Can this old dog learn any new tricks? Oh, god, that was a terrible joke.
Wow, lots of awesome packed into one short episode. Let’s dive in.
Unlike previous episodes, this one spent a lot time on the island, which was nice. We see Oliver, Slade, and Sara finalizing their plan of attack on Ivo’s boat, which includes a pretty nice training scene of Oliver running through the woods and shooting targets. While not amazing, it was nice to see him still learning the ropes of archery. The trio puts their plan into action, Oliver allowing himself to get captured and with the help of a handy drug, lies to Ivo about Slade and Sara being on the ship, providing the distraction they need to parachute their way on to the deck. What follows is a fast paced, and very well done action scene. We got to see Slade kicking some ass with his new super powers, and drifting further and further into insanity. While Slade is cutting a bloody path through Ivo’s men, Sara is scrambling to free the prisoners and Oliver is hunting down Ivo. Oliver corner’s Ivo in the bridge, and Slade comes in just in time to learn the truth of Shado’s death. He attacks Oliver, damaging the ship in the process. Oliver slips away and meets up with Sara and some of the escaped prisoners, including the Russian guy we met earlier this season. They plan to jump ship and swim for the island, Sara and the prisoners make it, but Slade grabs Oliver and locks him. We close out with Slade taking control of the ship and hacking off Ivo’s hand before promising to inflict horrible vengeance on Oliver.
The island sequences this week were amazing from start to finish. After several weeks of only seeing bits and pieces of the island, all of them pretty much serving as build up to this episode, and the pay off was great. The entire thing was paced well, it never felt rushed or dragging in places, the action scenes were well done, even if they weren’t the most impressive ones we have seen. The entire boat sequence really sold the chaos that was caused by Oliver’s attack, the prisoners running rampant, stealing weapons while the guards tried to maintain control, fireballs and explosions, it all served to amp up the tension, finally coming to a climax when Slade learns of Oliver’s lie.
Seeing him toss Oliver around the ship was honestly a little heartbreaking. We have seen these two build up a friendship over the last season and half, driven home by Slade referring to Oliver as his brother, and in an instant it all came crashing down. We saw the death of a friendship and the birth of a villain. I have to say that Manu Bennett, who plays Slade, was fantastic here. The look on his face after learning the truth, half heartbreak half crazed was perfect. He sold the it perfectly. If I hadn’t already been loving this character since his first appearance last season, this episode would have done it.
With the attack on the boat, we have wrapped up this particular island plot, the fight against Ivo, and have some solid set up for the next one; the fight against Slade. I eagerly await seeing where this goes.
In the present, we didn’t get much. If anything it seems the island scenes and Starling scenes seem to have swapped roles. The island carrying a bulk of the plot and the present day scenes serving to act as set up for the future. We see Slade insinuate himself into the Queen family through Moira’s bid for mayor, seeing a whole new side to Slade, that of the conniving charmer, expertly playing Moira and Thea all to get at Oliver. Seeing his arrogance at Oliver’s barely controlled rage was amazing, Bennett and Amell played off each other perfectly here.
While limited, we got see the rest of team Arrow spring into action. Oliver gets a call out to them, and after recognizing Slade’s voice, Sara scrambles the troops to save Oliver and take down Slade. This doesn’t amount to much, but was fun to see Sara dish out the orders and everyone falling into their assigned roles. For a second I was afraid we were going to see Roy do something stupid, but I’m glad we didn’t, shows how well he is developing as a character. Slade’s parting shot at Oliver, the promise of future violence against him and his family, set the mood perfectly for what is to come next in the show, Oliver desperately trying to stop Slade and protect the people he loves, or so I assume at least. Either way, the tension has been dialed up and I can only assume this will lead to an amazing showdown between the Arrow and Deathstroke.
Overall, this was a fantastic episode, the spin of more time devoted to the island scenes was a nice break from the normal formula for the show, perfect closing of one plot line, and oh so much promise for the future. I can’t wait to see the Suicide Squad take the stage in two weeks.
So yeah, we just had an episode of Castle, without a crime to solve. Consider me one surprised Goon.
