Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

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The most gonzo show on television reaches for the stars as regards bat#$%! story telling and again succeeds in its attempt. This episode, aptly titled, went full on apocalypse mode yet managed the deepest emotional core and maintained its focus on its twisted family dynamic. The writing continues to be so damned superior. My review follows below.

We open with a scene from the 70s in London where we learn where Dorothy (Abigail |Shapiro) is being kept though benevolently held captive is more apt. Danny the Street is her friend, caretaker…and unfortunately her warden. Dorothy lives in a doll house underground later referenced as “hearing all the parties above but never attending”. Shapiro is a true find. Beautifully selling her immortal child depiction, this young actress routinely knocks it out of the park and this episode is easily her strongest. Niles (Timothy Dalton) pleads with Danny to keep ‘looking after’ Dorothy while he works at becoming immortal. Danny encourages him to simply be her father as a parent is what she truly needs. This argument is at the heart of the episode.

We return to the present with the broken Danny the Brick. Dorothy is deeply sorrowful at having accidentally dropped him and Niles tells her not to worry about it, essentially noting all will be well as Danny has come back before. What occurs next is an absolute blast as the “Dannyzens” appear at the manor door advising they heard Danny’s call and were here to help. The return of Alan Mingo Jr. as Maura Lee Karupt delivers fantastically. His connection with Cyborg (Joivan Wade) is reformed, hearkening to their meeting in last season’s incandescent “Danny Patrol” episode. Maura’s segments with Dorothy are particularly solid.

The return of Flex Mentallo (Devan Long)was equally good. Still maintaining his positive ‘aw shucks’ outlook, his presence was most welcome. His “why the long face?” when speaking with Dorothy yielded a comedic moment before his ‘assisting’ her in hanging up a disco ball. The scene was absolutely perfect. In that vein, the notion of ‘pumping Danny up’ via throwing a party came as no surprise. Dorothy’s kicking off the event with an absolutely amazing version of “Pure Imagination” was gold. Miss Shapiro can sing exceedingly well.

The episode is then broken up into sub arcs before melding into one grand…and apocalyptic narrative that both opens up and resolves various plot lines. At the core of the episode is one uniform premise- whether or not they mean to, parents mess up their kids lives. A brief yet in depth conversation between Larry Trainor (Matt Bomer) and Cliff Steele (Brendan Fraser) elaborates on this theme. A later heart to heart between Danny and Niles punches the point of doing better succinctly.

Flex’s accidentally ‘flexing the wrong muscle’ last season led to one of the most memorable sequences on Doom Patrol. Rita’s request to ‘revisit’ this moment to help her clear a mental block that prevents her from controlling her abilities opened with a sense of play. The journey led to pretty dark ground via Rita seeing past her block and learning of a past trauma. The dimensional accessing offered by Flex opens the party to an attack by a ‘sex demon’ named “Shadowy Mister Evans” (Brad Brinkley). Jane’s un-tethering via various personas taking charge yields a visit from her “Scarlet Harlot” aspect which further stokes the sexual energy.

The arrival of “The Sex Men”, a team of supernatural agents that fight supernatural sexual threats played as comedy fodder. Agent Torture (Tracy Bonner) and Agent Kiss (Michael Tourek) make a grand ‘ghost-buster-y’ entrance but manage little. They serve more of an exposition tool to advise of the horrors to come.

The threat to all children pushes Jane’s “Hammerhead” (Stephanie Czajkowksi) persona to act in spectacular fashion. Hilariously the ecstasy tripping Cliff who congratulates her afterwards is the push needed to bring Jane back in proper control.

The episode is a turning point overall. Dorothy makes a decision regarding being a grown up and alienates her “Candlemaker/Wish” aspect. Rita seems to take a step back in her progress. Larry who has had a pretty hard run this season seemed poised for a brief happy moment via a dance with Rita and a later dance with an interested party before falling back into his maudlin dispostion.

The episode ends on a more positive note but there is much unrest to come as Niles works on extending his life to care for his daughter and make right his numerous wrongs to the Doom Patrol. This is such good, entertaining and deeply dark territory. It is also incredibly watchable and engaging. Doom Patrol remains simply outstanding and well worth your time.

