Episodes Reviewed – Fan Fiction & Ask Jeeves

Fan Fiction

Meh, it’s ok.  4 out of 5.  If you’ve got an even bigger soft spot for sentimentality than me.  Subtract 1 or 2 points if you’re not much one for sappy cheese.  I’m probably still going to get the soundtrack once it’s in a store that’s not itunes.

Ok I’ll go into a bit more detail.

Let’s be honest, a lot of my fondness for this episode comes from its surroundings.  Place this episode somewhere in season 5?  Pretty lackluster.  Place it after season 9 with its violence against canon and good writing and this episode a breath of fresh air.  I mean the writers and crew actually ACKNOWLEDGED the show’s history instead acting like they had either forgotten it or resented it as a weight holding them back.

From a writing/structure standpoint, this episode was an amalgamation of 3 Kripke era outings: Hollywood Babylon, Ghostfacers, and The Real Ghostbusters.  Which isn’t bad but… I think the episode would have been stronger had it been about the boys, without actually having them.

SFDebris pointed this out in contrasting 2 TNG episodes, True Q & Lower Decks and explained why one worked and one didn’t.  The first failed because the episode was essentially “take over” by the guest star, the main cast had no effect on the proceedings (and it’s quite true, you could put Amanda Rogers’ story in practically ANY trek series and it would work just as well with minimum changes).  Meanwhile the 2nd episode worked because it was about other characters reacting to the choices of our main cast.  In other words, while the main characters were not on screen as much, the story was nonetheless about them.  Likewise, the “spin off”, Bloodlines, failed to fit into SPN for (among many reasons) shoving the heroes out of the way.  Other episodes (like Ghostfacers) worked because much of the story was still about Sam & Dean even if they weren’t on screen.

This is why, ultimately, I think the episode would have been better had it been almost exclusively about the play and from the perspective of the participants. You can still do meta with the school cast having to fight like a minor ghost or something and have shades of Its a Terrible Life where they think “what would Sam & Dean do” when trying to beat it.  Let the final scene of the episode be the revelation that Dean & Sam were there, watching the play instead of Chuck (even though it’s hard to hate that appearance as Rob just has such a charm about him you can’t ever hate his appearances).  They practically did it with actress “Sam” and “Dean” scene in the car replacing the “real” Sam & Dean scene we would have gotten.

And I’m not thrilled that we had to fight another god for this episode.  After 200 episodes, no more fitting tribute would have been a ghost-haunted stage.  Or maybe something new. (heck, Star Trek: DS9 did a story of a VAMPIRIC MUSE and SPN hasn’t??)  Or maybe nothing at all, just the stress of dealing with putting on a production.  In other words, I loved that this episode had so many tributes to the past, yet feel torn over whether it should have had less show cliches… or more.

Regardless, the boys made it to 200 episodes, and that ain’t nothing.

Though I still wanted opera.

Ask Jeeves

It’s with some irony that shortly after #200, we get another episode that very much feels like a throwback.  Again, after some of the crap from the previous season, it was a welcome relief to see the boys back in action, acting a bit more human, and the guest stars acting more human.  I even appreciated that they toned down the humor a lot more and played it with far more subtlety (I admit at first I thought we’d get more tributes to the clue movie… glad they restrained themselves there).

In prior seasons it would have a solid 3 out of 5.  In this one… 4.

Although this episode does bring up a thought…

I’ll admit, my brain is probably just stuck on it since I’ve finished up viewings of Arrow S2 and Agents of SHIELD S1, but why haven’t we had the Winchesters face a really psychologically challenging foe?  The last one they had was YED but that was all part of a larger plan.  From S4 on every season has been about the end of the world with an * on S8 because it was more about improving the world than saving it from an immediate threat and S9… well nobody knows what S9’s arc was about.

