Sunday, November 29, 2015

The Walking Dead S6E8 Start to Finish Recap/Review (Spoilers!): A Strong Start to a Weak Finish

My first initial thought after the credits for the episode rolled was: Anticlimactic. Deanna’s death and the showdown between Morgan and Carol were the two events which had any actual story movement. The rest of the episode was all setup for the next half of the season. It comes down to expectations. The expectations I had for this episode was an hour filled with zombie kills and the Alexandrian’s driving the zombie horde out of the town. What we got was everyone hiding in their houses and talking.
The episode started off with a bang with everyone trying to get to safety. The scene with Maggie trying to get away from the walkers was the most tense and exciting of the finale. With the showrunners bringing Glenn back it would have been fitting for them to kill off Maggie. I expected a character to be killed off tonight to balance the scales for Glenn. I didn’t think it would be Deanna. A person from the main group should have been offered up tonight. I don’t want one of my favorite characters to die, but the show needs to prove again that anyone can perish at any time. With Glenn being alive I feel the show lost this edge, and it needs to gain it back. Deanna death will have effects on the town after they are able to draw the walkers away, but it didn’t hold a true emotional impact on the overall show.
In the end the most frustrating thing about the mid-season finale is nothing happened. We got the tower collapse at the end of the episode last week and then no advancement of the situation for the finale. I tend to like the slower episodes and the character development. A slower episode when the town has become overrun by zombies was not the best decision for the show. This season overall has been fantastic. The first four episodes where some of the finest of the series. They tailed off a bit leading to the finale, but I expected (there’s that word again) to end on a high note. We now have to wait until February to get any kind of movement on what is going on in the town. Nothing was solved during the first half of the season. It started with the group trying to move a dangerous herd of walkers away from the town, and they are still dealing with this issue.
Glenn and Enid were outside the walls, but no focus was placed on them during the episode. They could have at least been shown trying to formulate a plan to draw the walkers away. This is what Glenn was outside the walls to do in the first place. It would have been nice to see him try and do something tonight to help the town. Instead he gave a speech to Enid about helping and climbed a tree.  I’m struggling to determine why the show went this way for the mid-season finale. The big takeaway is Deanna pushing Rick to accept the town and everyone in it as his people, and the standoff between Carol and Morgan.
The standoff between Carol and Morgan ended with a whimper. We did at least see them fight, but I think Morgan should have made short work of Carol in that situation. Carol is fantastic with a gun and planning and executing an attack. One on One, Morgan with his Aikido should have easily gone out on top. I’m not sure why he got on the floor to try and stop her from grabbing the knife. He could have easily disarmed her again with his staff. It was good to see them go back and forth. The two polar opposite ways of thinking in the apocalypse and how to survive in it. Morgan is sane because he doesn’t kill. Carol is sane because she does. The two sides had to eventually clash, and the discussion they had leading up to the fight was the best part of the finale.
The only other event that I liked in the episode was Carl taking the gun off Ron and calling his dad an asshole. I was ticked at Ron for being an idiot in the garage, but I was impressed with Carl covering for him, but still putting him in his place. I have a feeling I might be in the minority about this aspect of the show, but it resonated as the right decision. This still should have taken place in another episode. It could have been dealt with in the next episode and more focus tonight on them dealing with the zombies.
In the end we are left with Rick coming up with the plan to get to the armory by covering everyone in walker guts. It was gory and gross and served a purpose, but we shouldn’t have ended with them walking out. This should have been a halfway point in the episode and the second half with them actually dealing with the threat.  I don’t want to be pretentious, but this episode really let me down in storytelling and plot movement. If this episode was the leading up to the finale I would have been fine with it, but this not what you end on leading into a break.  Season 2 we found out Sophia was dead. Season 3 we had a shootout between Woodsbury and our group. Season 4 was the epic prison battle. Season 5 we got Beth’s death. Each mid-season finale had some major moment, this had none. Without a major moment or plot development we are left wanting more.
What did you think of tonight’s episode? Did you end up wanting more? Were you as disappointed as I was? Was Deanna’s death enough of a big moment in the episode or did it hold no weight because she wasn’t a main character?  Comment and let me know.

My Rating: Underwhelming 

Saturday, November 28, 2015

Jessica Jones Season 1 Recap/Review (Spoilers!): Creepiest Villain of the Year Goes to….Mr. Killgrave

