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Emerald City Season Finale

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There have been a lot of “new” shows this season that have built upon a pre-existing context. We have seen revisions of multiple superhero shows, new takes on classic movies and shows like Lethal Weapon, Frequency and MacGyver. Is Hollywood simply out of ideas? Or is it seeking to take these classics and remake them for the next generation because their characters are just so universally timeless?

The Wizard of Oz is one of these classics. It has been redone in movie form several times since the original film debuted, and of course has been redone in musical form as well. However, this is the first time that they have attempted to make a television series. Emerald City is definitely different than any Oz or Dorothy characters that we have ever seen before.

This season has seen a new world of Oz created, relationships between characters that we never envisioned. The show has focused on the witches and their power and the magic that makes Oz what it is, along side the science that the Wizard has brought. We have been introduced to new characters that never existed before. There has been a menacing darkness to several of these characters–not just the witches–that seems to permeate the entire show. Secrets upon secrets yet to be revealed. Political alliances and matters of the heart that somehow weave all of the different threads of the story together, yet we don’t know how.

And of course there is “the beast forever” that is constantly alluded to, and yet no one seems to know who or what it is, or more importantly what it wants besides carnage and destruction.

In the season finale Dorothy finally chooses to help the wizard in the hopes that he may take her home. She doesn’t like him or agree with him, but she thinks if she can go home, then she can take him with her and stop anymore wars in Oz between magic and science.

Several important realizations happen in the finale. Dorothy realizes what a despicable coward the wizard is, and that she may have chosen the wrong side but that she needs to get home. She learns that the woman she thought was her mother is not her mother at all and that her real mom is still in Oz. Her real mom actually shoots the wizard. It is her real mom that sends her home and tells her that it is to protect her, while she must stay in Oz to keep Dorothy safe. She learns of Lucas’/Rowan’s true feelings and must choose between him and herself. And all of the characters learn that while they have been fighting amongst themselves, the real threat has grown ever stronger, and now they are all in mortal peril.

In the final moments, Dorothy is once again home, but her mind goes back to Oz and all of the questions left unanswered. As she heads out to the fields to think she suddenly sees Rowan and thinks it must be a mirage. But he is real. He tells her that her mother sent him to retrieve her. Oz needs her help. The Beast Forever has returned and only Dorothy can defeat it.

No idea if the show will be picked up for another season or what direction they will take now. Obviously Dorothy will go back to Oz, but how and to what end? Who is Dorothy really and why is she so important?

I did enjoy the show mainly because it was so different, and it had some great acting. But I don’t think it will be mainstream or risqué enough to do well long term. It has intense emotion and sexuality but it isn’t blatant, which seems to be more what the public prefers. I guess we will have to wait and see!!

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Timeless Season Finale

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Timeless has seen some twists and turns during its first season, all of which I have enjoyed despite some of the lackluster reviews.  Although it has received some negative feedback, I personally have enjoyed this show for a few different reasons.  I have appreciated the different periods in history that it has chosen to portray and the pivotal events it captured.  I have also liked the chemistry between the actors and their loyalty to each other, which lend to a lasting bond.

The underlying plot of destroying Rittenhouse gives a kind of Machiavellian overtone to the whole series and reminds me a lot of movies such as National Treasure or even The Da Vinci Code.  Fighting against an unknown foe of legendary power whose reach goes as far into the past as it does into the future.

And although it seems in the finale that they have finally won against Ritten House because they were able to go back and find one of the founding members, Lucy’s Grandfather, and enlist his help in stockpiling years and years of evidence against all of their crimes so that in the future they could bring them down, their victory is short lived.  Lucy plans to now use the The Life Boat one last time to go back and get her sister back in the timeline.  But doing so may cause her mother to be tragically ill again–as she was when the show first opened and Lucy’s sister Amy was still alive.

Having a crisis of conscience at what may come to pass, Lucy confesses the truth to her mother and lets her know what she has been working on and that there is a chance she may be sick again.  We expect her mother to either be completely disbelieving or incredulous but instead she says “Oh dear, Ritten House would never allow that to happen”.  Lucy is shocked.  She can’t believe what she is hearing.  Her mother not only knows about Ritten House but is in league with them??  She doesn’t care if she gets some daughter (who she doesn’t even know about) back, if it risks her becoming ill.  She too believes it is Lucy’s destiny to work for Ritten House, the same way that her absentee father did.

The utter betrayal in the last 2 minutes of the season finale set up an entirely new and different direction for the next season.  Taking the one relationship that Lucy cherished most and exploiting and destroying it will definitely lend another dimensions to future seasons.  Hopefully Timeless makes the cut and returns for another season so we can find out what happens!