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Stranger Things Casts Agents of SHIELD’s Enoch for Season 4
Joel Stoffer, who plays the Chronicom Enoch on Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., will join the cast of Stranger Things for its fourth season.

BY SAMUEL GELMAN
22 HOURS AGO

Welcome to Hawkins, Enoch.

Joel Stoffer, who plays the Chronicom on Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., will join the cast of Stranger Things for its fourth season.

“I’ve got a role that we haven’t shot yet on Stranger Things,” Stoffer told Comicbook.com. “I don’t expect it to become anything long-term, but it’ll be coming up. They contact me and I’ll go to Georgia, to Atlanta, and shoot it when they get back up and running.”

Due to the ongoing coronavirus outbreak, Stoffer does not know when he will film the part. “They haven’t formed their schedule yet,” he noted.

When Stoffer does finally arrive on set, he will get some clarity on who he is playing. The actor only received his lines of dialogue for one scene. He got no character description and said he does not recognize any of the other names in the scene. “You know as much as I do, they’re really secretive.”

Created by the Duffer Brothers, Stranger Things stars Winona Ryder, Millie Bobbie Brown, David Harbour, Finn Wolfhard, Gaten Matarazzo, Caleb McLaughlin, Noah Schnapp, Natalia Dyer, Charlie Heaton, Joe Keery, Priah Ferguson, Cary Elwes, Jake Busey and Maya Thurman-Hawke. The first three seasons are currently available on Netflix, and Season 4 has yet to receive a release date.

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Nearing the halfway point of its final season, AOS continues to provide top tier entertainment via a balance of intrigue, action and emotion. Whenever a time travel aspect is introduced to any sci-fi series;there are both mind bending plot aspects and tropes that can undo them. With this latest run, we get an adept handling of the narrative that makes it both thought provoking and edge of your seat watchable. My review follows below.

While there were several narratives, the Coulson/May dynamic and the Mac/YoYo arcs were easily the most powerful. We get a sub arc featuring Deke (Jeff Ward), Jemma (ELisabeth Hentsridge) and Enoch (Joel Stoffer) which offered greater exposition on the actions taken to have brought the team to their current state, but also a further reminder of why Deke’s impulsiveness can often be galling.

The sub arc featuring the captured Daisy (Chloe Bennett) and Daniel Sousa (Enver Gjokaj)existed mostly to strengthen the bond between the two. We got a history lesson from Sousa about sacrifice that resonated throughout the episode. We also got a cool reminder that Inhuman abilities are nothing to be trifled with. This plot arc was self contained and quickly resolved. I am uncertain if there is a romantic aspect to Sousa and Daisy but the pairing of the two in any regard works.

Coulson (Clark Gregg) is the series mvp and this run was no exception. His pushing May (Ming-Na Wen) to accept her emotions are returning is an echo to his own evolution as a synthetic being is more than simply the sum of his parts. His frustration and anger are genuine. Her finally sharing her feeling about his deaths and returns inspires a bold move that was something to see. The two working on Rick Stoner -Patrick Warburton playing more of a straight man than his usual insouciant performances – made for entertaining viewing. Stoner’s accepting May and Coulson’s rendition of events allowed for the fact that he wasn’t a total dunce. Coulson’s comment about the general’s name was funny though.

Ultimately the episode was about sacrifice and Coulson’s getting to the main intelligence of the Chronicons, Sybil (Tamara Taylor) made for some very good moments. The two sparring about the worth of humans versus Chronicons was solid. His intimating his place in the evolutionary scale along with his “super power” was a superb moment, one which could redefine the remainder of the series…or not…this is a season about time travel after all.

The Mac (Henry Simmons)plot line featuring his risking the team’s mission to save his parents is understandable. His breaking his own “ripples not waves” code comes at a cost. Moments between him and Yoyo (Natalia Cordova-Buckley) as always were solid and the two continue to have an easy chemistry. The aspect of meeting with a younger version of one’s parents and more importantly saving them is a temptation too powerful to resist. The moments between Mac, his mom and dad, were resonant and emotionally powerful. While working with his father John (Sedale Threatt Jr.) on a mechanical issue the two bond. These are all good segments.