Jessica Jones is another case study in long form storytelling and why services such as Netflix and Amazon Prime are changing how creators tell stories. Done well it is the optimized way to tell a story. Everyone involved gets the chance to expand and focus on the characters in the series. With fewer episodes it allows the showrunners to focus on the main story arc and cuts out the filler found in most series on standard network/cable television. Jessica Jones is another example of when this form of storytelling is done well it can be amazing to watch.
Forget about this being a superhero show. At its core the show is more of a neo-detective noir than a one about a superhero. Yes Jessica Jones has superpowers in the form of amazing strength, but that doesn’t make her who she is.  She is a human with deep emotional issues because of events in her life. She is a throwback to the typical private detectives tropes used in classic stories. She is down on her luck, drinks too much, and doesn’t suffer fools lightly. Added to these character traits is her super abilities. She uses them in her job as a private detective. Having super strength comes in handy when opening locked doors. The ability to tell the story on Netflix and release all the episodes at one time allowed the showrunners to introduce the main villain in the very first episode. In the first episode we see how terrifying the person Jessica has to face off against will be.
Killgrave is the most terrifying Marvel villain portrayed in live action to date. He exudes a quite charm, but at the same time is so sinisterly villainous you love to hate him. There are many instances in episodes were he terrified me. Anything done to children generally terrifies me, because I instantly think of my own and how I would react to them being harmed. The scene where Killgrave “breaks” into an apartment and orders the children into the closet broke my heart. The fact the little girl had to go to the bathroom, but wasn’t allowed to perfectly illustrated the complete lack of empathy Killgrave has for anyone other than himself. As a parent not being able to protect my child was extremely frightening. Killgrave only cared for himself and for what he wanted. His driving force for the entire season was to get the one thing he couldn’t control: Jessica Jones.
On the other hand as soon as Jessica herd Killgrave was back she wanted to run away. She wants to get out of town and as far away from him as she can. Jessica knows what he can do because he violated her in every sense for a period in the past. It is one of the main reasons Jessica is damaged when we are introduced to her. Her first instinct to run is completely understandable. What makes her a hero is her decision to stand and fight. She knows he can control her (or at this point she thinks he can) but in spite of this supposed knowledge she turns to face the danger. She wants to try and protect others from going through everything he put her through. The most damaging being when Killgrave forced her to kill.
When she was forced to kill it snapped her out of Killgrave’s control. She still feels guilty about her actions. She knows she had no control, but it still torments her. It is such a torment that she laments and drowns in her misery. She follows around the dead woman’s, Reva, husband Luke Cage. We quickly learn Luke has powers too (and if you’re a comic book fan you knew that already) in the form of unbreakable skin. The initial fight Jessica and Luke have in his bar against the rugby team is fantastic. Most of the great action pieces of the season involved Jessica and Luke. When Luke came under Killgrave’s control the fight between Jessica and him was terrifying because you didn’t know how Jessica could defeat him without killing him.
I can’t wait to see what Netflix does with Luke Cage’s own series. It will be interesting to see how much Jessica is involved in his show since he was so prominent in hers. All of the main actors in the series did a fantastic job. Krysten Ritter is great in the title role and is completely believable as the broken hero. David Tennent is equally terrifying as Killgrave. You believed that he was able to control others, and that everyone else is available for his benefit. Racheal Taylor is great as Jessica’s best friend Trish and as mentioned before Mike Colter is amazing as Luke Cage. The only drawback of the entire first season was some of the ancillary characters. While the performances of the actors in their roles were fine, some of the story decisions didn’t fit with the overall narrative.
The two characters which stick out the most to me are Sgt. Simpson and the annoying neighbor Robyn. I didn’t get Simpsons storyline. He was just a normal cop, who Killgrave used to try and hurt Trish and then was remorseful and wanted to help fight back. Then all of a sudden he was a secret super-solider with access to facilities and later drugs which make him superhuman. It just seemed to come out of nowhere from the first couple of episodes he was in. It is no surprise that episodes which focus on Simpson and Robyn were my least favorite. I didn’t understand Robyn suddenly showing up and at the Killgrave support group and rallying them to go and attack Jessica. It was the weakest part of storytelling in the season. It seemed like the writers were struggling for a way to have Killgrave escape from Jessica during this particular episode and they needed a way to tie up the Ruben murder storyline, so they married the two. It just seemed forced and out of place with the rest of the season.
Other than those two small flaws I loved almost every other aspect of the show. I haven’t even mentioned Carrie-Anne Moss who plays a fantastic slimy lawyer who hires Jessica. The series has not been green lit for a second season, but we know we are getting more Jessica Jones in the Defenders series and hopefully in Luke Cage. I want a second follow up season. I think it is going to be tough to top the villain of Killgrave. It was extremely satisfying to watch Jessica finally kill him, but also disappointing that he can’t be used again. I’m hoping he stays dead and that they don’t find some weird way to resurrect him. That would cheapen the entire season in my opinion. I don’t think that will happen, but it seems no one truly stays dead in comics, so who knows.
I could write more about Jessica Jones and break down each episode, but it truly is roughly 13 hour movie that should be digested in as close to one viewing as possible. I would recommend this series to people who aren’t superhero fans and I think they would be entertained. There is enough separation from other properties for this to stand on its own. Jessica Jones can be enjoyed without watching other movies or shows. This show has been praised highly and I’m just heaping more on.
Let me know if what you thought and wear it ranks in regards to other superhero shows. I think I enjoyed Daredevil just a tad more overall, but it is extremely close. The Flash is my favorite network show. Let me know your thoughts!