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Legion Series Premiere

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Legion premiered on Bravo just two weeks ago and it is off to a bizarre and intriguing start. When I first starting watching this show, I did wonder if maybe I had a bad acid trip or worry that I was possibly having a medical condition and that is why my brain was unable to process just what the hell was happening.  However, mid-way through the episode I realized that there had to be something else going on, and that is right about when we first get to hear the word “Mutant”.

Although in many ways you can compare some of the characters and details to the famous X-Men, Bravo has also taken a dramatically different spin on how the story is unfolding, and how the cinematography portrays the plot line.  The main character, David, who is played by is a powerful telepath, and although he senses that he has powers he has also been told his entire life that he is a paranoid schizophrenic.  In fact he has been living in a mental institution for most of his life.  Until “the incident” where one of his friends is killed. We find out later that he actually  switches bodies with his “girlfriend” during the incident and that is when Division Three comes after him.  You might say that he is as powerful as Jean Grey from the X-men, and that his mentor is similar to Charles Xavier.  Even his girlfriends abilities are similar to that of Rogue from the X-men.  There is a home for all of the mutants to live, grow, study and train called Summerland that is separate from society and seems akin to the Xavier Institute for the gifted.

However, despite these many similarities there are also a lot of dramatic and different artistic presentations.  As well as a dark and grittiness to the story that sets it apart from the “superhero angle that the X-men represent. The episodes constantly flash back from present and past, as well as from inside David’s mind to what is actually happening.  The line between the real, the imaginary and the insane is stretched incredibly thin as the writers play with the audiences sense of reality and stability.  In a very clever and unique way they want us to be just as unstable and confused as David is as he figures out which memories are real, discovers his powers and learns who to trust.  There is also a sinister monster lurking somewhere that we don’t yet know if it is a real physical threat or a mental manifestation of something that David needs to face.  There are hints and foreshadowing that there is a war coming between mutants and mankind (another X-men similarity), and that David is the key.  Which is why both sides are so eager to have him.

There is a darkness in many elements of this show.  The brutal death of his insane friend and how she still appears to him and talks to him.  Allusions to his past drug usage and violence associated with both the mental hospital, the government, and inside his own mind.  It is definitely not a show for those who like clear cut plot lines, moral themes or a sense of normalcy.  This show will challenge your brain, make you re-think the possible and definitely leave you dazed and a little confused.  For those who like a series that is eclectic and different than popular television, this is definitely for you!

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The Flash Mid-Season Episodes 1-2

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We are now a couple of episodes back into the season, and the story arch of The Flash is starting to take  more concrete shape.  No more jumping from villain to villain, but rather a focus on Barry, Iris and the team and how they can change their fate.  The Flash chose to do a Mid-Season premiere that was a little bit calmer and more normal than most.  No huge immediate crisis, no new villains, just a team of friends figuring out how they are going to deal with the future that Barry saw in the mid-season finale.

I, for one, actually liked this approach.  Yes it was different and less dynamic and intense than most mid-season premieres, but it was also more real and relatable. We got to see more of the team’s feelings for one another and their human side as opposed to always focusing on the most current mission and nemesis.  It was also a solid foundation for laying the framework, for what I am fairly sure will be total heartbreak when Barry is not able to defeat Savitar and save Iris.  I am still hopeful, for their sake, but I have seen enough Super Hero shows to know that heroes do not get to be happy in love, and that time travel and trying to change the future rarely, if ever, works out. Plus the over the top house-warming party and speeches on the perfect couple will be that much more devastating when it is no more.

The second episode dealt more with H.R. Wells.  I did love the H.R. Wells from Earth 2, so it has taken me a while to get on board with this new character and his contributions to the team, because really he has none.  But little by little he is becoming more interesting, and the second episode helps us explore Cisco and his powers as Vibe a little more as well.  Little by little all of the members of the team (with the exception of Iris and Joe) are beginning to have powers that can help our Barry.  Now we have Vibe, Kid-Flash, and Killer Frost although Caitlyn is not her she does still have her powers.  And Barry will need all of them as he strives to race against time to figure out how to change Iris’s fate.

Either way, the rest of this season will be a very pivotal time for Barry and the entire team as they both become stronger and get ready to deal again with one of the deadliest speedsters they have ever faced–the god of time himself, Savitar.

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Super Girl Mid-Season Premiere

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How did I miss the clues??  The mid-season premiere foreshadowed some changes, which I really should have seen coming!  Keep reading to see what you need to be aware of before tonights show!

Super Girl picked up right where it left off at the mid-season finale, except that there is no mention of Mon-El being kidnapped, he is simply back working at the bar and hanging out like he has always been.  While, he and Kara are still at odds over what it means to have their powers, Alex continues to grow in her new relationship and what it means to finally be out as a gay woman with a girlfriend, while Winn copes with some minor post-traumatic stress after almost being shot on an outing with Guardian.