The return to the Zephyr however reveals the Chronicons deep game and adaptability previously intimated. The denouement featuring a brutal discovery by May was jarring. Mac’s mother’s, Lila’s (Paulina Lule, words to him in this segment illustrated how ruthless the Chrons have become.

As with other eps,we get a cliffhanger-y ending which again opens the series with another strange team pairing. AOS is so damned solid this season. At just over forty minutes per episode, time absolutely flies during- then stands still afterward in expectation of the next week offering. AOS is simply outstanding and well worth your time.

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Ah well. I was more than pleased with the direction the show took last week. The recidivism in this run however was highly disappointing. The next gen evil element was okay but the presentation of said new villain very much looked like something out of the Power Rangers and not the latest incarnation. Overall, quite a bit of meh occurred. My review follows below.

We get a deep delve into Cindy Burman (Meg Delacy), the school’s most nasty kid and learn that she has been vile for quite some time. While I enjoy the purity of an outright villain, meeting a teenager who regardless of back story is unquestionably awful has zero resonance with me. I get the subtext. She is the other side of the coin, a sinister doppelganger to Courtney Whitmore/Stargirl (Brec Basinger). The reality… whether intended or not… is that both characters are essentially narcissistic. While Cindy’s sole focus is a ‘seat at the table’ with the Injustice Society, Courtney’s wanting to be apex hero is equally toxic. Cindy meeting with her masked, deeply unsympathetic father, “The Dragon King” (Nelson Lee) does neither any favours. One does feel sympathy for her stepmother however. There is probably a gravitas laden backstory regarding the loss of Cindy’s mother but there is little emotional investment to get to such. While the Jordan Mahkent/Icicle(Neil Jackson)story line continues to be both engaging and relatable…such is not the case with the Burmans.

Regarding the Mahkents, the growing connection between Jordan and Barb is interesting and slow burn-ish. His interest in having her help him with his work seems genuine. It may also prove an unexpected Achilles heel regarding Stargirl and the JSA at some point. Jordan’s son Cameron (Hunter Sansone)having an interest in Courtney romantically adds an extra layer of complication and inadvertently a disruption in a near connection between Courtney and Cindy. \

Pat (Luke Wilson)again attains beatific status as he works to train the ‘new’ JSA. Courtney’s narcissism causes a fracture with her group which undermines the subtle initial covert fun of her team hanging together proudly at school. An unexpected and strong side arc featured Pat’s son Mike (Trae Romano) drawing the viewer’s attention to his and his father’s dynamic. While this aspect gains him sympathy and relate-ability casts a bit of an aspersion toward Pat as a father…and justly so. Mike’s expressing his dissatisfaction to Courtney is real. Pat’s concern about keeping secrets from Barbara (Amy Smart), Courtney’s mother, stands to present a more meaty story line as I cannot see Barb being okay with her husband secretly training her daughter and her friends to fight a dangerously powerful enemy group.

Courtney’s next actions lead to the rise and potential establishment of a new breed of villain. Her foolhardy foray to a hidden passageway leads her to a battle she isn’t ready for.She comes astoundingly close to dying. Seeing her underestimate her foe, a person who has much to prove and no compunction against killing, was something to see.

The only aspect of this run that made it salvageable was a new level of intrigue via the intercession of an individual who most likely has connections with the original JSA. The character’s pronouncement at the episode’s end sets the stage for an exploration of what is in all likelihood a group whose story I would like to see more of…and a tv series I would rather be watching. This latest episode was a massive setback and I can only hope next week’s part two is a much needed course correction.

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Well…damn. Thus far three episodes have been released and to call them absolutely insane would be a gross understatement. Starting off with “Fun Size Patrol” and continuing with “Tyme Patrol” before capping off with “Pain Patrol”, DC’s most brilliant and outlandish series has astoundingly upped its game. My review follows below.

There is much anger and darkness with this season. The team finds itself…except for Larry Trainor (Matt Bomer) in a shrunken state after last season’s gloriously unhinged ¬†finale. Now miniaturized and in the company of Caulder’s daughter Dorothy (Abigail Shapiro), the group now has the knowledge that Niles created them all in a bid to make himself immortal and look after his exceedingly dangerous child.