My Rating: Must Binge Watch

Friday, November 27, 2015

When Should I let My Kid Watch.... Beverly Hills Cop - Movie Review

What type of kid where you? Did your parents let you
watch whatever you wanted? Did you sneak around and watch rated R movies as a
kid? If you’re a parent now what do you do? When do you let your kids watch
some of your favorite movies?
This is a new collection of reviews I’m starting with
a twist. I wanted to review some of my favorite movies, but with a different
perspective. As a parent I struggle with when I should let my children watch
and be introduced to certain movies.
Let’s get this out of the way first. This is not me
telling anyone when they should let their kids watch a movie. This is me
discussing what age I should let my children watch certain movies, and giving a
good personal age range as a guide.  I
think there is a fine line of being a cool parent that lets children watch
anything, and being responsible for what they view and trying to put what they
see in some sort of context.  There is a
website called Common Sense Media, and I’ll put link to their website in down
below in the description. The website gives recommended age ratings for movies.
I personally think they are on the conservative side, but every kid is
different and it’s up to the parents to decide when they are ready to handle a
certain movie.
The first movie I decided to review for this
collection is Beverly Hills Cop. I’m trying to get my 11 year old to have the
same passion for movies I do, but sadly I think he is going to take after his
mom, who isn’t a huge movie fan. At first I tried Matrix, then Die Hard, but we
settled on the Eddy Murphy classic
The first thing that jumps at you as a parent is the
strong language in the film. Within the first few minutes we get a profanity
laced exchange between Axel Foley and the criminals he is trying to entrap. This
doesn’t really stop during the course of the entire film. Language is the
primary reason why this movie got an R rating. Introducing my son to the strong
language doesn’t really bother me. He knows not to use it, and I’m sure it’s
nothing worse than what he has herd on the school bus. I know that is the first
place I ever herd the F word. Most of the “bad” things I learned when I was a
youth was on a bus, and I don’t think that has probably changed. He’s herd the
language, he knows not to use the language (at least around adults) so
personally I don’t mind him seeing it used in a movie.
The second possible red flag for the film is the
violence. There is one fairly graphic execution, but blood isn’t spewing,
gushing or splattering everywhere. The rest of the gun violence isn’t graphic,
other than when someone is shot blood is shown. I would say there is moderate
violence for a rated R movie. For the era this was made in, it’s on the lesser
end of the violence spectrum. Should my kid who is currently 11 watch it?  For him I would say yes. He’s mature for his
age and it shouldn’t have a profound impact on him. I know the first time I saw
parts of Die Hard I was too young and some of the deaths were etched in my
brain. I don’t think anything is that graphic in Beverly Hills Cop and he’s
mature enough to handle the visuals. That’s not so say other children around
the same age would be able to. It really is a case by case basis
The only other sensitive part of the movie is when
Axel goes to the strip club. There are some topless dancers who are in fact
topless, go figure. That could be a deal breaker for some, but it’s a short
scene and he’s never going to be able to watch an 80’s action movie if I limit
them to ones with no nudity. It also plays a part in the overall story of
gaining the trust of the Beverly Hills officers, and isn’t just thrown in as
some other movies of the era do. Does the scene have to be a strip club, no,
but that’s another discussion about 80’s R rated movies in general.
Now, I think the most crucial point of when it comes
to letting a kiddo watch a movie is if they will be able to grasp the plot and
story. If the story is action packed with lots of explosions most are going to
be able to enjoy it, however if I let my son watch a movie I want to make sure
he understands and grasps what is happening during the course of the film. I
let my son watch the Daniel Craig Bond Films leading up to Spectre, and re-watching
these with him I realized how convoluted the plot in Casino Royale is. I love
that movie and I fluctuate between that and Skyfall as my favorite Bond films,
but the plot and story is a little dense, at least for an 11 year old. I had to
stop the movie a couple of times and explain what was going on. The concept of
betting against the stock market is a bit hard to explain. Beverly Hills cop
doesn’t really have that. It’s a simple murder mystery that Axel has to solve.
The only part I would have to explain would be what German
bonds are, and that’s is easy enough. The barebones of the story are someone
killed Axel’s friend, and he has to find out why and who did it. Simple, straightforward
and easy to follow.
What is a bit harder to follow are the jokes. Axel/Murphey
is wise cracking the entire movie and some of the jokes are a bit dated for the
80’s and intended for an older audience.
I went ahead and let my son watch the movie, and during the scene when
Axel is checking into the hotel and pretending to be a Rolling Stone’s reporter
my son asked what Rolling Stone is. Forehead slap to face, please don’t think I
have failed as a father.  So I told him
and he was like okay, whatever. The amount of the Hotel room is also comical.
It is meant to seem extremely expensive, but by today standards and for Beverly
Hills the price today would be extremely low.  I didn’t find him laughing at many of the
jokes, but I found still found them funny, so they might have gone over his
head or he just might not have found them funny. 
I don’t remember when I first saw Beverly Hills cop. I
know it was probably after I got cable in my room as a kid, so probably around
13 or 14.  I remember loving it and
thinking it was funny, and is why I own the trilogy.  My son said he liked it, but I’m not sure it
captivated him as much as it did the first time I saw it. So maybe he is a year
or two away from when he should see it for the jokes, or he sadly just doesn’t
like movies. Comedy is in the end very subjective.
I think the right age range for this movie is probably
11-14 depending on kid.  The website
commonsense media has this listed as 16+ which is a bit too conservative for my
taste, but I can understand those who think that is the right age. Let me know
in the comments when you first saw Beverly Hills Cop. If you have kids when
would you feel comfortable letting them watch the movie.

This my first When Should I let my Kid Watch Video,
but I plan on doing more of them maybe once a week or every other week. Let me
know what you think and other suggestions on what we should watch next.
Subscribe to keep up with the content, give me a thumbs up if you like the
video, and share if you think it’s worth sharing.  Is that it, yep that’s it. Bye

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Star Wars Rebels S2E8 Stealth Strike Recap/Review (Spoilers): Ezra Saves the Day

Fast paced, action packed and interesting character moments filled this episode of Star Wars Rebels.  Ezra proved his worth on more than one occasion. Rex and Kanan had a fun infiltration adventure with nods to A New Hope, and we saw our first interdiction cruiser! The story also fit nicely into the thirty minute time slot. Many of the episodes this season have felt rushed and underdeveloped because of the twenty two minute length, but this one was paced perfectly.
We start out with Ezra on a mission with another crew investigating the disappearance of a transport. They are pulled out of hyperspace by the new interdiction cruiser and captured. The Imperials quickly find out who Ezra is and call in Kallus to deal with him. Kallus warns them to take extra care with Ezra to ensure he doesn’t escape. This was a constant theme of the episode. People underestimating Ezra. The commander, Sato, at the start of the episode isn’t sure why he was brought along. The Imperials don’t think he warrants extra guards, and Kanan doesn’t want to let Ezra go on his own to sabotage the gravity wells of the cruiser.  Each time Ezra proves he is extremely capable. His escape was brilliant. I like how he was able to use the force to ignite his lightsaber and take out the Stormtroopers. He spent the entire episode making easy work of the all of the troopers he came in contact with. He is starting to truly grow in the force and become a powerful Padawan. His character is starting to remind me of Ahsoka from the first few seasons of the Clone Wars. I also enjoyed the banter Ezra had with everyone in the episode and how he put Kanan and Rex in their place for arguing.
Kanan and Rex are the other main focus of the episode, and how Kanan finally accepts and trusts Rex. I’m not sure it was handled in the best way, but I’m glad we are moving past the mistrust issues Kanan is having. If you have read any of the comics you can understand why Kanan doesn’t trust the clones. I feel we have had enough time and episodes where they should be able to trust one another. This being said the switch for Kanan to trusting and wanting to save Rex was a tad quick. That again might be because of the short time length, but I don’t think it detracted much from the episode. Rex did risk himself to save the group, so Kanan felt obligated to save him. Rex had the absolute best moment of the episode tonight when he threw his helmet at the Stormtroopers, hit them and then took them out. I cracked up when this happened and found it to be a perfect encapsulation for the episode and Rex’s character. Fun and exciting, but frustrating at the same time.
The episode was fun and exciting, but the characters were frustrated throughout. Either from each other, or from the Empire. The Rebels were able to escape each situation, but it was never easy. They had to constantly work to get past every obstacle. I didn’t know how the episode was going to end. I thought we might get our first sacrifice of the season when Rex stayed behind to save the others. I wasn’t sure if Kanan would be given the opportunity to save him. I thought the loss of Rex might force Kanan to accept the other clone troopers and trust them. This works out better for the entire season, because once Rex does perish a more permanent and lasting relationship will be established with Kanan.
Overall this was one of my favorite episodes of the season. It had a classic Star Wars feel, possibly because it drew upon the Death Star rescue. On top of the nostalgia we got great action from Ezra, Kanan and Rex. Ezra was the true bright spot of the episode. I am becoming increasingly curious on where they are taking him as a character this season. The more I watch the more I think he is not going to turn dark, but instead might die at some point and cause the entire crew to evaluate their fight for the Rebellion. We will have to wait and see, but some darkness is looming around the corner for our band of heroes.
What did you think about tonight’s episode? It was close to my favorite of the season, where does it stand for you? Comment and let me know.