Then Kara starts to investigate some missing persons along with Mon-El and discovers a portal where young and healthy human beings are being taken to another planet with the nickname Slavers Moon.  Although Kara does not have any powers on this planet because of their red sun, she still stands up for those who are being captured and of course her attitude leads them to realize (like they should have all along) that together than can overpower their captors.

Meanwhile Alex heads up a team to go and retrieve Kara and Mon-El and Winn overcomes his fears by facing up to them on an alien planet.  But these are all just minor details to a typical episode.  What is really important is what we find out about Mon-El!  Although it hasn’t been revealed yet, there are several indicators in this episode that let us know that Mon-El is actually the Prince of Daxem!  How did I miss this??  In Mon-El’s original story he says that he was the prince’s slave and that at the last moment the Prince sacrificed his life and sent Mon-El to earth in the spacecraft.  Because they actually show the moment happening, we as the audience were kind of lured into a false security and never questioned its validity.

However, the slave-traders on Slavers Moon have a reverence and respect for Mon-El and don’t harm him, even as he escaping.  They even specifically say “not this one.  He is not to be harmed”.  Earlier Mon-El has confessed to Kara that Daxem was known to take slaves from this planet, so their reaction to him helps the pieces to start to fall into place.  Then at the end of the episode when two menacing beings in cloaks show up on Slaver’s Moon inquiring about Mon-El and showing a holographic image that has Mon-El it much different attire, we realize that Mon-El’s escape story was a cover.  For no one would search for a slave across planets– but an escaped Prince?  Now he is definitely worth tracking down.

We don’t know how this new information will affect Mon-El and Kara’s relationship.  They have started to grow closer and at the end of the episode he tells her that he finally wants to be a Hero.  He wants her to train him and he wants to do more with his life.

So far the rest of this season is not set up with an ultimate nemesis or any real plot structure, so we can only assume that Mon-El’s true identity and what he is really running from will add some fire to future episodes!

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Sherlock Season 4 Episodes 2 & 3, and Series Review

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The past couple of weeks have been a whirlwind.  We waited for months and months for Sherlock Season 4 to finally premiere, and after just three short weeks it is already gone. The last few weeks have been riveting, which makes the absence all that much more severe. The 4th season of Sherlock did not disappoint, in fact I think these last two episodes were some of the most brilliant that Sherlock has ever done.

Following the unexpected and tragic death of Mary Watson, as seen in the season premiere, Episode 2 showed us a version of Sherlock and John who are again very estranged.  The last time we saw them this distant was when Sherlock faked his own death.  But this is different.  There is an even darker and more sorrowful element to it, as the woman who in many ways kept them together and bridged their personality divide is gone.  They both loved her very much, in a very different way.   Sherlock feels extreme guilt over not keeping his promise to protect her, and John feels extreme anger towards Sherlock for much the same thing, not to mention that she died saving his life.  The episode opens with John grieving deeply and even seeking out therapy.  Conversely we find Sherlock dealing with his grief in a much different way as he delves back into his drug addiction.  What we don’t know until the very end of the episode is that part of Sherlock’s drug addiction is in fact his intense and sincere desire to follow Mary’s advice from the grave.  After she was killed a cd was delivered in which she told Sherlock that he would need to save John Watson–from himself.  John would not ask for help, and he would push others way.  But if he felt that Sherlock needed him to save him–really and truly needed him, he would be there.  But it can’t be fake, it needs to be a true and sincere need.

She advises Sherlock to put himself in serious danger.  Not only does Sherlock again become addicted to drugs, but he engages with a very powerful and public philanthropist whom he accuses of being a serial killer.  Taking on any sadistic serial killer is dangerous enough, but taking on a very public and popular figure and accusing them of such things, while being in a drug addicted state, is both completely ludicrous and completely brilliant. It is in this epic combination of characteristics that we find the heart and soul of Sherlock Holmes.  The ridiculous and abrasive genius that we all love, despite his eccentricity and his apathetic attitude.

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Of course Sherlock is right about the serial killer, who has indeed created his own hospital of terror where he can slip in and out of rooms and kill people at will, all while looking like a hero to the rest of the world.  Watson breaks in to “save” Sherlock while he is being suffocated, but of course Sherlock has anticipated every move and records the killer’s confession.  Probably the most beautiful thing about this episode is that Mary is still around–metaphorically anyway.  John continues to see, hear and interact with his dead wife throughout the show, and the dialogue is incredibly clever and engaging.  It also ends with a very poignant scene where John confesses to Sherlock (and the figment of Mary) that he cheated on her.  Not in person, but through text messages where he corresponded with another woman. The guilt he feels, coupled with the love that is evident he feels for his wife, is an intense and tragic combination.  Probably two of the best lines happen during this time when Sherlock says to him “It’s not okay.  But it is what it is”.  How often is this sentiment true during so many tragic moments of life.  And then when he tells Mary that he wants to be the man she always saw him as and she tells him, “Well, then get the hell on with it”, in true Mary fashion.

