Arrow S2E6: “Keep Your Enemies Closer” Recap...

In this episode we see more of Oliver having a hard time balancing his “Arrow” life and his business life. It starts when Diggle gets grabbed by A.R.G.U.S. agents and Amanda Waller shows up to let him know that Lyla Michaels has been captured in Russia tracking down Deadshot. She was tracking Deadshot for Diggle. Waller also lets him know that she knows what Diggle and Ollie are up to at night and basically blackmails Digg into rescuing her. I don’t know how much blackmailing Diggle really needed. This sets Team Arrow on the go to Russia. And worlds start colliding when Isabel Rochev decides she needs to accompany them on this suspicious trip. John and Ollie ditch Isabel with Smoak to go meet up with Olie’s former Amazo boat cellmate, Antoli Knyazev, who sets up a break into Gulag to rescue Lyla. John and Ollie argue who will go in for her. The decision is made that John will go in. The thought of Arrow going in the prison reminded me of a film by David Goyer that never was made, Green Arrow: Escape from Super Max. The premise is that Green Arrow gets framed for murder and he is stuck in a jail with a bunch of super villains he put there. He needs to escape. Anyway, they set up John to get arrested so he can get in the prison. In the prison, he is chained in a tortuously cold room with Flyod Lawton a.k.a. Deadshot. Digg and Flyod both break free separately and Flyod tells him he knows where Lyla is and he will tell Diggle if Diggle gets him out. Meanwhile, Ollie and Isabel hook up. Felicity comes calling to help Diggle get free. She realizes that Isabel and Ollie slept...

Agents of SHIELD – S1E12 – “Seeds” – Recap...

Last week was Coulson’s turn to find out the truth. This week was Skye’s. While Ward, Skye and FitzSimmons take a trip to SHIELD’s Science Academy, Coulson and May hopped in Lola to track down a major lead regarding Skye’s past. After a fun chase sequence through some South American streets and alleyways that culminates with Coulson levitating in Lola to come face to face with the former agent, who is trying to escape up a fire escape. Like a good Joss Whedon reveal, the answers this former agent provided about Skye’s origin bring up more questions. This agent’s team was sent to a small Chinese village about 20 years ago to investigate an 0-8-4, which you may  remember from episode 2 as being an object of mysterious origin. The 0-8-4 in this mission turns out to be baby Skye. Everyone in the village died to protect her. She’s the lone survivor when SHIELD arrives. Things get weirder as every member of that SHIELD team is slowly picked off one at a time over the years. SHIELD shuffles Skye from foster family to foster family in order to protect her.  Once May and Coulson hear this story, May advises Coulson that they keep this information from Skye. Coulson initially agrees with May, but ends up telling Skye the truth when they reconvene with her and the rest of Coulson’s team. Telling Skye the truth is no doubt a direct result of Coulson finding out very recently that he’s been lied to by his superiors, people whom he trusted.  I think that if Coulson heard this story before “The Magical Place,” he would not have told Skye. Pre-“Magical Place” Coulson was much more by the book than post-“Magical Place” Coulson. Keeping with the theme of...

Agents of SHIELD S1E11 – The Magical Place – Recap...

The wait is over. Agents of SHIELD is back! SPOILERS ahead, so if you haven’t watched The Magical Place yet, you may want to do that before you continue. It’s cool, we’ll hold a chair for you. This episode could have been called Answers, because that’s what we get. Coulson DID die in The Avengers.  From what we learn in this new episode, this Phil Coulson is not a LMD, but rather is the same Coulson brought back from the dead. How did they bring him back? It involved at least seven surgeries, and a crazy brain scanning/operating machine that looked like it was borrowed from The Matrix. I winced when that machine has its pincers in Coulson’s exposed brain. Exposed brain makes me wince too, by the way. And there is no Tahiti, at least not for Coulson. Tahiti was a mirage/hologram/implanted memory. I was glad to see Firefly alum Ron Glass, aka Shepherd Book, aka Dr. Streiten, return. We haven’t seen Dr. Streiten since the pilot episode. When Streiten is confronted by Coulson, he fesses up immediately, and it very sorry that they brought Coulson back. On the operating table, Coulson kept saying “Let me die” and that he was in a lot of pain. Not wanting a whiny post-death Coulson on their hands, SHIELD messed with his brain to keep his pre-death personality intact. Looking at the preview for next week’s episode, it’s safe to say Coulson is not okay with having his brain mucked with. Expect to see the very “company man” Coulson travelling down the path mostly traveled by Skye.  If they messed with his brain to make him more like his old self, what else did they do while they were in there? Skye shines this episode from the...