(One small nitpick. Sabine pipes up about the Imperials working on gravity well technology while she was at the academy. We don’t find out any of her backstory until last week, and now she decides to slip in her Imperial Academy knowledge. I feel some of that information might have been helpful before now. Extremely small gripe.)

Sunday, November 22, 2015

The Walking Dead S6E7 Heads Up Recap/Review (Spoilers!): Surprises and Revelations

Did anyone pay attention to the episode after the first five minutes? The showrunners could have probably shown us monkeys playing with feces and most fans would have been happy. We finally got an answer to the Glenn question.  HE’S ALIVE! I was dead wrong. I thought there was no way he survived falling off the dumpster. Those who thought he crawled under the dumpster were proven correct. Here’s my issue; not killing Glenn cheapens the show and the initial emotional response of the other episode.
I was as happy as anyone when the opening sequence of tonight’s episode was revealed. It was a complete surprise. I truly thought we would get information on Glenn at the end of next week when Daryl, Sasha and Abraham came back through the town. Scott Gimple is certainly keeping us on our toes this season with all the different twists and turns. I truly thought the next time we saw Glenn he would be a Walker. I didn’t think there was any logical way he survived the fall and the horde surrounding him. Logically he shouldn’t have. There were a ton of zombies around him, he fell down one person was on top of him. Any number of the other zombies should have been on him biting his head or other exposed parts. Are we now supposed to think Glenn and others of the main group are always safe? I knew Glenn was at least safe for the remainder of this episode. The scene where Enid pulled the gun on Glenn had no tension. I knew she wasn’t going to pull the trigger, even with the ominous music in the background. They wouldn’t keep Glenn alive from the dumpster and then kill him from a gunshot in the same episode.
Glenn has always been one of my favorite characters and I’m glad he is still alive, but not at the expense of the show overall. It seems there are now certain people who are untouchable in the show. I know certain things happen in the comics which say otherwise, but will the showrunners have the guts to pull the trigger on fan favorites from now on? Probably so, and next week’s mid-season finale will prove if this is the case. Not everyone is making it out alive next week. Many will probably be Alexandrians, but at least one should be a fan favorite. I don’t want a main character to die, but I think one is going to perish and balance the scales for Glenn.
The rest of the episode was anti-climactic after the reveal of Glenn being alive. I had to rewind because I wasn’t focused on what was happening on the television. It was a huge bombshell to drop at the start of the episode. I enjoyed the rest of the show, but nothing compared to the start of the episode, until the end. There were other good moments. The sequence with Spencer trying to climb past the horde was intense. Rick proved he still doesn’t trust the Alexandrians. Tara response to him was priceless and was perfect for the situation. Rick needed to pull his head out of his ass. While the Alexandrians are untrained, they still are people who are worth protecting. Yes, Spencer was an idiot for trying to climb across, but Tara didn’t hesitate to try and save him because she has integrated herself within the town. Rick hasn’t yet, he still views himself as an outsider.
Rick is quickly going to have to rely on the town after the events at the end of the episode. The church tower falling on the wall is going to make next week an action packed thrill ride. The first half of this season has been nothing short of spectacular, even if I don’t agree with Glenn being alive. The mid-season finale doesn’t look like it will be anything short of amazing. All of those Walkers crashing the town will mean many people could potentially meet their end. Carl might be the most likely with the Walkers and Ron after him.
Ron seems to be more like his Father than his Mother. He wants to get back at Rick and Carl. Rick for killing his father, and Carl for taking Enid away from him. The Enid part is small and petty for the world they are living in, but probably not to Ron. He wants to strike back at something because of the loss of his father. Carl isn’t helping matters with the way he treated him during gun training. I would have wanted to punch Carl if he talked to me that way.
The entire episode was wrought with tension. Either from Rick trying to prepare the wall and the Alexandrians. Morgan hiding the wolf in the basement and Carol finding out. The Walkers outside the gate. Maggie wondering if Glenn was still alive. Ron trying to find a way to get bullets for his gun, and possibly hurt Carl. All of these stories suddenly get put on hold while the town has to survive the zombie horde on the rampage.
Tonight’s episode was bookended very well. The audience got confirmation Glenn is alive and well, only to see the town suddenly in grave peril. Who knows if the group will be able to drive the Walkers away and save the town. I think they will be able too. I don’t see the the group going on the run again. They are going to be able to build the wall again, only to have to defend it against the wolves during the second half of the season.