The truck shock of the episode comes in the last 30 seconds or so, when John’s therapist is revealed to not only be the woman John has been texting, as well as the mysterious person who pretended to be the serial killer’s daughter, but Sherlock’s sister as well!!  What??  Sherlock has a sister??!  Which brings us to episode 4…

In one of the most haunting, intriguing and emotionally stark episodes Sherlock has ever done, we discover that Sherlock indeed has a sister.  One that is incredibly brilliant, manipulative, and sadistic, and also severely emotionally scarred from their childhood.  Sherlock was so scarred intact that his mind erased her completely.  He simply does not remember her and has to know why.  The episode opens with a girl being trapped on a plane where everyone is asleep and she doesn’t know how to wake them up to to land.  She is panicked and afraid.

Then we jump to Mycroft being terrorized in his own home by clowns and all sorts of psycho encounters that seems may be linked to his sister, until we find out that it is Sherlock and John playing a horrible joke on him in order to get him to confess that Sherlock truly does have a sister, and that she has escaped and shot John (it was a tranquilizer dart so its okay).

Mycroft has had his sister locked up in one of the most secure facilities for mental patients for years because of an incident that happened when they were children.  His parents believe she is dead but she is alive and Mycroft is the only one who has seen her.  Then how did she get out to infiltrate herself into Sherlock’s life?  Confused yet?? Just wait.

Yes, in true Sherlock style this episode was filled with flashbacks, words unsaid, mysteries, speaking in riddles and complex emotions that forced Sherlock to not only use his brilliant mind, but deal with his emotions as well.  He discovers that his sister has not only taken over the entire prison (so that she controls everyone inside), but that she has a much darker trap in mind for him, one that she set up with Moriarty years ago during a brief visit between the two of them.  Sherlock, John and Mycroft are then taken through a series of horrible situations where Sherlock must not only figure out different riddles but where someone will die unless he does.  Time and time again even after figuring the riddle out, she kills these poor victims anyway.  She is as brilliant as Sherlock but with even less empathy and emotion.  For although Sherlock hides his emotions, they do exist.  After years in solitude and feeling abandoned as a child, hers never formed.

While John’s life hangs in the balance, Sherlock literally races the clock and in a very moving moment realizes what it is that his sister has always wanted.  She wants to be rescued.  When they were children she killed his best friend, simply because she wanted to play with Sherlock, and so the horrifying scene is replaying itself again. He finds her, he hugs her and tells her that he will never leave her again and she tells him where John is being held.

This was one of the most intense episodes because of the emotionality that it contained.  Sherlock’s dysfunctional and somewhat sadistic family is reunited, all siblings and parents.  He and John reforge their friendship and their partnership.  Mary’s voice again appears to foreshadow a future where Watson and Holmes will always be together, solving one case at a time.  It was a pretty fitting tying together of all loose ends and a good place to end the series, and yet I am still in mourning.  They did an excellent job with this season and with what “could” be the series finale, but part of me still hopes it is not the end.

 

There are so many new series introduced to us every few months on dozens of channels and streaming networks.  Yet, truly epic characters and shows are not as frequent.  Sherlock has been, for me, one of these epic shows where not only are our hearts tied to these characters and invested in their well-being, but where we are challenged intellectually as well.  The cinematography was excellent, each storyline challenging and intriguing, and the acting brilliant.  If it is truly the end, then what an amazing journey it has been, and we have all been privileged to be carried along.

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Emerald City

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After watching Emerald City, I think I may now know a little more about how the original Dorothy felt when she first landed in Oz! Honestly I had no expectations for this show at all, so I didn’t come to it with any pretenses. Having said that, it was not what I expected! Definitely a darker and more intense version of the Wizard of Oz than has ever been done before. First, they have Dorothy being of mysterious origin (there is later foreshadowing that she may be a witch), as she is left as a baby with Auntie Em. They also decided to make her of Hispanic descent, or at least being raised in the Hispanic culture. Twenty years after being left with Auntie Em, her mother returns to Lucas, Kansas and Dorothy has yet to make contact. She is a nurse, and although she wants to see her mother she does not yet think she is good enough. She finally chooses to confront her mother on the night of a severe twister (why, you say? Dramatic effect). What she finds is a small trailer full of storm tracking equipment and a blood trail leading to a dead police officer. She then checks the storm cellar and finds her biological mother lying in a pool of blood dying. Determined to get her help, she heads to find more police, even though her mother warns her to run and that the police are bad.