Abigail Shapiro under heavy prosthetics does a terrific job at playing an eternal child whose innocence and sorrow are matched only…and possibly exceeded by…her world breaking abilities. She is engaging, tragic, funny and above all sympathetic. Her introduction in a freak show immediately elicits viewer sympathy. Her unleashing her ‘wish’ entity makes us feel something else entirely.

Her narrative of wanting the Doom Patrol team to in time become her family is heart wrenching. They are all so broken and wretched. While she puts forth a sunny disposition and naivete, she also reveals an insight particularly in her analysis of Rita Farr (April Bowlby). Her attempts to reach Jane (Diane Guerero)are met with resistance. Dorothy gains some ground with Cliff (Brendan Fraser) then loses it as quickly by creeping him out. The scene with the two in a race car however was gleeful and powerful. A later moment featuring Jane and Cliff commiserating about her origins was darkly funny…but cruel…which so far sums up this season.

There is so much rawness and emotion in this series. This is the furthest removed drama from standard super heroic fare. It is harsh, brutal, visceral, violent and yet beautiful. Cliff’s ‘feeding the rats’ moments elicits a humorous reaction. His later interaction calls forth horror of the highest order with Niles (Timothy Dalton) just barely managing to keep Dorothy’s emotions under control.

Larry’s interactions with his negative spirit recall a poor interaction between him and his son. A later contact with the spirit reveals a starker truth for Larry. Trainor’s path is one of suffering. This season’s journey is no different it would seem.Rita’s wanting Cyborg/Vic (Joivan Wade) to train her into becoming a superhero is another exercise in cruel behavior. Rita’s journey this season seems poised to be one of discovery and control over her abilities. Bowlby continues to be fantastic with an earnest yet hurt performance that radiates on screen. She effortlessly channels the look and feel of Hollywood’s not so golden age.

We get a deeper delve into Niles Caulder this season including his later introduction into the realm of the supernatural and evil. Caulder strives to make things right with his team of ‘failed experiments’ and yet Cliff Steele holds him most sternly to task, showing him and his equal measures of contempt and disrespect. Caulder’s commitment to his daughter is incessantly demonstrated but his commitment to the Doom Patrol gets a due airing with this run as he sacrifices the one thing he requires to keep looking after Dorothy.

“Tyme Patrol” deals with the aftermath of the team learning the cost of Caulder’s barter to restore them to normal size. We get a reveal of Dorothy’s ‘aspects’…imaginary friends that range from bizarre to deeply troubling, namely her ‘wish granting’ facet.¬†Niles despite his wrong doing still has both Jane’s and Rita’s loyalty. By default he has Cliff’s purely due to his connection and commitment to Jane. This strange trifecta seeking an element in the position of a bizarre personality known as “Dr. Tyme” yields one of the more zany encounter the group has had and with this series, this is saying something. Time travel- 80s disco- rollerskates….I’ll say no more on the matter. Rita’s belief in herself takes a hit as she does the morally right thing and yet is insulted for it by the very being she helps. The notion of Caulder’s mortality being imminent frames the desperate measure and wild moments that ensue. The team not wanting to be caregivers of Dorothy should Niles die is part of the motivation as well. Dorothy’s fears manifest themselves physically and when they do…it is something disturbing to behold. Her offering to ‘make a wish’ to save her father is met with his abject refusal as he has seen such an invocation’s precedent.

Larry’s loss is mined and the moments with his other son Paul (John Getz) are both subtle and genuine. Paul accepting his father is alive and inviting him to join the family for a ceremony celebrating Gary’s life is unexpected and with all the pain proffered throughout this series…appreciated. A final moment in the second episode is heartbreaking as Larry allows himself a moment of deep grief. A follow up moment with a butterfly intimates something peaceful and healing before seguing into something surreal and bridging to the third episode.

“Pain Patrol” arguably the strongest of the three episodes is as it purports, a study of pain. Vic/Cyborg having left the team joins a trauma group. While initially seen as an outsider, he makes a connection Roni Evers (Karen Obsilom). While initially standoffish, their connection becomes deeper…initially. Roni’s trauma is intimated via her walking with a cane. A later deeper reveal is powerful and illustrates how badly both people are scarred by brutal trauma. The body horror in this segment was unsettling and permeated throughout. The notion of Roni’s physical trauma is jarring but a later reveal shows the true scarring and defining moments of her character run far deeper. Performances in this run were knock it out of the park good.