The shapeshifter in this episode and Cole earlier in the season made me realize that we haven’t seen someone go for a real brain battle against Sam & Dean, particularly a monster.  Sure we’ve had hints about anti-hunter efforts by Lilith in S4 and Eve in S6, but nothing spanning an arc over more than two episodes.  The Leviathan at least fought them on a mental level nobody else has but where’s that revenge battle?  Cole doesn’t count because he doesn’t know the truth and came at them straight in a fight.  The leviathans did a lot of it at first, but what if it wasn’t a world threat?  What if some shifter or vampire or someone else (no angel or demon – that might have been creative in S6, by now they’re overplayed) worked just to make Sam & Dean’s lives personally hell?  No world threat, nobody else in danger unless it would hurt them just…

Oh wait, we had Crowley do that at the end of S8.

I guess I have my answer.  The show’s already done it, just not over an extended time with real depth and challenge (again, closest would be S7).  Kind of pity really.

So hey, I kind of liked the shifter this episode.  A lot like the time the boys met Adam and the ghouls out for revenge on John but…

Oh.  Well no wonder this episode felt so much like a throwback.  Well hey, if last season was them trying to do something new, I’m all for them recycling everything this year.  Instead of season ten-season win, maybe we should call it, season ten-season again.

10.05 – “Fan Fiction” Remix

Sorry for the delay on this. I’ve had some…
problems at home.

1004sam1 Dean, you know what I miss?
1004dean1 What’s that, Sammy?
1004sam1 We don’t sing any more.
1004dean1 Sing?
1004sam1 Yeah! Last time we sang together was before you died.
1004dean1 Which one?
1004sam1 Uh… Lilith.
1004dean1 Oh right. … You want to sing now?
1004sam1 Nah.
921sam2 But you know, at times when I look back and think about everything we’ve been through. One has to wonder… Is this the real life,
Dean1 Or is this just fantasy
921sam2 It’s like we’re caught in a landslide,
Dean1 no escape from reality
922castiel Boys, open your eyes, look up to the skies and see
921sam2 We just some poor boys,
Dean1 We need no sympathy
801amelia Because I’m easy come,
517lisa easy go,
922castiel a little high,
921crowley little low
921sam2 Anyway the wind blows,
Dean1 doesn’t really matter to me,
921sam2 or to me
Dean1 Mama, just killed a man, put a gun against his head pulled my trigger, now he’s dead,
921sam2 mama… Life had just begun, but now I’ve gone and thrown it all away
101john Mary, ooo, didn’t mean to make you cry
101mary If I’m not back again this time tomorrow
101john Carry on, carry on, as if nothing really matters
710bobby Too late, my time has come
710rufus Sends shivers down my spine, body’s aching all the time
720charlie Goodbye everybody, I’ve got to go
919jody Gotta leave you all behind and face the truth
Dean1 Mama ooo
921sam2 (anyway the wind blows)
Dean1 I don’t want to die
921sam2 I sometimes wish I’d never been born at all
922castiel I see a little silhouetto of a man
921crowley Hey you moose, hey you moose – will you do the fandango
923metatron3 Thunderbolt and lightning very very frightening me
101jessica Gabrielo?
111meg Gabrielo?
202jo Gabrielo?
921abaddon3 Gabrielo?
918gabriel Gabrielo figaro magnifico!
Dean1 But we’re just some poor boys, nobody loves we
921crowley (They’re just some poor boys from a poor family)
922castiel (Saving other lives from some monstrosities)
518adam Easy come easy go will you let me go
717lucifer (Micheal says no we will not let you go)
Dean1 let him go
717lucifer (Michael says, we will not let you go)
921sam2 let him go
717lucifer (Michael says, we will not let you go)
518adam let me go
717lucifer (Will not let you go)
518adam let me go
921crowley (never)
717lucifer (Never let you go)
518adam let me go,
921sam2 never let me go ooo
921crowley No, no, no, no, no, no, no
518adam Oh mama mia, mama mia, mama mia let me go
921sam2 Beelzebub has a devil put aside for me
Dean1 for me?
921sam2 for me!
922castiel So you think you can stone me and spit in my eye
Dean1 So you think you can love me and leave me to die
922castiel Oh baby can’t do this to me baby
1005chuck Just gotta get out
801kevin just gotta get right outta here
212henricksen Ooh yeah,
809benny ooh yeah,
921crowley nothing really matters, anyone can see
922castiel Nothing really matters
Dean1 nothing really matters to me
921sam2 Anyway the wind blows…
1004dean1 We’ll ride on, Sammy.
1004sam1 Until the very end, Dean.