It was a good penultimate episode before the mid-season finale. I enjoyed it, even if I don’t agree with the choice to have Glenn alive. I’m extremely glad he is, I just think it is the wrong choice for the show. What do you think about the choice for Glenn to be alive? Do you think it matters for the show overall, or am I making a mountain out of an anthill? Comment and let me know what you think. 

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Star Wars Rebels S2E7 Blood Sisters Review/Recap (Spoilers): Sabine was a Mandalorian Bounty Hunter?!?

Blood Sisters is another episode of Star Wars Rebels that would benefit with more time to expand the story. It is a credit to the show where almost every episode leaves you wanting more. The problem with this episode is with all the action and excitement it didn’t leave enough time to develop the characters involved in the story. The show introduced Sabine’s former friend or “Blood Sister” Ketsu Onyo. She seems every bit as deadly as Sabine, but with less of a conscious.
Sabine is given a mission by Hera at the start of the episode to meet a contact and transport them to a Rebel outpost. The contact has important information which needs to be delivered safety. Ezra tags along, and reminds us we don’t really know much about Sabine.  This quickly changes once we meet up with Ketsu Onyo. She intercepts the courier, a power droid, and wants to sell it to make a profit. We learn Sabine and Ketsu were once Bounty Hunters and at the Imperial Academy together. Ketsu also abandoned Sabine in a dire a circumstance. This is disclosed before a group of Stormtroopers show up and complicates matters.
The action in this episode is fantastic. The fight between the Stormtroopers and the makeshift team is fast and intense. Sabine quickly escapes in a transport ship. Ketsu is left behind and makes quick and easy work of the Stormtroopers. Ketsu instantly becomes a force to be reckoned with on the show. In just one scene she shows how deadly she can be. Ketsu after she defeats the Stormtroopers chases down Sabine.
Ketsu catches Sabine and captures Chopper to ensure a trade for the droid with the information. Sabine has a good character moment at this point, saying she forgives Ketsu for leaving her for dead. She even goes as far to say that she trusts Ketsu. This is one part of the episode which I took issue with. Ketsu had just threatened to blow up Sabine. She would have if her weapons were not damaged. Why would Sabine all of a sudden make a declaration of trust? I get that they once knew each other and were friends, but to trust someone after they tried to kill you is a tad unbelievable.
This is another instance where I have to remind myself this show is geared towards older kids, and they probably aren’t going to be dissecting an episode. The scene did its job and let us know Sabine is a good person who had a troubled past. With a longer format though we could have let the story develop more and built more of a current trust between the characters.  After the declaration of trust the Imperials show up to take control of the ship Sabine stole. Ketsu and Sabine have to work together to escape the Imperial ship. Sabine is injured and Ketsu has to make a choice to save Sabine or let her die. She, of course, saves Sabine.
This change in Ketsu from someone who was willing to kill or injure Sabine is a bit too quick. It was just a few scenes before she was going to blow up Sabine in order to take possession of the droid. Then suddenly she is risking her life to save Sabine. Again this is why an hour long episode could be warranted. We could explore the connection these two characters have and why she would suddenly be willing to risk her life. More of a story could be developed and reasons shown why she chooses this option.  For the targeted demographic of the show this probably doesn’t matter. The character development is satisfactory and the choice made is the right one for a hero or anti-hero in the show.
This was another fun episode of Rebels and we were given some information on Sabine’s backstory. Even though Sabine is a loner on the crew, she believes in what she is fighting for. The action in the episode was amazing and fun. I thought the characters and relationship could have been developed more, but I don’t think this is the last we will see of Ketsu on Rebels. Sabine is a fan favorite because she is a bit of a mystery. Hopefully once her story is revealed the shine doesn’t wear off.  From the initial indications most signs point to no.

What did you think of tonight’s Rebels? Did you want more story and development between Ketsu and Sabine or did they find a good balance for the thirty minute episode? Comment and let me know. 

Sunday, November 15, 2015

The Walking Dead S6E6 Always Accountable Review/Recap (Spoilers!): Abraham, Warrior Poet