Cliff attempting to meet his daughter as a defiant gesture against Niles plays out as expected with all parties, including Jane and the police, cutting him some slack. His own torment surpasses whatever punishment anyone could place on him. Where the episode rose however was in the rescue mission headed by Niles and Rita. We get an early flashback of Niles’ first meeting with Red Jack (Roger Floyd) and recognize the pure evil of this character. Jack’s kidnapping Larry to barter with Niles allowed for deeply unsettling moments and the acknowledgement that this is a foe that needs putting down. Where the episode rises however is in Rita’s sequences with Cliff. The flashback scenes offer how strong their relationship is, one spanning decades. Her pushing past Jack’s tortures to reach him is a battle cry of pure will. All moments which follow reminds us that at heart this is a series about family; a twisted and broken group, but ultimately a family. Doom Patrol has lost not a step and stands to deliver at the very least a season as good as its first.

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This was such a good capper to an already excellent season. After the botched landing that was season one’s finale, there was always a possibility that this run could have ended the same way. What we got instead is as close to a perfect finish as one could imagine. My review follows below.

The opening -featuring the City of Gotham awarding the heroes who defeated Dr. Psycho (Tony Hale) and his para demons – played for laughs with Jim Gordon (Chris Meloni) being the butt of the jokes. Characters who had nothing to do with the big event were rewarded, namely Space Cabbie, Tommy Tomorrow and Vibe….with the mayor awarding himself an honor as well. Gordon’s fury is understandable and his venting of it is relate-able both on and off camera. Gordon’s conversation with Harvey Dent (Andrew Daly) set the stage for a grand finale.

I can honestly say I did not expect things to play out as they did and with any series, particularly one featuring a fairly wild,zany.01 anti hero, this is a good thing. The Gordon plan to invade Ivy’s (Lake Bell) wedding is his attempt to obtain the respect he feels has been denied him. For Dent, it is an opportunity his dual persona can capitalize on by involving the now incarcerated Harley (Kaley Cuoco).

The entire ep was gold with no filler. The appearance of the animated presence of Tim Burton as a wedding guest for Catwoman (Sanaa Latham) was perfect. Clayface’s (Alan Tudyk) attempt to win a role with Burton via singing a powerful aria at Ivy’s wedding was just such epic gonzo fare and played to the series’ appropriate crescendo. King Shark (Ron Funches) and Frank the Plant (J.B. Smoove) striving to get Harley to come to Ivy’s wedding is matched by her own desire to do right by her friend and not muck things up.

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Kiteman’s moments with Ivy were superior. Chuck Brown/Kiteman (Matt Oberg) was a surprise hit with fans. His relationship with Ivy was equally and unexpectedly well received. As such, and while fans understand the inextricable push to unite Harley and Ivy romantically, the desire to not rush to it and allow the K.M./Ivy romance to play out was a tight wire act of balancing for the show’s creative team.

I wondered how matters would play out as while KM’s devotion to her is unquestionable, Ivy’s connection to Harley is irrefutable. Ivy doing everything in her power to give K.M. the wedding he deserved was both funny and touchingly desperate. A scene featuring her and the Condiment King (Tudyk) was just awesome.

Harley’s ultimately working to save Ivy’s wedding while incurring of the wrath of Jennifer (Mary Holland) and the other bridesmaids, as well as the attending guests/general public, was good drama. The moments between the two women illustrate a connection that goes beyond standard definitions of good/evil and relationship dynamics. The honest moment where Ivy professes struggling to look after everyone was earnestly delivered and reminds the viewer again that Lake Bell deserves equal billing on this series.

The final throw down was as expected – insane. Seeing Gordon broker a media victory for himself and the Gotham City Police Dept was equally so. Harley’s claiming mvp status unsettles everything and allows for some beautiful and wacky sequences. Kiteman comes off well in this episode, declaring openly what he deserves and understandably so. The finale truthfully could have played as a series ender with its chase sequence and promise of a true conclusion or ongoing legend of infamy. Harley nails it, delivering an outstanding series finale that was assuredly well worth your time.