Director’s Notes: Happy 200 guys.

(you probably know already but for legal reasons this was all to the tune of this classic)

(crossposted @ http://supernaturalsnark.wordpress.com/2014/11/21/supernatural-10-05-fan-fiction-remix/ & http://www.thewinchesterfamilybusiness.com/article-archives/episode-related/18888-nate-winchester-s-remix-of-supernatural-10-05-fan-fiction)

Flash 1.05 – Plastique

Recap: A poor lady becomes the embodiment of a dozen heavy metal love ballads as her touch causes things to explode – and we’re not just talking Cisco’s lustful tendencies.

Muggle Musings

So 3 big things happen overall in this episode.

1) Flash pushes the limits of his powers, learning he can run up buildings and across water.  Here’s the funny part: the S.T.A.R. crew mentions that Barry must maintain his speed running up and down the building.  Uh… why?  Because he’ll fall?  For those who have forgotten, terminal velocity at it’s max on a person is roughly 200 mph.  A speed Barry’s already reached and exceeded.  A speed he frequently comes to a dead stop just as if he took a dive off a building and hit the pavement.  So… how is falling down a threat to him?  The secondary superpowers he must have to survive running and stopping as he does means that he could probably throw himself out of an airplane without a parachute and survive the impact.

I know, I know: comics.  But it is kind of funny to think about.

2) Better development between Iris & Barry.  Other than the “tradition” that Iris ends up with Barry I didn’t care much about them or even her relationship with the other guy given that the comic tradition I really didn’t care about.  This was the episode that Iris finally moved out from beyond the legacy of the comic book and into her own status as a character.  Which I approve of.  Shows and movies based on other works shouldn’t ask the audience to bring in prepackaged concepts and devotion to a character unless it’s a huge part of the cultural landscape.  In the case of comics: Superman, Batman, & Spider-man.  If the person on screen isn’t one of them, then you need to write like the character is completely new and seduce the audience into caring about them like you would any other.

Also in development, we got to see Wells be more of a manipulator this time and the writing/acting of that scene was VERY well done and believable.  It seems rare to watch anything with a devil that actually tries tempting (usually the effort is so obvious you wonder how anyone could struggle against saying no).

3) A possible arc antagonist.  Well I don’t know for sure but General Eiling and the US government could be a potent one.  Even better they are my favorite kind of antagonist in that they’re not always purely wrong (or at least, shouldn’t be written as such).  There does need to be some consideration with the Flash’s activities as well as adjustments made to the legal system to accommodate the new villains and unintentional criminals birthed by the accident.  These are interesting and thoughtful questions a show like this could examine especially given that to do so would be low-budgeted, purely a factor in writing.

Metahuman Musings

Speaking of what I mentioned above?  Dealing with the legal consequences and results of superheroes actually WAS in an issue or two of Firestorm.  So all the pieces are set….

Now in the general, this was a goodie-bag of an episode!

  1. Plastique (though Kelly Fyre didn’t get to show off her red hair as much :( the first plastique was totally maroon-locked)!  She started out a Firestorm villain that was nothing special at first, then changed.  I’m torn.  On the one hand, it was nice to have Barry not have to fight another metahuman like all the previous episodes.  On the other, we missed an opportunity where Barry could have accidentally made her a metahuman when trying to stop her bomb attack and the had to deal with the fall out.
    And no, I’m not going to make apologies for those Firestorm puns I just tossed out.
  2. General Eiling!  A JLA foe that later puts his brain in a huge, indestructible body (or rather, a body that regrows faster than you can kill it) to balance the power of the JLA.  His few appearances as “the General” in the comic were awesome and (as always) turned into a magnificent episode of the Timm/Dini cartoon.  AND PLAYED BY CLANCY BROWN NO LESS!  The man is like… the dark side Bruce Campbell of geekdom, always playing some of our favorite villains (and sometimes a hero).  The guy is awesome and I am so hoping we get to see more of him! (or hear in case he lends his voice to a CGI General).
  3. GRODD!  A gorilla.  Named Grodd!  If you don’t get why that’s totally awesome, then what are you down here reading this section for anyway?