Outside the storm rages on, and even as she calls to a policeman for help, he turns to shoot her but is swept up in a twister. Dorothy jumps into his car and buckles her seatbelt. She is swept up as well and when the car lands, in lands right on top of a mysterious woman dressed all in red. Cold, hurt, disorientated and filled with feelings of grief over killing this stranger, she leaves the car to head out into the snow and wilderness. She is found by a tribe of children who then take her to a tribe of elders, who are not nearly as nice and cute as the munchkins we are used to!

And from here Dorothy’s journey begins. She is not heralded for killing this evil witch, rather she is tortured because only a witch can kill a witch. She still does not know where she is, and yet she seems to accept this new bizarre world a lot better than I would! Oz is a dark place where there are three witches (not just the two we are used to), as well as native tribes, the powerful Wizard and a yellow road that is not made of Bricks but rather poppy seeds (or opium). The scarecrow is not a brainless idiot, but rather a fierce warrior with amnesia.

The trio of witch sisters all vary greatly in this new tale. One is sadistic and hungry for power and torture—this is the one Dorothy is thought to have killed but who later comes back to torture her and the “scarecrow” she finds. Her curiosity over Dorothy’s gun proves her downfall as she does not know what it is and Dorothy has her turn it on herself and pull the trigger. Another one of the sisters appears to be a Madam of a whore-house and is full of dark and lascivious ways, with a drug problem. And lastly is “Glinda”, who appears to be chaste and clean but with such a menacing demeanor that the viewer realizes she might be the most vile witch of all.

The witches have struck some sort of accord with The Wizard who apparently destroyed “the beast” when it came last time, but now there are signs of “the beast” returning again.

All in all, when I finished the season premiere I was left with many more questions than answers, and I wasn’t sure what I had just watched?? So many differing aspects pulled from a variety of genres in this show. I am not sure how it will hold up or unfold over time. It could be genius, or it could end up a hot mess. Truly it will depend on the story-telling and the acting. It did feel a little choppy to me, and as if they tried to cram too many new elements into on episode, but premieres of new shows are always tricky this way. They need to get the audience excited, but not overwhelmed. I hope that it will start to flow a little better in future episodes.

Questions the viewer was left with; Is Dorothy a witch or the Beast? Who is the young boy whom she rescues? He seems to hold a vital secret. What does Lucas’ (the scarecrow) past hold? And what is this sinister and dark world that we have stumbled upon? The backdrop can best be described as “Willow” meets “Star Wars” in terms of the kind of place Oz is shown to be. Different creatures, tribes, magic, monsters, and much more I am sure remains to be seen in this new world.

I am not sure I enjoyed the season premiere, but it definitely intrigued me and I am curious to see where this series goes.

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Sherlock Season 4 Premiere

sherlockunknownWhere oh where have you been Sherlock?! It is always entirely too long between Sherlock seasons, even if Benedict Cumberbatch has been pretty busy.

For all of those who have been eagerly awaiting the world’s most complex and witty detective, the season four premiere of Sherlock did not disappoint. It picked up exactly where we left our favorite crime solving duo, but instead of focusing on a possible fake death of Moriarty, as was teased in the season three finale, Sherlock asserts that Moriarty is definitely dead and is focused on figuring out whatever “game” Moriarty has left for him to play.

The beginning of the episode spends most of its time watching Sherlock over-extend himself on dozens of cases non-stop, looking for the next challenge while his friends go about their lives. Watson and Mary give birth to a baby girl, christen her, and get thrown into the world of parenthood, and all the while Sherlock pours himself into work and continues to look for a challenging case. Finally, as he solves the death of a young man who is the son of a wealthy senator, he notices an oddity in the home of the young man’s parents. Upon further inspection he learns that they were recently robbed and the only thing destroyed is the marble dais of Margaret Thatcher. He finds this very curious and thinks that somehow it must be linked to Moriarty. He traces five more broken statues in hopes of figuring out what is going on, but instead of being lead to Moriarty, instead the chain leads him to a secret from Mary’s past.

Sherlock swears that he will protect Mary no matter what, even when her life is threatened by a teammate from her past. And although Mary tries to flee and get as far away as possible from Watson and their baby, Rosamund, Sherlock and Watson still track her down and find her. They are not going to let her go that easily. The chemistry between the three of them; Sherlock, Watson, and Mary, is one of my favorite things about this show. Not very many people challenge Sherlock. None really. Watson is an amazing friend, and loyal to a fault, but he doesn’t challenge him. While Sherlock values John and his input, he doesn’t challenge him in my opinion. Mary on the other hand, she challenges Sherlock. Always has. She isn’t intimidated by him. She is smart. She is funny. She is an amazing buffer for Sherlock and Watson and has always respected their friendship and seen it for its uniqueness.  She even encourages their friendship and helps them get through times when they are both being stubborn.