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Every week gets better. The feeling that the writing team is making their way to the series finale with an epic finish seems a foregone conclusion. This week featured various pairings of the team, with the May/Coulson duo being matched nearly as well by the Daisy/Sousa tandem. Good action, much intrigue and another entertaining yarn were put forth. My review follows below.

For the look and feel of 70s America alone, the show was a success. The intro was just fantastic, hearkening to the television openers of said decade. A later moment featuring Enoch (Joel Stoffer) was just sci-fi gravy. So much goodness occurred with this run. Now in another decade, Sousa (Enver Gjokaj) discovers much has changed. His clothing selection reflects his staunch adherence to his personality and worked perfectly. Saving Sousa by pulling him out of the timeline is met by an equal move by the lead Chronicon (Tobias Jelinek). A rendezvous by the team at the “Crazy Canoe” reveals how insidious the Chronicons’ long game truly is.

The return of Rick Stoner (Patrick Warburton) who is presently considered a S.H.I.E.L.D. icon rankles Sousa who saw him as a bit of a fool aka “Little Ricky”. A quick reveal of Stoner’s commander explains quite a bit. Deke’s (Jeff Ward) resentment at the survival of Wilfred Malick (Neal Bledsoe)pushes a move against the status quo on his part.

While the humor element that informs most of Marvel’s offerings was duly represented, we got more of an urgency with this run. The suggestion that this enemy is too many steps ahead has been posited since inception but with this latest ep we got a powerful demonstration of the Chronicons outmatching the AOS team brilliantly. Jemma’s (Elizabeth Hentsridge) experiencing some cognitive dissonance reminds us of hers, Fitz’ and Enoch’s own long game and she bears the brunt of their arrangement.

Sousa got a decent bit to do with this run. He offers the titular theory to Coulson (Clark Gregg) as the two discuss time’s obduracy. Coulson expected the Chrons to respond to his rejection of their offer but their actions were still not predictable. Sousa’s suggesting that every move the team makes worsens matters gains some credibility. His pairing with Daisy (Chloe Bennett) however created a new dynamic which demonstrated an easy chemistry between the two. Sousa’s addition allows for both fresh eyes on matters and a bit of a more steadfast conscience.

The duo of May (Ming-Na Wen) and Coulson is always superb. This time was no different. LMD Coulson is in many respects still Coulson. May still struggling with her empathetic abilities but lacking emotions of her own is new fare for the most capable member of the team. Seeing the two reconnect is still one of the better bits of drama offered by the series.

While the team proves that even Malick has some humanity, their actions ultimately might have created a greater monster than before with the now equally displaced Nathaniel Malick (Thomas Sullivan) becoming something malevolent. Mac (Henry Simmons) gets formidably outplayed in this run. The victory he gains in preventing a forty year jump on Project Insight is costly and we are left with a cliff-hanger-y ending placing all members of the team in jeopardy.

The free mining of the connections with the MCU movie-verse is very much appreciated. The Hydra Insight arc was exceedingly clever. The reference to the preemptive targets was equally so. AOS is as solid as it has ever been and not yet at the half way point is proving itself simply outstanding and well worth your time.

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Well then. This was a much improved run. Many lessons are learned. Pat Dugan gets a few wins and the titular Stargirl actually manages to learn something and not be too disrespectful while doing so. While the series is very much slow burn with regard to the past linking to the present, this latest episode really brought traction and moved the narrative forward. My review follows below.

Courtney (Brec Bassinger) arrives home to find Pat (Luke Wilson) awaiting her. The confrontation was long in coming and Pat’s matter of fact approach of deep disappointment was superb. Mentioning the late son of the Wizard punctuated his argument. She really does not know what she is doing and his mentioning the Green Lantern as a particularly deadly weapon quickly reminds fans of both the legacy and loss of the original JSA. Pat’s mentioning Courtney’s disrespect of him was also long overdue.