My fellow comic geeks, can you remember us EVER being this spoiled?

LotR Retrek

Well no new shows this week (except Constantine) so I guess not much to do review wise.

Eh, I’ll talk about something of interest to almost NOBODY else.

(though if you’re on the message board, you can discuss interest here)

So AEG brought back doomtown, a CCG from way back during the golden 90s of the CCG boom.  And Upper Deck looks to bring back VS (the best Marvel vs DC card game ever done).  There seems to be rumors too that Cryptozoic is going to do an expandable card game to Lord of the Rings.  But there seems to be some kind of difficulties given that the post is several months old and there’s no response nor any on other topics I’ve scanned.  I don’t know what could be the hold up with Cryptozoic whether it’s a rights issue with the movies, or if they’re having problems with the gameplay.

If it’s gameplay… may I suggest bringing back a particularly classic decipher rendetion?  One that has several years of playtesting and refinement?  One of the few games that once sold out Magic?

LotR: TCG Retrek (the expandable card game)

No seriously, I would so love to see this game and its engine return to tables everywhere, that I will gladly forgo any compensation (other than 2 free copies) if these ideas are used by Cryptozoic.  All lawyers hear me?  I will NOT sue the company if they want to use any or all of this.  Just bring it back, guys.  That’s plenty reward for me.

The following are ideas and thoughts on the game resuming.  I’m not too attached to terms so by all means if you’ve got suggestions, toss them out.

Rules Update

One thing that I will defend about the LotR:TCG is that it was well built for multiplayer right out of the box and I’ve rarely played a game that captured such a blend of competition and cooperative.  Allies shift to enemies and back again so quickly you end up dropping grudges because there’s too much going on (unless there was some big play that somebody got you on, then that you might remember).  The game engine remains in good shape for shifting between 2 to more players.

Still, we need to be aware that we’ll be limited by the core 3 LotR movies’ materials alone.  So in order to better expand it to allow almost ANY property that has a journey-quest structure (I’m looking at you, Hobbit and Black Cauldron), the One Ring should become a part of a larger card type.  Say, “Quest Need” with the cards having subtypes on them (i.e. The One Ring).  Characters that can bear these types of cards are called Quest-bearers.  They’ll have a symbol on their card signaling this option as well as “subtype-bearer” in their gametext.  Each Quest Need may also having “Victory-” text on them which modify (positively or negatively) the basic victory condition of the game.  Which is:

Get your Quest-bearer to the final site on the path and have him or her survive to the end of the turn without being corrupted.

The standard turn sequence is: Fellowship (play your cards) – Shadow (opponents play theirs) – Maneuver (misc) – Archery (shoot!) – Assignment (pick a fight) – Skirmish (fight!) – Regroup (go again?).  Should keep as it’s pretty elegant.  Only 2 possible changes.  Put a “move” phase between fellowship and shadow.  Moving along the sites got crammed into the end of the fellowship and part of regroup phases which caused some rules headaches later on.  Giving it its own phase allows things to be streamlined.  I think the game could also use an “End” phase as regroup got kind of messy and it would allow some sequences to be more precisely codified.

As I’ve said before, Decipher had a bit of a problem showing the “home front” of Middle-earth, first with allies then with followers.  I think both concepts had their place but issues with balance.  First from both a thematic and balancing perspective, allies should be a Free Peoples type card, while followers are placed on the shadow side.  Second, when creating cards that deal with those two less common types, give the cards a second purpose so they’re not hand clogging if you’re not fighting someone with them.

Events were fun, but the very nature and design of the game pulled everything towards permanents like gravity.  So give every culture a method to spend or use events in alternate ways, usually on a permanent.  (I mean Galadriel, Lady Redeemed was horribly broken, but the idea of her – of using events in alternate ways – was solid.)