However, she has a past life as a spy and assassin that we all knew would come back to haunt her at some point. And although I am not surprised that Mary’s past came back to haunt them all, I have to say I was a little shocked **spoiler alert** at their decision to kill Mary off so early in the fourth season. Of course as a fan of Mary’s, and as a mother, seeing a new mom killed and leaving behind her infant child did not sit well with me. At the same time, with Moriarty gone, the show did need some new kind of hook or angle to make this season interesting. When Sherlock faked his death, Watson lost him and mourned for a long time. Now, with Mary’s death, and Sherlock failing to live up to his promise that he would protect her, he has lost Watson. Of course Watson blames him for his wife’s death and his hubris.

One of the most telling moments in this episode for me, happens towards the end when Sherlock is talking to Mrs. H, and Sherlock tells her that if she ever sees him getting too cocky or full of himself (even more so than usual), to simply say the word Norberry to him. Norberry being the name of the secretary that betrayed them all and ultimately caused Mary’s death as she jumped in front of Sherlock when Norberry went to shoot him. Mary’s sacrifice in this moment poignantly showed that she didn’t think of Sherlock as John’s friend, but rather as a dear friend of hers, one whom she was willing to give her life for. A far cry from when Sherlock first discovered Mary’s true identity and she shot him.

Despite the seemingly shocking twist and the death of Mrs. Watson, the season premiere was still jam-packed with everything we love about Sherlock. Witty banter, bizarre cases, Sherlock’s indifference and condescending attitude to nearly everyone and everything around him, and of course his small and loyal group of friends and comrades. Although, I was saddened by Mary’s death, I still thought it was an excellent premiere and am looking forward to another amazing season where Sherlock will seek to “save John Watson” and reclaim their friendship as is Mary’s final plea from the grave.

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Heroes Vs. Aliens Cross-Over Event

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Last week the CW did a never before 4 episode cross-over event, right before their mid-season finales. In many ways this move was genius because although the storyline varied from the different series’ current plots, it also built up momentum and increased the audience viewers for each show. For example, the viewers who watch Arrow may not usually watch SuperGirl, but this last week they might have, just so that they would know what was going on with the cross-overs. It was also a great opportunity for publicity for their “superhero” series all around, as the actors and actresses that play these roles got a lot of press and media attention when combining their star-power. Although each has their own distinct role and villains to combat, whenever they combine it makes the chemistry that much more amazing. No, they are not The Avengers, or The X-Men, but as far as superhero TV series go, they have definitely built an impressive following. And while it is always risky to do any kind of “alien” theme on prime time television, I actually think they handled it very well. It was the perfect combination of cheesiness and humor with action and intensity—at least for me.

At first I wasn’t sure they could pull it off, because the week started off with an episode of Supergirl, that let’s face it wasn’t really a true “cross-over”. I mean Barry and Cisco do appear in the last 3 minutes of the show to ask for Kara’s help, but before that the episode truly had nothing to do with the real conflict of the cross-over series. It didn’t even include the other shows’ cast-members. Instead the episode focused once again on Alex’s coming out story and on an act of terrorism against Alien-kind, as a device is placed in one of their hang-outs that kills all of the aliens inside. Thankfully Mon-El follows the real Hank Henshaw outside, confused as to who he really is. Even though he gets massively beat up by the real Hank, he is not inside for the full affect of the gas. Although he is still affected and made gravely ill, at least he isn’t killed on impact and there is time to save him.

For me, the introduction of Mon-El (played by Chris Wood), is one of the best new characters of the season. Many know Chris Wood from other CW series, including Containment and the Vampire Diaries, where he played a sadistic, yet oddly likeably villain. Mon-El adds a new element to a team that was getting a little stale and is finally a decent love interest for Kara! There was no chemistry from her co-workers James Olsen or best friend Winn, but finally with Mon-El there seems to be a spark. While the CW writers do take a departure from the traditional character in the comic books (shocker), so far they have done a great job with creating a new multi-dimensional character. Kara gets the chance to be a mentor, for the first time in her life, and although Mon-El starts off as kind of an arrogant rogue, his respect for Kara and his desire to want to be something more do start to change him. Although, this episode focused more on Cadmus and the much-anticipated kiss between Kara and Mon-El—which of course they both have yet to admit happened—Kara’s Earth was not really involved in the Alien crisis facing Barry. The reasons for this I have to believe are that first, Kara’s Earth already has aliens as part of their normal, so not really a big deal, and second, transporting ALL of the other super heroes to her Earth just doesn’t seem plausible or make any sense, and her “team” isn’t really needed with all of the other superheroes.