“Cause loose ends make my ass itch” is solid gold, and is one of the highlights of the episode Always Accountable. The episode focused on Daryl, Sasha and everyone’s favorite solider Abraham. The episode balanced a bit of action with character development. We still did not get a definitive answer to the question on everyone’s mind. Is Glenn still alive? Was that his voice on the radio at the end of the episode? It sounded like it to me, but I hope it wasn’t. This little morsel was at the end of an ok episode, but not one which stands out amongst the first few of the season.
The episode got off to a quick start when Sasha, Daryl, and Abraham were attacked by an unknown group. They had to separate to escape from the attackers. Sasha and Abraham escaped and made their way to an office building while Daryl got stuck in the woods and made new friends. Honestly I feel like I need to watch the episode again just to catch everything Abraham was spouting off. He was saying lines in what seemed to be a poetry rhythm. One thing was clear, he and Sasha are headed for a romance. I’m not sure the Walking Dead has had another love triangle other than Shane, Rick, and Lori.
Abraham and Sasha’s scenes held half of the episode, and while they are well acted, I’m not sure their story adds much to the overall show. I care about both characters. Michael Cudlitz is one of my favorite actors, and he is fantastic as Abraham; however I’m not sure Sasha and Abraham should ever be one of the main focal points of an episode. Their interactions and revelations are good development, but I’m not sure they are needed for the main arc of the show. The scene with Abraham finding the RPG was amazing and well shot, but not really needed as far as character growth. I’m sure the RPG’s will come in handy down the roadJ.
Daryl got captured by a group of three people. They seem to be escaping from the people who attacked Daryl at the start to of the episode. They think Daryl belongs to the group hunting them down. Daryl being Daryl doesn’t try to make the people think he is something different. He knew if he tried they wouldn’t believe him. Instead he waits patiently for an opportunity to escape and takes it. Only to find he stole Insulin from them when he ran off. Daryl being the character who many people love (including me) makes the obvious decision to take the insulin back and save the girl who needs it. Daryl thinks he can trust them after he trades the insulin for a wood carving the man in the group is working on. How can a bad person still carve wood in this post-apocalyptic world?
I don’t think this group of three people is bad, but once they lose the insulin girl to a really strange walker attack, they have very little left to cling too. Daryl promises to take them back to Alexandria, but they choose the devil they know. They steal Daryl’s trusty crossbow and his motorcycle. Will this change’s Daryl’s opinion on searching for people to let into Alexandria? I don’t think it will. He seemed to reflect upon on this at the end when he looked at the wood carving. He didn’t make a wrong judgment about the people. Yes they stole his stuff, but they didn’t kill him. They were scared and alone and wanted to feel safe, so they went back to a place they knew. The unknown is always scarier. Daryl I think understands this and will want to continue to try and bring people back to Alexandria. Things work out for him when he finds the tanker truck and meets back up with Sasha and Abraham. We then get the cliffhanger of the week, when someone comes across the radio and asks for help.
The voice sounded like Glenn. I hope it’s not. I would love for Glenn to still be alive, but I also think it would be a detriment to the show overall. Yes people have come up with fan theories about how he could have stayed alive. Yes he might have been able to hide under the dumpster, but that possibility is extremely unlikely. How many days has it been since Nick killed himself? It has been at least three or four, maybe longer. Could he have survived that long under the dumpster? Maybe, but again extremely unlikely. If he has survived, every time they kill a main character from here to the end of the show it will be questioned at first, is he/she really dead?  Could he have survived? Anyone can die in this world at any time, and I think the show needed a main character to be killed to reinforce this ideal. I would have preferred someone other than Glenn, but I hope they commit and he serves that purpose.
Overall this episode was pure filler until we get to the end of the mid-season. We got character development from two of the lesser known people of the main group along with Daryl. It was well acted, and well written, but there didn’t seem to be any true danger or high stakes in the episode at any point. The last two episodes have been okay, but don’t compare to the amazing television the first four delivered. It’s an issue with a show as good as The Walking Dead. When episodes are fantastic, it makes the good episodes look mediocre. Here is to hoping the last two episodes before the mid-season break are fantastic.

What did you think of tonight’s episode? Will Daryl still want to find people for Alexandria? How do you think the RPG’s Abraham found will be used in future episodes? And the big question of the night, was that Glenn’s voice? Comment and let me know. 

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Star Wars Rebels S2E6 Wings of the Master Recap/Review (Spoilers): Hera: God of the Sky

Wings of the Master is a fun filled episode focused primarily on Hera. We get to see her showcase her flying prowess and test fly the prototype B-Wing. It was interesting to see the origins of the Rebel fighter used during the Battle of Endor. Hera had to prove she was worthy to fly the new ship and in doing so showed why she is one of the best pilots in the Rebel fleet.
The story starts with the Rebel fleet trying to drop supplies off to a world that is blockaded by the Imperials. The situation seems dire for the people on the world.  The Rebel task force isn’t strong enough to break through the Imperial ships. This leads to Hera going to a remote world and finding a Mon Calamari who has designed a new prototype fighter ship. The Phantom is damaged on landing, but the point is Hera was able to land when most others would have crashed.
The flying scenes of this episode are top notch. Every scene of Hera flying was excellent. When she test flew the B-Wing the flight animation was some of the best the show has produced. I really enjoyed seeing the sequence of her putting the B-Wing through its paces. We also learn more about Hera and what drove her to become a pilot. I liked learning more of her backstory and why she loves to fly. After they convince Quarrie, the ship maker, to help they fly off to help break the blockade. The end space battle is excellent. The B-Wing in action was fantastic and how the whole battle was setup was extremely well executed.
While getting Hera’s backstory was fantastic, and the flying and battles wonderful; there were a few issues with the episode. The biggest for me was, why were they trying to save this planet and the people on it? I get that they are just trying to help and save the people. Why however where the Imperials blockading the planet? Why is it of importance to the Rebellion? Humanitarian missions are fantastic, and a great reason for the Rebels to help. I wanted more justification as to why this planet was important to both the Empire and the Rebellion. It just didn’t make much sense for the Empire to blockade a planet for no reason other than to starve the people.
The second issue I had with the episode was the introduction of the B-Wing. While it was awesome to see its origins, as a Star Wars geek, it had me nitpicking. If the B-Wing was introduced to the fleet at such an early stage of the Rebellion why was it not used until the Battle of Endor? We should have at least seen in it in Empire. I don’t mind the sheer firepower of the prototype. They stated the hyperdrive didn’t work once it fired, so they could have taken this out of the design to ensure it had light-speed. The B-wing introduction along with the introduction of the A-Wing during this stage of the Rebellion don’t add up for me. We should have seen these ships during Yavin and other battles if they were available. These are nitpicks and shouldn’t affect anyone’s enjoyment who isn’t a supernerd.
The issues were small, and the episode was fun and enjoyable overall. The battle and flight sequences are fantastic. The focus on Hera was well deserved and it was fantastic to see her get most of the screen time during this episode. It was a nice touch for her to be promoted at the end of the episode. A tad bit cheesy, but it was enjoyable cheese.  It was a simple objective and execution episode. Next week it looks like we are getting an episode focused on Sabine, which is fantastic. Hopefully Zeb will get an episode of focus as well. Well executed action and good characters are becoming staples of the show.

What did you think of tonight’s episode? Did you like Hera’s backstory and the flight sequences? Am I being too nitpicky with my criticism tonight? Comment and let me know. 