Allow the game to use flexible sites like it did from Shadows, on, but add a bit of limitation so there’s a sense of actual progress.  I think designating them as belonging to specific regions (with a few generic sites that could be placed “anywhere” for balance and deck building purposes) would be best.  Players might know the Bridge of Khazad-dum can only show up in region 2, but they don’t know if it will be site 4, 5 or 6.  But definitely bring back the terrain keywords and making them matter.  Maybe even make some new ones.  Ruins are visited as well as cities and town…

Completely overhaul initiative and site control.  How?  I don’t know.  I have some rough ideas.  But regardless the originals need work.  Threats were good though.  Bring threats in at the start of the game.

Cut down on unloaded keywords until there’s been thorough in-the-players-field testing.  Let soft-enforcement segregate large groupings.  If anything, use unloaded keywords to facilitate cross culture decks.  i.e. Ranger on both Elf & Gondor companions.  If you build a ranger deck, it’s probably going to be pretty blue and gray.  Knights would be Gondor & Rohan working together.  Valiant a combination of Rohan and… Shire? I guess.

As for actual themes of cultures…

DWARVES – Have a natural affinity for the loaded keyword, Damage + and love the terrains Underground & Mountain.  They love to draw cards (no rule of 4 in this edition of the game, please), so much that they may end up wasting plenty (discarding cards).  After drawing they then load up their companions with possessions and artifacts.  They aim to just plow through minions in their way, heedless of the burdens weighing on the quest-bearer or the larger threats.  Any dwarf asked is a dwarf summoned so there’s no allies, just companions.

ELVES – Have a natural affinity for the loaded keyword, Archer and love the terrains Forest & River.  They’re not ones to draw, but use their magic and powers to stack their deck and ensure certain outcomes.  Also instead of making themselves stronger, Elves reduce the strength of their enemies.  They do have many allies, but they are passing into the west and won’t stay around for long.

GANDALF – Should probably be the jack-of-all trades he was once before though his culture always seemed to be competing with elves for “most broken”.  I’m actually not sure what to do with him at the moment.

GONDOR – Has a natural affinity for the loaded keyword, Defender+ and loves the terrains Ruins & Town(/city?).  The power house of Middle-Earth, this culture can be the best in raw strength, but falters against the trails of the quest.  Their efforts have also made them the best at healing though they don’t do well with surprises.

SHIRE – Has a natural affinity for the loaded keyword, Toil and loves the terrains Dwelling & Marsh.  The power in hobbits is their kinship, as they strengthen each other and more permanent allies power on the companions, though the hobbits have more than a few tricks up their sleeves.  Their chipper spirits make them the best at easing burdens.

ROHAN – Still working on these guys.  Have some ideas but nothing solid.

(same with Gollum)

Now with Shadow cultures… yes I STILL hate the new ones that were put out in the last 2 blocks of the game.  HATE.  THEM.  While the Orc culture can be brought back and used in Hobbit-related blocks (it would make sense there), when it comes to LotR we have:

ISENGARD – Favors the loaded keyword Damage+ and the terrains River, Plains & Battleground.  2nd as far as followers go and does a lot of work in the Maneuver phase.  They also play possessions heavily and care about vitality.

SAURON – Favors the loaded keyword Fierce and the terrains Ruins, Mountain & Underground.  The shadow side with the most followers and follower love.  They are most dangerous during the archery phase and like to play debilitating conditions on the companions.

WRAITH – Favors the loaded keyword Toil and the terrains Forest, Mountain & Marsh.  This is the burden culture, one focused on corrupting the Quest-bearer regardless of the size and shape of the fellowship.  Some might ask: “Wait, I thought these were the fierce guys.”  Well thematically and for balance I believe it makes more sense to give Sauron’s minions Fierce and in exchange give the “voodoo” that Sauron/Orcs had to Wraiths to represent the fear that wraiths inspire in others.  So wraiths won’t be making themselves stronger, but others weaker, meaning they have increased chances to overwhelm, and so lose fierce as balance.  They favor the assignment phase.