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Therefore, the real “cross-over” action began on Tuesday night with “The Flash”. As the Flash team is still at odds over the Flashpoint conflict, working together has been difficult for them. The friction between Cisco and Barry is palpable, and has been both sad and disarming because our usual humorous and exciting Cisco has been angry and depressed and not himself. The team has just been off. Iris and Joe have wanted to be there for Barry, but between Caitlin’s fear of her new powers, Cisco’s anger and resentment towards Barry for losing his brother, the emergence of Wally’s new powers (or rather the fear Iris and Joe have over him using them), and the absence of the real HR, have the team dynamic askew.

In this episode, Barry takes a detour from the Alien-God Savitar (stay tuned for mid-season finale review), and instead encounters the Dominators. Unlike Kara’s earth, although Barry and Oliver are now used to meta-humans, aliens is not something they have encountered before. And wisely Barry knows that he is no match for this new threat alone and calls upon Oliver and company (not the Disney film), as well as Kara to combat this new force. It is the first time that we get to see the characters from all four series together and how they interact. Oliver’s attitude toward Kara is not surprising and I love that Kara is just as sweet and nice as Barry is because it finally gives him another superhero with his same disposition, only Brandon Routh’s character as the Atom even comes close to this. The episode reveals to the other hero’s the creation of Flashpoint and how their lives have changed, and now it is not just Cisco that is mad at Barry. Oliver is once again the main voice of reason and realizes that it is ridiculous to be upset with Barry but no one is listening. Instead the other heroes head off to face the Dominators without Barry or Oliver and The Arrow and The Flash are left alone.

images-2As Barry continues to berate himself over what he has done in bringing the Dominators here and changing the timeline, Oliver delivers the best advice of the episode when he tells Barry that he is not a god. He reminds him that he watched both his father and mother die as well, and if there was anyway that he could go back and change it, he would. Barry didn’t kill Cisco’s brother or change John’s child. He simply made a choice, and all of us make choices all of the time that affect the timeline and others. While Barry and Oliver deliberate, not surprisingly the other heroes walk into a mind-controlled trap by the Dominators, and are sent to kill Barry and Oliver. The geek squad endeavors to figure out how to sever the mind-control link and I loved watching Felicity work with Cisco. Ultimately the team is reunited and all seems to be well and forgiven as Diggle tells Barry that he doesn’t care what happened, they are with him as a team. Just as they start to come together, suddenly Sara is beamed up to the spaceship, and then one by one the other members of the team are as well. Even with his speed, Barry is unable to save them.

There are some great one-liners in this episode as well. Two of my favorite are when Ray Palmer’s character (Brandon Routh) meets Supergirl and says “She reminds me of my cousin”—very tongue in cheek as Routh played a movie version of Superman before the recent emergence of the role. I also loved when Mick refuses to call Kara anything other than “skirt”, and after the conflict is over he tells her to call him. There is something refreshing about a character that refuses to be politically correct or follow any kind of societal norms.

The only thing that truly bugged me about this episode was how judgemental and hypocritical everyone was towards Barry. Yes he changed the timeline to save his parents. But he did go back and try and fix it and even had to watch his mother die again to do so. And yes their lives are different, but they don’t remember their other lives anyway so what is the big deal? Plus how many of them have made decisions to save their loved ones before that have changed things? Oliver brought Thea back from the dead. Laurel brought Sara back from the dead. Both at incredible costs. And even in this episode we see that Pr. Stein and his brief interaction with his younger self has now given himself a daughter that he didn’t have before. But so what? What is the point of having the ability to make decisions and affect change if we are so scared that things will actually change?

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Arrow was the saddest episode for me. In a semi-departure from the normal action characterized with The Arrow, instead this episode was kind of the “It’s a Wonderful Life” for Oliver. This episode was everything that his life could have been. His parents are both alive. Laurel is alive, and they are engaged to be married. His friends and family are all united. But somehow he knows that it is not right. Each of the team members that are transported to the Dominators ship keep having memories of their “real” lives. Oliver sees Laurel die even as he is talking to her. Thea sees her mother die in her mind as she is hugging her. Only as Oliver follows Diggle (the Arrow in this mental game) does he finally start to piece together that this is not right. Interestingly enough it is only the Arrow team members(non-meta) that are taken. True, Ray Palmer and Sara Lance from DC Legends are taken, but remember they were originally Arrow team members. In this mental reality Ray and Felicity are engaged (still weird for me how nicely they ended things in the real world), and Sara and Oliver have never dated. Each hero must fight their greatest threats and villains in order to leave and we see them bring back Slade Wilson, Damian Dhark, Malcolm Merlin for the heroes to fight. The saddest scene is when the fake Laurel begs Oliver not to go. I am still conflicted about how the writers went from having Felicity be the love of Oliver’s life and his fiancée, back to friends and co-workers and all of the sudden Laurel is once again his great love since she has passed? Not sure it is believable that Felicity and Oliver now have no feelings for each other and are just great teammates again, but that is a discussion for another day! They have really made a mess of Oliver’s lovelife.