Sunday, November 8, 2015

The Walking Dead S6E5 Now Review/Recap (Spoilers!): Clean-up and Acceptance

The people of Alexandria are finally waking up to what the world outside its wall is truly like. This week’s episode of The Walking Dead focused on the aftermath of the Wolves raid and ramifications of the Walkers getting out of the quarry and surrounding the town. Death is circling the people of Alexandria and not many know how to deal or cope with what appears to be their impending doom. The episode was slower paced and had less emotional impact than any other installment of the year. It did not resonate as much as other episodes due to the fact we have not gotten attached to the characters in the town the way we have for the main group.
The big issue with tonight was there was no main story to get behind. We had a bunch of side stories and one big reveal to tide us over until we get back to the people who are outside the walls. The story followed a few Alexandrians. We saw Deanna starting to process her grief. She goes from hopeful to desperate in this episode. Deanna seems to want to let Rick take over, but I’m not sure that is the best for the town overall. I’m not sure Rick wants to take overall leadership for Deanna. She still needs to be the bridge for the Alexandrians. Rick is still and outsider and is not accepted by everyone. Deanna also had to deal with her son Spencer. He looked at one point to be a noble person by stopping the townspeople from raiding the food pantry. We found out later he was just selfish and wanted things to himself. Deanna must come to grips with her son and the rest of the townspeople so she can help lead them with Rick.
The other main Alexandrian we followed tonight was Jessie. She had to clean-up the mess she made after killing the wolf in her house. We saw her come to accept the life she is going to have to live in the new world. She had a big speech during the middle of the episode which seemed forced into the show. She just happens to walk by a house with a walker inside? She then kills it and a crowd gathers instantaneously? It didn’t make much sense, but it gave Jessie the opportunity to proclaim her revelations. I like her character and the scene was acted well, but I think they could have found more natural way for her to feelings known. We also saw at the end of the night that she accepted Rick. Life for everyone is too short, and I think she realized why fight something which feels right. It was an inevitable the two of them would get together. I’m glad they did not string it along any further than in tonight’s episode.
What they did string along is Glenn’s status. Is he alive or dead?  I happen to think he’s dead. The show can’t afford to have him alive. It would work against everything they have established during the course of the first five seasons. They tricked me during season two with Carol’s daughter, not this time. I hope they do not continue the apparent mystery as long as they did in season two. During the end credits it looked like we saw a brief picture of Glenn turning his head towards the camera. I tried to pause and get a frame to see if it was him and if he was turned into a walker, but I could never get it to pause to see a clear picture of his face.
Maggie is obviously worried about Glenn. She decides to go and look for him. Aaron decides to join her and they make a trip through the sewers to get around the horde of walkers at the gates. This was the best story and part of the episode tonight. The walker scare in the sewers was fantastic. Those zombies were some of the best of the series. Maggie having to push it away and have her hand go through the ribcage was gruesome. Shortly after this event Maggie drops the obvious bombshell that she is pregnant. This was a clear progression for Glenn and Maggie’s story. Glenn is “probably” dead and his presence on the show will still be felt when the baby arrives.
All the other aspects of tonight’s episode were not engaging or entertaining. It was an average episode overall. The first four have been spectacular, so they are afforded one which doesn’t deliver on all aspects.  I think the main reason tonight wasn’t as fulfilling is that we don’t relate to any of the people in Alexandria. We want them to know and understand the current world, and they are being dragged kicking and screaming into accepting it. Most of the people in the town aren’t likeable.  With a few exceptions, Aaron, Jessie and Deanna all seem to have strong characters and will add to the show. The rest are just cannon fodder. We probably aren’t supposed to relate to them, so when they are lost we don’t truly care one way or another. 
Tonight’s episode seemed more filler than exceptional. We got very little overall plot movement. We didn’t see Carol or Morgan. We don’t know what is happening with the people leading the main horde of walkers away. We don’t know what the other Wolves are planning. We needed this episode to highlight some of the main characters in Alexandria. While I didn’t care for it as much the previous weeks, it still served the purpose for the overall show.

What did you think of tonight’s episode? Where you underwhelmed or think the character development of the Alexandrians well done? Comment and let me know. 

Spectre Movie Review: Classic James Bond in the Modern Day.

My video Movie Review of the new James Bond Film. If you haven't made it to the movie yet, I would suggest going. Well worth your time and money.

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Star Wars Rebels S2E5 Brothers of the Broken Harm Recap/Review (Spoilers!): Fun but Pointless

Brothers of the Broken Harm while a fun adventure story is otherwise pointless. Ezra is having a bought of teenage angst. He doesn’t want to train with Rex and he doesn’t want to do his Jedi training with Kanan. Like most teenagers he wants to do his own thing and not be tied down. This sets him on the path of stealing the Phantom to go help Vizago Overall this was the weakest episode of the season. It was still a fun half-hour of television, but did not affect the overall show in any major regard.
When Ezra goes to investigate the distress signal Vizago ship is giving off he finds the pirate Hondo on board. Thus ensues twenty minutes of Ezra and Hondo lying to each other and trying to make sure they each get the upper hand. They go and try and sell some power sources. They are able to escape a double cross in an exciting but predictable fight scene. It was good to see Ezra use the force to save Hondo, but it could open another avenue for the Empire to eventually track our band of Rebels down. This is my hope were the eventual effects of the episode take us. Ezra going off half-cocked and not thinking his actions through will have consequences. It didn’t seem like this was the case in this episode. He flew off had an adventure, saved the day and realized he would rather be with the Ghost’s crew than a pirate.
What I would like to see happen is Hondo being captured by the Empire or the Inquisitors and giving away our Rebels location. I want Ezra’s actions to have some ramifications. However this is still a young adult/children’s show they may want to throw in a few of these lighthearted episodes. Since the tone of the season is supposed to be trending darker they may want to have some simple and fun episodes to keep the younger audience engaged. I still think what Ezra did during this episode should affect later events. I’m assuming since they introduced Hondo he is going be used again. We know he has very low scruples from the Clone Wars, and wouldn’t be a stretch for him to betray and give up the Rebels.
Did this episode affect Ezra status as a Jedi? Is he more likely to turn dark after the events of this episode? I would actually lean the other way. He does the right thing over and over again in this episode. The only wrong decision he made was taking the Phantom without asking. He saved Hondo. He worked hard to obtain the power source for the Rebels. He, in the end, decided the perfect place for him to be is with the crew of the Ghost. Yes at first he wanted to run away, but I chalk this up to typical teenage melodrama. He wanted to get away and get out of his responsibilities for a while. Hell I can relate to this as an adult sometimes (Who am I kidding most of the timeJ). It doesn’t mean he is going to turn into a Dark Jedi. My new thoughts on where his story is eventually heading is him going on one of these adventures and not come back. This will deal a major blow to Kanan and the rest of the Ghost’s crew. Just a theory, but from the last two episodes I see this eventuality more likely than him turning dark and Kanan having to fight him. It might not happen this season, but eventually.
I found tonight a bit of a step back from the first few episodes of the season. It was still enjoyable, but not as impactful as the first few. This is understandable for a longer season, but I would have much rather seen last week’s episode stretched to two weeks.  Hopefully the actions of in this episode do have an effect on the overall season’s story. I could still see this episode just being a one off and used to show Ezra’s growth. Either way it was still an enjoyable half hour, just not as impactful or meaningful as the first few of the season.