RAIDER (EVIL MEN) – Still working on this one too but they’ll probably love the regroup phase and threats.

WILD – The “misc” shadow culture for all those that owe their allegiance to no one.  Like the Balrog, Watcher in the Water, Smaug, or stone giants.  No theme, designed to splash into other shadows now and then.

And that’s all for now.  If you know how to get in touch with Cryptozoic, let them know about this.  Heck I even have some cards mocked up for testing purposes (though not great graphically, if you’re good at that and want to help…).  If you’ve got your own ideas or suggestions, feel free to toss them out.

Episode Review – Paper Moon

I must say that I found Nog and Vic to be surprisingly captivating this episode. As I watched their relationship develop–

Wait, I seem to have gotten my Paper Moon episodes mixed up.

Now I know some think I’m awfully negative or hard on the show but this episode gives a very good example of why: because it’s damn near proof the makers of said show are actually improving.  I could be wrong, there’s still 18 more episodes for them to royally screw things up but for now?  This season is showing marked improvement over the previous one.

Only 2 things were a problem this episode and they were minor.

1) The flashbacks were backwards.  If you’re going to put those even in the middle of the show, then use ones referencing returning characters and old plot threads.  Put flashbacks referencing what happened just a week ago at the beginning of the episode.  At the very least, it’s less insulting and it stops the episode from being spoiled by those of us with decent memory.

2) How is Dean being threatened when we (and the characters should) know that he can’t die?  Put in SOMETHING explaining why we or Sam should dread Dean in danger (a relapse or whatever).  It doesn’t have to be much.

Now onto what I liked this episode.

  • A converted monster actually using their powers in a logical, pro-active way!
  • Examination of how moral it is to try and save someone’s life.  A real parable of, “What does it profit one to gain the world, yet lose their soul?”  Yeah I could have had some more screen time debating the issue but at least it was there!
  • Downtime for the boys!  They’re having fun!
  • The boys talk like human beings!
  • They still disagree but handle it a bit more like adults.
  • A change of pace from the FBI cover story!
  • The boys treat the people they’re talking to like decent human beings!  With respect!
  • Only continuity gaffs were minor, easily handwaved hiccups!
  • The plot’s logic holds together!
  • Seriously, they didn’t break continuity or basic writing rules!  Can I get an amen?

Now I need to catch up on the next episode, but so far this has proven that these writers?  They CAN do what we’ve asked of them, they just need to put in the effort.  So kudos guys and gals.  Kudos all around.

1.02 Constantine – the Darkness Beneath

Second episode and we see the show starting to work through its growing pains. Not great or flawless, but not a bad show either. We’ll start with the missteps so we can end on a positive note.

Things that bugged me this episode:

  • I did like the title screen, if they had cut out the “hell close up” and left just the symbol, name, and flames backed by a pretty kick ass score. In some ways the title is indicative of the episode. When it’s being subtle and letting you do the work of noticing, it’s good. When it acts a bit afraid that the viewer won’t catch something cool/neat, it stumbles a bit and overplays its hand.
  • One thing about these shows is that you do have to be sure that everything makes sense once the mystery is finished and the audience thinks back over it (because you should want the audience to remember and think about what you’ve done. While part of my problem could be that I have hearing difficulties and missed some things in the dialog (which is very easy when people are speaking with accents AND saying made-up words), I never grasped why the villain of the weak summoned the things she did or targeted who she did. Much less why there was the “ghost” kind of thing in the church. Other than being a generally bitter, angry woman [insert hackneyed gender joke here], her motivation wasn’t well established.
  • Another TV show tries to deal with faith. *sigh* Which it never does well except in a very generic, hallmark-card style that’s either insulting or boring to those of us that are actually religious. There was enough going on in this episode (establishing the world, new character, etc) that they didn’t need to tack on a deeper, more complex topic on top of it. Though one does have to wonder what kind of priest gets their faith back after playing with explosives…
  • Some of the scenes between Zed & Constantine reeked of “trying to hard”. Guys, it’s your second episode. Don’t worry about romantic tension and will they/won’t they until you get your characters established.

