and live to fight another day. Kudos to the writers for giving us yet another deep episode without compromising on zombie kills.

One of the best series on TV now. But you knew that.

THE BOOB TUBE: SCANDAL – WHAT ARE YOU PREPARED TO DO?

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Despite its increasingly implausible plot lines – this episode involved a bidding war over Olivia Pope amongst rogue nations, terrorist groups and crime lords (!) – the folks behind Scandal managed to imbue a sense of pathos that would seem ridiculous when one consider the stakes these characters are up against. Olivia herself does not play much of a role but she does what she can to try to influence proceedings but fails miserably – which is a fairly new situation for her. Olivia’s loved ones try their level best to get her back, short of moving heaven and earth, though the odd murder or two are committed in the endeavour.

But that is exactly what Scandal fans are looking for – over the top scenarios in this epic-scoped soap opera. There are strong moments of human emotion that litter the apocalyptic landscape of Olivia’s pursuit as the key players attempt to stay a step ahead of the other. This is political drama, lest anyone forgets, and by the end of the episode Olivia’s predicament takes on global significance. The ride ain’t over yet.

THE BOOB TUBE: BETTER CALL SAUL – DEJA VU

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Remember that feeling you had when you watching one of the best TV series around? I am talking about Breaking Bad of course. Well, it’s hard not to get a sense of deja vu when watching Better Call Saul, a spin-off/prequel/sequel to that popular series. Well, Breaking Bad creator Vince Gilligan is still in the driving seat (together with Peter Gould) and it already looks like this series will be as memorable as Breaking Bad was. Excellent news!

Continue reading “THE BOOB TUBE: BETTER CALL SAUL – DEJA VU”

GEEK OUT! ARROW – THE ENEMY OF MY ENEMY IS MY FRIEND

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Getting more and more intense with each passing episode, Arrow season 3 is maintaining its status as the best dark superhero soap opera out there.

Secrets are revealed left, right and centre and the impact on the series remains to be seen. Laurel Lance is accepted in her new role as the Canary and Ra’s Al Ghul makes his play and the Queen siblings realize that they have to trust Malcolm Merlyn, for better or worse.

Meanwhile, Oliver’s flashback narrative brings us an unexpected twist.

GEEK OUT! AGENT CARTER – THE POINT OF NO RETURN

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Peggy is in big trouble and so is the SSR. The agents of Leviathan have the upper hand and SSR is not even aware of this. SSR wrongfully accuse Peggy of being a spy and most of the episode is spent demonstrating Peggy evades capture until the end where she is subdued in unique fashion, to say the least.

With only two episodes left, it will be intriguing to see how Peggy and the SSR get out of this mess.

GEEK OUT! THE FLASH – GOING NUCLEAR!

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The secret origin of Firestorm! It took some time but finally The Flash revealed to us how Martin Stein and Ronnie Raymond merged to become the Nuclear Man. In the meantime, Joe West recruits Cisco Ramon to investigate further the death of Barry Allen’s mother, with Dr Harrison Wells being the prime suspect.

Well written overall, with emotional resonance but somehow Firestorm’s lack of a costume made him look terribly lame. But Cisco’s investigation turns out some shocking results and the cliff-hanger ending kept the interest high. And.. where is Grodd?

GEEK OUT! HELIX S02E04 – A HOLDING PATTERN

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Remember when I said the strong point about the second season of Helix was the two parallel storylines? (present and future) Well, that only holds true if the storylines keep things interesting. And while more information was given about the disease (something to do with bees), the future scenario was awfully cliched even if it contained a kickass fight between Hatake and Julia.

The whole plot with Hatake seemed irrelevant even if his re-appearance initially suggest exciting possibilities. No answers there whatsoever. The episode ends with a cliffhanger as two characters from both timelines lay dying in a pool of their own blood. Yeah yeah nobody’s going to die but at least there’s incentive to tune in to episode 5. Just about…

THE BOOB TUBE: SCANDAL S04E11 – DEEPER AND DEEPER DOWN THE RABBIT HOLE

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Last episode, we learned that Olivia Pope had been kidnapped. This episode, we find out the whole point of Olivia’s snatching – to blackmail President Fitz into declaring war on West Angola (as orchestrated by the Vice-President).

Quite a few twists along the way as Olivia, her Gladiators (Huck reveals his monstrous side) and even Mellie (the First Lady) do their best to ensure Olivia’s rescue. Disappointed perhaps that the storyline is still being dragged on beyond two episodes but at least it’s wickedly fun.

GEEK OUT! 12 MONKEYS S01E04 – TIME TRAVEL MONKEY BUSINESS

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A cute installment of 12 Monkeys. In the sense that whilst it dwelt primarily on a sci-fi trope (going back to time to change events), it utilized it as an intelligent plot device to reveal more of Cole’s character.

Focusing mainly on Cole’s present (i.e. 2043), flesh was put on Cole’s bare-boned characterization and the extent of Cole’s relationship with Ramse. Although it deviated from the primarily storyline that involved our present (i.e. 2015) – “Atari” was well worth the ride. A little convenient in parts but overall, a fun episode.

GEEK OUT! AGENT CARTER S01E05 – PEGGY TO THE FORE!

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Finally, Peggy Carter gets the respect and credit due to her in the SSR. “Iron Ceiling” finds Carter traveling into Eastern Europe to team up with The Howling Commandos (from Captain America: The First Avenger) and also introduces to us the Soviet program that made Natasha Romanoff/Black Widow.

Now, this is what you do with a TV series set in the Marvel Cinematic Universe! It’s a pity that there are only 3 episodes left as Agent Carter has proven itself more viable than Agents of SHIELD, thus far!

 

THE BOOB TUBE: THE BLACKLIST S02E10 – IT’S ALL A COCK TEASE!

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As predicted last time out, the suggestion that Agent Keen would be spilling the beans about her childhood trauma and the location of the Fulcrum was really a cock tease. It was very much back to the status quo after the events of this Luther Braxton two-parter. And is anyone else getting annoyed by the Illuminati characters that are lurking ubiquitously in the background? Although, to be fair, the ending was intriguing enough to keep things boiling nicely in The Blacklist till the end of the season.