Agents of SHIELD S1E10 “The Bridge” – Review...

The marketing push was in full force this week heading into Agents of SHIELD’s mid-season finale. The Agents of SHIELD Facebook, Twitter and TV commercials all announced that in this episode, “Everything comes together!” I think there was a conscious effort in the advertising to engage the fans who may have fallen off the bus and bring them back into the fold with this episode, The Bridge. Sorry Rob Liefeld fans. If you saw the title of the episode and thought X-Force side-character G.W. Bridge was making his Agents of SHIELD debut, you’d be disappointed. If the last episode you watched of Agents of SHIELD was The Girl in the Flower Dress, you could jump right in this episode without a problem. Well, you’d have one problem, which is missing the FitzSimmons awesomeness in F.Z.Z.T.  Not to mention seeing SHIELD deal with Dr. Janoch Pohaaa in The Well. The Bridge does bring everything together. Centipede? Yup. The girl in the flower dress? She’s here. The creepy dude stewing in prison? Him too. The Bridge also brought back Mike Peterson, the super strong freak of the week from the pilot. Mike is now working with SHIELD. Centipede is surprised to see that Extremis didn’t burn his system out and now wants Mike so that they can dissect him to reverse-engineer his powers stabilizing. Anyone else think that Mike Peterson is the Lando of Agents of SHIELD? He signs on to help Coulson’s team and then betrays them when the villain gains the upper hand. Coulson is Han Solo in this example. The helicopter is the carbon freezing chamber. Work with me here, people. Mike makes the complete Lando turn when he then tries to save the person he screwed over from the very same people he...

Agents of SHIELD – S1E9 – Repairs...

This week’s episode has an interesting title. Repairs. It wasn’t until the end of the episode, with May smiling in the cockpit, that the meaning behind the title became clear. Repairs didn’t refer to a what, but to a who. Melinda May is the resident BAMF of the Bus. We finally learn the meaning of her nickname, “The Cavalry,” in this episode. First FitzSimmons give Skye a bogus, over-the-top story as part of their pranks, but we later find out from Coulson that the true story is much darker. We also learn that before “The Calvary” incident, May was much more lighthearted, but changed and darkened a lot from that experience. It was nice to see May’s lighter side come out at the very end of Repairs. The B-story of FitzSimmons wanting to prank Skye was my favorite part of the episode. I liked that there were callbacks to their pranks, even after the shit hit the fan. Fitz’s scream when the mop fell out of the closet as the closet door opened was priceless, made even funnier by the fact that Fitz was the one who rigged the mop to fall. We get some follow-up on last week’s ending. Ward and May definitely slept together. May out-dudes Ward when she leaves the hotel room without him as he’s in mid-explanation about them staggering their exits so as not to arouse suspicion. I think we’re going to see an interesting triangle between May, Ward and Skye going forward. Skye and Ward definitely have chemistry. It  will be intriguing to see what Skye’s reaction will be when Ward and May are outed, and this being television, they will definitely be outed. I liked the two-part twist to this week’s threat. Not only was Hannah Hutchins...

Agents of SHIELD S1E8: “The Well” – Review...

It’s finally here, the Thor: The Dark World crossover with Agents of SHIELD! Sadly, there was no sign of Chris Hemsworth, Tom Hiddleston or Natalie Portman in this episode. Not even a Cat Dennings or Stellan Skarsgård. We do get an Asgardian though. Unfortunately, it’s not this Agardian: Instead, we get this Asgardian: That’s right, mother-fucking Dr. Janoch Pohaa! Sorry, I mean Dr. Elliot Randolph as played by Peter MacNicol. Sadly, MacNicol is not using his excellent foreign accents skills in this episode. And he doesn’t worship any paintings of Vigo, the Scourge of Carpathia, the Sorrow of Moldavia. But MacNicol is a full-fledged Asgardian in this episode. He’s wearing a suit in that photo and not a bitchin’ set of armor because centuries ago he renounced being an Asgardian Beserker to live a quiet life on Earth. Unfortunately, a Nordic hate-group has discovered his Beserker staff, which he broke into three pieces and hid, and hid well. One of the pieces was inside a tree! Just a fragment of the Beserker staff is enough to give a mortal superpowers (and as Ward found out, dredge up all your worst memories). The staff is like half power ring and half Scarecrow fear toxin. The effect of the Beserker staff on Ward really lets Ward’s asshole side take charge. At the same time, it opens up new layers of the character. We see the childhood trauma that shapes so much of Ward’s present day. Holding the staff is too much for him, but not for Agent May, resident bad-ass of the SHIELD crew, who takes it and doles out a whupping on the bad guys. The “Holy shit!” moment of the episode came after the villains were defeated and the SHIELD team was getting a rare night of...