As this is a series about superheroes, we know damned well Courtney will not successfully be taking back the items given to her new friends and nascent team mates. The moments where she tries however were cringe worthy…and properly so. Seeing Yolanda (Yvette Monreal) hopeful and teaching herself about the original Ted Grant/Wildcat was earnest. No less so was Beth Chapel (Angelika Washington) expressing her glee at having a new friend, namely the A.I.”Chuck” containing a vestige of the original Dr. Midnite (Henry Thomas). Her chatting with the A.I. ably illustrates how lonely and generally friendless she is. Washington does a fine job at making this notion heartfelt. Pat’s attempt to talk Rick (Cameron Gellman) out of using his father’s gifts goes about as well as expected. Rick’s obtaining his father’s journal from Pat however might yield something worthwhile down the line.

This episode could very well have been titled “Pat’s Purpose” as it has often been called into question. More often than not Courtney slights him and in this case her new team does the same. He manages to be mvp again with this run and this is a good thing.

Where this ep rises above those that precede it however is in further demonstration of the genuine threat posed by the Injustice Society. Enter Larry Crock/Sportsmaster (Neil Higgins) and his wife Paula Brooks/Tigress (Joy Osmanski. We meet them as their daughter Artemis (Stella Smith) is playing football on an all male team. She is clearly superior in her speed and training but her temper gets the better of her and she is put on the sidelines by her coach. We see her parents reaction and shortly afterwards witness their displeasure. The appearance of Jordan/Icicle (Neil Jackson) reminds them quickly who is in charge. A later mission illustrates how physically formidable they are and how lethal they can be.

The notion of knowing one’s enemy is very much at the heart of this series. The new JSA push Courtney to take their first “simple” mission, namely nabbing the Gambler (Eric Goins) who they discover has a mission of his own. We know from inception as fans of this genre that the team will underestimate their opponents but it did make for some stellar action sequences and visuals.

I have to say I did dig seeing the new team suit up. Even in their raw state, it is easily predictable that will eventually be a force. Hourman and Wildcat came off well in their battles…as did Stargirl though it nearly costs her dearly.

For the final sequence alone, the episode was superior as Courtney sits with Pat and regales him with how difficult it is to lead those who won’t listen. The entire segment was smile inducing.

I would be remiss if I did not mention Neil Jackson’s turn as Jordan Mahkent in lieu of his Icicle persona. His moments with his son as he celebrates his late wife’s birthday were excellent. A restaurant scene was especially well done.

This week’s episode was far more on point and focused. If Stargirl can keep going in this direction, it will hopefully fill the void currently occupied by the decline of current CW/DC fare.

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This was just gold. A noir episode detective yarn shot in black and white made for this season’s strongest offering yet. Daniel Sousa’s final recorded mission ties in with Coulson’s gritty narrative and makes for an entertaining run. My review follows below.

We meet Coulson (Clark Gregg) after he has recovered from the EMP generated at the end of last week’s episode. His vision circuits are damaged so as such he sees everything in black and white. This is an excellent plot device. The preceding scene featuring Sousa (Enver Gjokaj) meeting his end after dropping off a briefcase runs with the black and white aspect, pushing the gritty fifties style detective plot.

The notion of ‘ripples’ not ‘waves’ is tested in this run. We later get a re-visitation of Freddie…now Wilfred Malick’s (Neal Bledsoe)fate and learn that had Deke (Jeff Ward) taken him out per Daisy’s (Chloe Bennett) order, the world might have been a better place. The revelation that in California 1955, Daniel Sousa ran his last mission,a delivery of tech to Howard Stark frames the bulk of the episode.

The partnering of Sousa and Coulson unquestionably worked. Coulson’s freewheeling adaptability in his current incarnation is well…superb. There is more of a sense of play as he is essentially indestructible….and immortal…the latter aspect of which gains some visiting later. Coulson convinces…tenuously….Sousa that he is a scientist and his ally in getting the tech to Stark. A recon mission by YoYo (Natalie Cordova-Buckley) and Deke adds an element of intrigue as while they recover the item in question, Deke is taken. Conversations on modifying time for the better occur between Deke and YoYo that get later delving and push toward a different path being taken when next an opportunity presents itself.