Things I liked this episode:

  • We got to see more of that magical cabin interior which is still one of my favorite interior sets.
  • In fact, though one can tell this was a bit of a “bottle show” after a budget-breaking premiere, the set designers and practical effect guys did a really great job. The small, mining town house actually felt and looked like a real, small house and not the overly-large domiciles that sometimes populate these things. I also enjoyed the moment of filling the car with liquid. The effect looked practical so kudos and suitably freaky-creepy.
  • Matt Ryan (who was born the same year as me) seems to be settling into his role a lot more now and his earnest/snarky behavior mix felt much more natural. I especially enjoyed the scenes where he’s trying to give a cover story, wishes he didn’t have to, and half calls people out on making him do so when they know the truth too. Heck if this guy showed up and told me MY workplace was haunted, I’d believe him (and not just because my workplace is in one of the city’s oldest buildings).
    Side Note: Going back to my complaint about the rules of magic in my first episode review, I must admit I’m torn over Constantine’s solution at the climax of this episode. Seems rather… too easy that one could call up a ghost without even the slightest Latin. On the other hand, [actor] is so forceful in his delivery one can believe ANY ghost would show up after being called by him. Heck if he told me to give him my pizza I probably would.
  • EXPLOSIONS! Yeah, I like explosions. So what?
  • It was a nice twist that the beings themselves weren’t evil, but being forced to do evil things by an outsider. It’s not often in these shows that we see a peaceful solution where one just has to remind the monsters of who they really are.
  • They maintain the running gag of “master of the dark arts” from the premiere but keep it just subtle enough that it doesn’t become annoying.

So all in all, the show still has some bumps it needs to smooth over but I’m digging it so far and looking forward to the next episode.

Flash 1.04 – Going Rogue

Recap: Guy gets a gun and becomes the Flash’s deadliest enemy.  Wait, what?

Muggle Musings

Hard to say because this was an episode all about fanservice!  When there wasn’t references to the comics, there were references to DC’s other kickass show: Arrow, where Barry and crew first appeared in season 2 (which I just watched on Netflix).  If you’re not keeping up with Arrow, you might be a little confused as to who this devastatingly cute girl is that’s showing up and why isn’t she just with Barry all the time?  The show did well enough establishing basics without bogging it all down but if you’re not keeping up with the other show, one wonders how much impact it all had on you.  Still, I do like that the DC shows are establishing a shared universe like Marvel’s movies have.

If anything this episode was a little too full as the crossover and villain attention took up time that I thought could have been better devoted to Barry having to deal with death from him failing.  I mean he’s already had to deal with death before with his mother but this time he could have done something about it.  They should have let Grant try and deliver on that thought more.

The rest of the episode was pretty decent, though the CGI effect when Barry is slow-motion saving people from the train was a bit laughable.  There’s also some humor that after two episodes in a row where Barry saved the day by tiring out the villain, this time it was the villain that tired him out.  One thing that does disappoint me, however, is that they’re not enforcing the “Barry’s gotta eat a ton of food” motif.  Say what you will about the first, 90s series, but they did a good job in that one of having almost every episode a reference to Barry’s energy needs (like a briefcase full of candy bars).  I kind of wish we’d get more of that in this series like Barry snacking on beef jerky or something while hanging out at star labs.

Metahuman Musings

What?  No Firestorm references this time?  Boo, I want my money back!

Nah just kidding.  This was an episode FILLED with love for the Flash comic with the debut of one of his rogue-regulars: Captain Cold.  I am not quite familiar with them save some bits in crossovers which don’t give you a lot of room for character understanding.  Though cisco just happening to have invented an absolute 0 gun (breaking 3rd law of thermodynamics) is such a moment of comic book science I die laughing every time I think about it.  Oh Flash, you’re being so delightfully fun and silly, it’s what makes your serious moments have more impact.

All in all I’d say this might be the “worst” episode we’ve had so far, and it’s better than a lot of what’s on TV.  That’s a testament to how good this series is right now.