Welcome to a weekly article, in which I make a fanboy (read: unimportant) ‘Power Ranking’ of the TV shows that are out or coming soon in the near future. Every week show ranking will go up or down depending on the strengths and weaknesses of the episode. I hope to make this fun but if I cause a little uproar than I know I’ll be doing something right.
Warning: Here be Spoilers
Woof. This was probably the worst episode since the pilot in which that got some slack because it was well… a pilot. Arkham is a huge cornerstone of the Bat-Universe and for an episode named after it, I was pretty disappointed. I understand that you can’t have all the cool Batman villains show up in their full glory yet but they have to step up their game if the best they have to offer is, ‘Guy with spike shooting metal pipe’. Not to mention he was painfully dull. His character development boils down to “I better talk about how I don’t really approve of killing this guy right before I kill him, and then do the same thing to the next guy I murder”. As stupid as it was, I’m glad he got shot in the chest about 25 times, because only an idiot would try to stab someone with a dumb stick while in between two cops with their guns drawn.
What I originally feared about the show is starting to rear it’s ugly head. The dumb charm the show had for just being so *not* what you would think Gotham would be like, is starting to wear off fast. Bullock had nothing to do except show that he’s fairly competent as a policeman, which is the most boring thing you can do for the character. Especially since he did nothing special except go to the same ‘Fish Mooney’ well that he’s been going to. Jim Gordon spends his time tracking down cases and then hanging out with a young billionaire boy who can’t help but do things that scream “I’M GOING TO BE BATMAN ONE DAY BECAUSE I’M LOOKING FOR CLUES!”. Cobblepot is still the best part of the show but his character arc is still fairly straightforward, so why enjoyable, I have yet to been surprised. I feel like the writers don’t have much for Fish Mooney to do until her inevitable betrayal of Falcone, so they just have her treading water and making female Fight Clubs. It’s all very underwhelming and the slight charm this series had is fading.
Bonus points for no Montoya though so I guess it wasn’t all terrible.
Agents of SHIELD
Face My Enemy
The climb in quality continues in Agents. Where the first season was fairly dull the first 75% of the way. The last leg was a rocket ship. Season 2 seems to have a set goal in mind and the fuse is burning quite satisfactory.
‘Face My Enemy’ focuses on the Coulson-Agent May dynamic which was entertaining in season 1 and they don’t seem to mind shedding some more light on their history here. The gameplan this season seems to be, focus on one or two characters while giving the other characters a chance to shine doing secondary work. Basic, I know but it’s working. The secondary crew is still too big but we are getting to know the new guys. Nick Blood as Lance Hunter is still as basic as ever but there’s charm, and Henry Simmons as Mac does a little more than just be nice to Fitz. Honestly the banter between these guys and the others was far more entertaining than the bus almost blowing up. Fun Shield toys were in full effect this episode as the cool face camo from The Winter Soldier made an appearance and the series knows when to have fun in a way that feels natural and healthy.
If they add one of those Joss Whedon hurtfull deaths and thin out the ranks. Than this could be our winner of the season.
Alright so last week ended on the cliffhanger that Sara AKA Canary was shot to death by arrows and fell off a building looking about as dead as TV is going to let you. So of course what follows is a sort of cooldown episode. Canary is dead and there just HAPPENS to be another arrow shooting villain in town. So… OK hold up. I get Batman will eventually end up fighting guys that have the basic strenghts as he does. World class hand to hand skills, gadgets, cool armor.. I get that. But how many bad guys is Oliver Queen going to have to fight? Malcom Merlyn was season one, Deathstroke gave us some breating room but apparently Archers are the weapon of choice for the League of Assassins and now we got this f*$%king guy Komodo. I know he’s basically a bad guy of the week but there are just way too many world class archers showing up, it’s a little TOO specific of a skill to have.
What also makes the death of Sara confusing is the reactions of Felicity. She, for the sake of the plot, acts like she’s never seen Ollie react to tragedy before. She berates him for acting cold and he tells her he has to be for the sake of the team. This totally reasonable answer isn’t enough for Felicity and this opens the door for her to go work for Ray Palmer and will probably start boning him. I guess they needed to get her there quick but this was just plain messy. Diggle shows back after retiring for all of half an episode to tell Arrow that he’s back and surprise! We find out that Komodo AKA Simon Lacroix wasn’t the one that killed Sara. Which was painfully obvious from the start.
The flashback scenes which generally were a very strong part of the show is starting to get long in the tooth. The writers clearly did about all they could on the island and now Ollie is in Hong Kong and being forced by Amanda Waller to try to assassinate his best (and still living) friend Tommy. The fix for this was so uninteresting it felt like Colin Donnel was basically fulfilling a clause in his contract where he has to show up for one last episode.
This whole episode felt really wasted and sort of makes me worried that this season may be as aimless as I feared.
Fastest Man Alive
A solid follow up to the pilot, this episode decides to jump right into Barry running around being a hero and the difficulties that seem to follow. One of my biggest worries about a show like Flash is that he is generally, overpowered. You could make the argument that he is more powerful than Superman. The Flash can essentially time travel, become invisible through vibration, heal superhumanly fast, disintegrate anything he touches as long as he hits it fast enough much much more. The show tempers this by giving him a sort of ‘Kryptonite’ albeit a lame one… See Barry moves so fast and uses up so much energy that he has to eat a ton of food so he doesn’t burn it all away. Now that is a good way of limiting his power set but if we’re being honest. Keeping Barry Allen full of sandwiches seems like a pretty lame plot point. This episode has a ton of ‘by the numbers’ stuff here, coming up with excuses as to where he went, having his reporter love interest be more into the Flash than him, father issues. So while some of it is frankly unavoidable it can still wear on you.
Shout outs to Jesse L. Martin however, who portrays Joe West as he really nails his character of surrogate father and looks genuienly hurt when Barry pulls the “You’re not even my REAL dad!” card and his reaction sold the whole thing. Grant Gustin is decent but he has a bit of a ‘cheese factor’ that makes me think he’d fit right along in some dopey 90’s family sitcom. I supposed you could blame some of that on the writers but Jesse Martin proves that stuff can be overcome just minutes earlier.
The villain Multiplex is a cool addition and the effects were good enough that I really couldn’t tell if they were just using real stand ins, or if they used CGI. The fight scenes are still undeniably cool and a guy who moves at super speed being dragged down by 20 versions of the same guy at once is fun to watch. Something I hope they touch on more is that, aside from moving really fast, Barry doesn’t really know how to fight. Regardless he obviously perseveres and saves the day and we get an interesting scene with Harrison Welles who becomes more intriguing based on the fact that we really don’t know if he’s straight up evil or just really overprotective.
I don’t want to say it was better than the pilot but it kept the momentum up.
The early buzz is that the pilot was pretty great
Last week a surprisingly competent trailer dropped check it out
Current Power Rankings
Agents of Shield (1) Previously (2)
The Flash (2) Previously (3)
Arrow (3) Previously (1)
Gotham (4) Previously (4)