Arrow S2E5: “League of Assassins”...

So the show opens up with a re-shot scene from season 1 set in the past. Sara and Ollie sneaking away on the boat, the Queen’s Gambit, before the island except this scene adds more to Sara’s character. It shows her very flirty with Ollie and deceiving her Dad. I wonder how this scene holds up next to the one that was in the pilot. It seems like it is chock full of inconsistencies. But basically the same thing happens: boat sinks. But the next time we see Sara she is waking up half naked (HELLS YEAH CW) in the ocean looking at a yellow canary floating on driftwood. That seems like a pretty crappy place for a canary. I think that bird doesn’t have long to live. I mean I get it. The Black Seagull would be a worse name for a superhero. Sound more like a plague.  But then the ship named Amazo appears in the distance (remember this is the ship we last left Ollie in flashbacks where he is being tortured with his cellmate the KGBeast). Looks like she is in for a rough time until Doctor Anthony Ivo saves her. He is a scientist and he is using all the people held captive. His objective is to save the human race. Okay then we switch over to Moira’s pre-trial meeting in Iron Heights. Not really sure what those things are called. I haven’t been keeping up with my Law & Order: CSIVU. I haven’t really been paying too much attention to this in my comments because it seems slightly boring. But this scene is pretty amazing and not in a good way. Laurel, who is now working for the D.A.’s office is on the prosecution team on Moira Queen’s...

Arrow S2E4: “Crucible”...

This week’s Arrow was simple but really pushed the story along. A throw away villain, Xavier Reed, The Mayor, is bringing illegal military grade guns and wreaking havoc in the Glades. Oliver  reacts with Sebastian Blood (who is getting creepy this episode) to create a cash for guns benefit in the Glades which is attacked. The benefit also shows Oliver struggle in his new role professionally having to answer to Isabel Rochev for his fiscal actions. It shows Thea what a hero Roy is and lets them interact with Sin. They should create a Junior Arrow club. Meanwhile Diggle meets up with his old colleague Lyla Michaels to flirt and try to get info on tracking down Deadshot. AND back on the island Oliver gets a neighbor on the boat and is getting tortured. This really reminds me of the scenes in The Dark Knight Rises where Bruce is trying to fix his back and get out of the hole. The Bigger story this episode is the Canary. With Felicity’s help Oliver finds the Canary unmasks her and she is revealed to be… SPOILERS… the long thought dead Sara Lance. Man this is trouble for Oliver. Obviously he wants her to reveal herself to her family but she can’t for some reason. Maybe because they’re all drunks. Well at least Laurel is this episode. Quinten has been recovering for some time now. Anyway, the last time the viewers saw Sara, was way back in the first season when she joined Ollie on his boat, the Queen’s Gambit. During their trip, the ship was sabotaged and sank, along with Sara. Her remains were never recovered so her family buried a empty casket, after she was declared legally dead. But get this, Oliver then reveals to John and Felicity that he thought she drowned on the Queen’s Gambit, but met her a year after...

Arrow S2E3: “Broken Dolls”...

We left Arrow last week with Oliver in his Hood getup surrounded by police officers in Laurel’s apartment. This was a trap set by Laurel, who now is blaming Tommy Merlyn’s death on the Hood. At the last second, the mysterious Black Canary, ahem, I mean Canary, shows up uses some kind of sonic blast and escapes with Ollie. While he puts Roy on the case of tracking down this lady, Quentin Lance finds out that a serial killer from an old case has escaped from Iron Heights as a result of the quake. This serial killer, Barton Mathis, also known as The Dollmaker, kidnaps women and kills them by pouring a flexible polymer into their throats. This fires up Quentin to track him down, but he is warned by the police department to stay back. So, Quentin and the Team Arrow find a way to track this guy down and eventually use Felicity as sexy bait. Alright, let me pause here. Felicity is a very attractive woman who could jump from this show onto any other CW drama if she wanted to. However, she plays the nerd on this show and it just comes across as, “Hey, I wear glasses. I’m a nerd.” Is it how she is written? Maybe. Is it how she looks? Maybe. It is one reason I think we will never see her character jump to the comic book page like Diggle’s. Currently there is a nerdy tech geek helping out Oliver in the Green Arrow books. And she is more believable as an actual nerd than the character played by a person. Ok back to it. As a result of this, Felicity is put in danger, and both Laurel and Quentin end up being kidnapped by the Dollmaker. Arrow saves them...