May’s (Ming-Na Wen)seeming PTSD turns out to be something completely unexpected and unwanted by one of the team’s most reserved and contained members. Her being able to channel empathy might prove to be useful in the team’s ongoing mission but it is absolutely unsettling to May. YoYo’s lack of being able to access her abilities forces her to rely more on her skills and intelligence, but is still a powerful impediment to the Inhuman speedster.

The bridge between story arcs and characters is the normally stoic and now hilariously snarky Enoch. His having been stuck at the “Crazy Canoe” bar for twenty four years as a bartender has allowed for his unhappiness. Sob stories from drunken low grade AOS members do not help but do make for funny sequences. Enoch’s primary goal is to return to the team but finds himself instead merely connecting the members via phone calls to the Zephyr. Enoch’s disenchantment did make for needed levity.

The question of should and can time be altered gets a deep delve in this run.Despite the team’s striving to keep Sousa from his objective and fate, he hurtles nevertheless towards it. The notion of time’s obduracy is an oft broached plot device in numerous mediums. Sousa’s race to his fate and the salvation of many via his mission being successful leads to a ‘cheat’ of sorts. To every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. The Chronicon/Luke’s (Tobias Jelinek) initial meeting with Coulson is a last temptation offer that we know is doomed to fail. The later response at the episode’s end features that same Chronicon in a meeting which acts as a response to the team’s own attempt to foil time.

AOS is on fire this season. Each episode seems poised to be superior to the one that precedes it. With nine more to go until the series finale, I am braced for what stands to be another superior season.

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Well, this penultimate episode surely delivered. We get action en masse. We get solid drama. We of course get damned fine humor. Most importantly we get a perfect balance between superhero/supervillain fare and an engaging, earnest dramatic narrative. Harley Season 2 has presented an ever evolving show. My review follows below.

Opening where last week’s run left off, Ivy (Lake Bell) presently possessed by Psycho (Tony Hale) endeavors to kill Harley (Kaley Cuoco). Harley barely escapes and with the aid of Kiteman (Matt Oberg) works on a plan to free Ivy and defeat Psycho. This episode unleashed a great bit of superhero fare. This was exceedingly well done with light elements of camp. Superman (James Wolk) making puns then chiding Wonder Woman about racism due to her anticipating he spoke para demon because he is an alien was funny as hell. Her eye roll was priceless. Batman’s (Diedrich Bader) bemoaning Wayne Tower insurance coverage later was a gleeful touch as well.

The battle between Psycho’s(Tony Hale) forces and the JLA however was top tier. Seeing the former speaker of the word “even Darkseid (Michael Ironside) dare not utter” suddenly controlling an army and making Harley’s team his personal defense was well played. Seeing his rise to actual super villain status worked. Having him banter and play with Darkseid was insane.

Joker’s (Alan Tudyk) relegation as observer with occasional commentary thrown in was as bizarre as his attempting to make a normal relationship work. This show is above all gonzo. I have questions as to where the remainder of the league was, including the recently returned Flash but seeing the three on three fight sequences served to remind us that the Justice League in any form is a force. Seeing King Shark (Ron Funches), Clayface (Alan Tudyk) and Ivy as their darkest selves was quite something. Harley’s “you could have become this all along and you wasted your time becoming coeds and divorcees…?” was on point as Clayface transforms into a giant, nasty machine of destruction. King Shark’s blood driven feral state was nothing to sneeze at either. Psycho’s early mining KS’s memories earlier for embarrassing memories yielded pretty dark material.

The “Sy Net” aspect was just superior and allowed that the really fun character of Sy Borgman (Jason Alexander)is far from done. Kiteman knowing Morse code was funny. Having him attempt to help Sy reconstitute himself was juxtaposed with his explaining to Harley that not everyone can fly his kites. Her ‘soaring majestically’ moment afterward was a perfect response. Kiteman who began as a joke is now a stumbling plot to the push toward the Harley and Ivy dynamic as he is a lovable endearing doofus who genuinely cares about her and really is doing his best to help everyone.

The end segment of Psycho’s petty victory earns some humorous moments but outs Harley and Ivy’s affair leaving a cliffhanger follow up that stands to make for an amazingly watchable episode with next week’s finale. Harley Quinn Season 2 has been absolutely superb, presenting next to no filler and creating its own universe. Harley is simply outstanding and well worth your time.