Also, mysteriously absent in this episode are Firestorm and Supergirl, but since the focus is on Oliver consciously choosing his messy but real existence, it is okay that they are missing because there is no real place for them. The episode ends with a brilliant rescue by DC Legends characters Nate and Amaya sucking up Oliver and company (again not the Disney film) into their time ship and rescuing them from the Dominators, thanks to the information they receive from Felicity and Cisco.  They also figure out that the Dominators are headed straight for earth.

 

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Surprisingly it is the DC Legends episode that seems to have the most action. As the conflict starts to come to an end and the superheroes finally figure out a way to beat the Dominators for good, several things happen. First, Mick, Amaya and Steal head back in time to try and capture one of the original Dominators, but instead they themselves are captured by government agents. Felicity and Cisco travel along because you know, geeks and time travel—come on! But really Cisco wants to go because he wants to get away from Barry. He is still so angry about his brother. It’s really ironic because Cisco and his brother Dante had a complicated relationship at best and in much earlier episodes, Barry actually helps Cisco save Dante from being killed. Felicity and Cisco come to the rescue of our trapped superheroes, and in true classic superhero style they even go back and save the Dominator from the torture of the government. In so doing they change the course of the future and Cisco gets a taste of what it feels like to accidentally change the course of time and see the repercussions, and he begins to have some insight into what Barry must be going through.

In return for saving the Dominators life, now the Dominators say they will leave earth alone if they can simply have Barry Allen. Barry briefly attempts to say there is no discussion and turn himself over before Oliver and the rest of the superheroes absolutely refuse to let him. Everyone plays their part in this final episode. The geek squad comes up with a device that will incapacitate the Dominators, The Flash and Supergirl team up to use their speed to distribute the devices onto all of the aliens. And the rest of the superheroes get to work in an epic rooftop battle (because of course it has to be a rooftop, right??) Oliver gets rescued by Supergirl and has a brief moment of humility, since before he basically asked her to keep her distance.

As far as cross-over events and team-ups go, even in the comic books, there is always a certain amount of humor, ridiculousness, action and emotion and this event is no different. They are able to stay pretty true to the comic book feel of cross-overs and everyone is semi-nonchalant about beating aliens and saving the world. The end of the episode Oliver and Sara finally have a moment—which I was glad of because up until this point their interaction has been limited and considering their history they really needed to acknowledge each other. They have been friends, lovers, teammates, and both of their lives have changed tremendously, but their brief conversation and hug at least acknowledges this.

Even more poignant for me is when Barry tells Oliver they should hang out more often and not just when they are saving the world, to which Oliver responds “But what would we do”, and then the scene pans to the two of them having a drink in a bar. It’s fitting that it should end with the two of them since really it all started with the two of them. They have both gone on and built their own teams, but the mentor/protégé relationship that they have had, has now morphed into friends and equals and is one of the strongest elements of this series.

Now on to the mid-season finales!

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DC Legends of Tomorrow Season Two Premiere

 

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Admittedly, adding Stephen Amell as a guest star to any CW show will always boost its ratings in my opinion.  The Season two premiere of DC Legends of Tomorrow was no exception.  The season started with historian Nathan Heywood (Nick Zano) breaking into Oliver McQueen’s mayoral office to inform him of a historical anomaly which has lead him to believe that all of the Legends of Tomorrow are in serious trouble.

The Atomic Bomb has been exploded in New York in 1942.  This event causes Nathan and Oliver to seek out the Legends time-ship and try to discover what has happened to the Legends. They encounter Heatwave (Dominic Purcell) stuck in stasis and wake him to uncover what has happened.  The premiere then proceeds to do a flashback of former events where the legends kidnap Albert Einstein.  They also encounter Damian Darhk (cross-over with Arrow), whom Sara Lance has been tracking ever since she found out he killed her sister.  Damian is the one responsible for selling the atomic bomb to the Russians.  Although the Legends are able to stop the bomb from exploding, the only way to do so is for Rip to send all of the Legends to different points in history, put Heatwave in Stasis, and let himself and the time-ship take the full brunt of the bomb’s explosion.  What happens to Rip we don’t really know.  Has he really been killed?  Will we ever see him again?  At first I disliked Rip’s character, but he has grown on me as the one person who unites this rag-tag group of heroes, so I am unsure how they will do with out him.  Hence the introduction of Nathan Heywood to hopefully create a new kind of unifier.

Perhaps the two biggest bombshells (pun intended) happen in the last two minutes of the premiere, when we find out that The Reverse Flash has partnered up with Damian Darhk (The Flash & Arrow), and when the Legends come face to face with The Justice League!  We still don’t know where Hawkgirl, Hawkman, and Vandal Savage are, but the show has definitely lined itself up to be full of new possibilities, new villains and multiple story arcs for the second season.

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