What did you think of tonight’s episode? Did you think it was the weakest of the season, or was another episode worse? Comment and let me know. 

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

The Walking Dead S6E4 Here’s not Here Recap/Review (Spoilers): “You’re Going to Hold a Baby Again”

The Walking Dead episode Clear is one of my favorite of the entire series. It shows how broken a human psyche can become after you lose the people who mean the most to you in life. Lennie James is brilliant in his portrayal of a man who has lost everything and whose mind could not take the loss.  Here’s not here, tonight’s episode, is about Morgan’s redemption. The story of how a broken man can claw is way from the brink of madness and learn to live again.
Morgan is surviving. He is surviving by killing everything and anything he comes in contact with.  We witness his brutal and methodical killing of every walker he spots. He hunts and stalks them, he draws them out to try and eradicate anything which can threaten his existence. Walkers are not the only threat to Morgan. We soon see him brutally murder two people who look to be following him. It can be argued these individuals are looking to hurt Morgan, and he is justified in protecting himself. It is the shocking contrast of who Morgan is presently which is presented. He kills without thinking, without hesitation, and in the most brutal way possible. This has become his survival mechanism. He is no longer a rational human.  He is just as deadly and feral as the walkers he hunts.
How can an individual this far removed from sanity be redeemed? Without a catalyst Morgan would have continued to live this life until someone or something killed him. He has accepted this eventuality and looks forward to it. This is evident with his first encounter with Eastman. He wants Eastman to kill him, shouting it repeatedly and to no avail. Morgan ran into the only person who values life above anything else.  Eastman slowly starts to build a relationship and report with Morgan. His statement not to hurt the goat the first night tipped me off that the door to the cell wasn’t locked. This is another example of how broken Morgan is. Deep down he thinks he should be caged. He doesn’t even try the door, which any rational person would, even if that is an irrational response to be putting in a cage. Eastman finally tells him the door is open and gives him the choice to leave or stay. Morgan chooses to fight and loses. This is the closest we see Eastman to killing Morgan when he breaks the painting on the wall. We find out later why, in a beautiful piece of storytelling.
Morgan puts himself back in the cage and slams the door. Eastman opens it to reiterate the fact Morgan is a human and can still be saved. It’s the goat, Tabitha, which starts Morgan slow climb out of madness. He leaves his cell and saves her from Walkers. Animals are helpless and showing Morgan’s willingness to help save something which cannot protect itself illustrates he wants to regain some of his humanity. This is the beginning of Morgan’s path to believing all life, no matter how despicable, is precious. Eastman starting to teach Morgan the tenants of Aikido slowly brings him back to the land of the living. Eastman has his own demons and we slowly learn he is a true master of redirecting hard questions he doesn’t want to answer.
The revelations of Eastman’s story and how he became a recluse living in the woods was brilliant. To know he lost his wife and daughter to a sociopath before the fall of the world is crucial.  He lost and regained his sanity during a different time and environment. Eastman’s beliefs don’t hold up for the current world, but it’s the only thing which is preventing him from falling into madness. This is what he gives to Morgan. A world view and philosophy Morgan can cling too. If Morgan begins to kill again he will lose all he was worked to gain. This philosophy has to work for Morgan, or he will lose his sanity. The fact he almost loses his mind when Eastman gets bit helps reinforce that he has to hold onto this view to maintain his composure.  
The sequence of Eastman getting bitten was a wonderful piece of storytelling. Eastman forces him to confront the death of his Son and Wife and then makes him do forms of Aikido. He then makes the offhand comment that Morgan will hold a baby again. It is just a thrown in comment, but has significant weight if you look at the season premier. When Morgan holds Judith there is a look that comes over him. He is remembering Eastman’s words, and just with his facial expressions Lennie James is able to convey a deep moment without us realizing why. To be introduced to this moment during this episode is storytelling at its finest.
While I would have preferred to continue the current story and find out what happened to Glen from last week. This story needed to be told, and it was done in brilliant fashion. The performances by Lennie James and John Carroll Lynch are fantastic and possibly Emmy worthy. This episode is now up with my favorites. Watching this episode back to back with Clear will make for one fantastic story arc for Morgan’s character. While some may still not like Morgan’s decisions to not kill the wolves, it at least makes since for his character. These decisions are based on how he must live his life. It’s not the best decision for the current world, but for him to survive and keep his humanity it’s the one he has to make.

What did you think of this week’s episode? Do you understand why Morgan is keeping the wolf alive? Do you think he should? I understand, but don’t necessarily agree with it. He should at least tell others.  Comment and let me know.