We open with Castle and Beckett enjoyed a day off (I wonder what those are like, Snooty keeps me working 24/7) only for Beckett to get unexpectedly called in. She is needed to go undercover to get information on a new drug ring that has rolled into town, that due to its secretive structure, the police are unable to get any real information on. A break is caught when a woman who claims to be a low level courier comes forward, which is what prompts Beckett to go undercover as her to a meeting. The cops set up an elaborate plan, which of course fails, as Beckett is nabbed and carried off. She then starts to learn that there is more to the woman she is impersonating than was originally thought. She’s an assassin, she makes with the murder murder for the money money. Beckett pretends to kill a random guy, leaving with him a message to pass on, so that she can meet the boss. Her cover gets blown as the boss is someone we have met before, but before the bad guys can off her, she is saved by Elena Markov, the woman she has been impersonating. A twist that is explained by Markov, passing on that the real bad guy, who goes by Lazarus, hired her to save Beckett, citing that he owed her one and they are now even. We close out with a touching scene between Castle and Beckett, and the reveal that Lazarus is Sen. Bracken, the man behind the murder of Beckett’s mom.
This episode was very different from the usual Castle fair, and that was kinda nice. We have gotten a lot of interesting and out there CoW for the team to solve, but this week we didn’t have a case, we had Beckett thrown into a situation without all the information and had to play a desperate game of catch up in order to survive. However, while I did enjoy the episode, it’s not leaving me much talk about. Seeing Beckett in an usual situation for her was nice, but it would have been better if she had to embrace some completely different personality in order to do it. We could have gotten some drama heavy scenes of Beckett trying to keep this false personality intact with distrustful baddies trying to break it down. But what we got was basically Beckett acting more or less the same, she had a more timid personality at first, but this was abandoned when she discovered what Elena really was, she was then basically murderer Beckett instead of cop Beckett.
Also, due to the lack of case, we had far less of Ryan, Esposito, and even Castle played a smaller role than usual. As I have said before, the strength of this show is the interplay between Castle and Beckett and the fantastic supporting characters. None of them did much this week, the main focus was on Beckett being undercover, which made for a pretty significant weakness in this week’s episode. What was great about it though was the set up, there is a mysterious drug organization that was put together to fund Bracken’s run for President. This is great, we see the man that murdered Beckett’s mom, all but untouchable before, trying to gain even more power, and having the funds, which are impossible to trace back to the illegal dealings to fund this campaign. If nothing else, this was great set up for future events, sadly the rest of the episode fell pretty flat.
However, there is one other thing that I need to mention, something that I having been meaning to do for awhile but always seems to slip my mind, and that is one Tory Ellis, played by Maya Stojan. She is the tech girl that has been popping up on and off this season. She is interesting, and I will say promising at this point. We don’t know much about her, as there hasn’t been much done with her. She is the just tech wiz that has been helping out on various cases when video’s need to be analyzed or some such. Despite her limited use, I am liking this character and I think Stojan is good in the role. I am hoping that more will be done with her in the future as she could make for a promising addition to the secondary cast.
Overall, average episode. Nice break from the normal to really help us appreciate the really fun and out there cases, with some good set up for the future, but nothing special.
So the Academy Awards were last night, the day that Hollywood’s finest come together to celebrate being Hollywood’s finest. And movies, those are a big thing too.
Now, this not going to be a write up of what happened last night, you all watched, you know what happened. And if you didn’t watch it, well, that’s what youtube is for. What I will be talking about is some of the major highlights of the awards, the parts that were good, and some of things that annoy me about this event.
Lets start with the best part of the show, Ellen DeGenres as the host. She was hands down the best part of the show, I could not count the number of times she had me laughing. Her ordering pizza during the award show, and handing it out was amazing, and we can’t forget her selfie that apparently crashed Twitter. Good on Ellen, they should bring you back again next year. The big winner of the night, Gravity, can’t say I am surprised about this. Gravity was a great movie, and Sandra Bullock was fantastic in her roll, and that is all I will say about that, for more of my thoughts, and my esteemed partner’s, check out our review of the movie here. While not nabbing Best Movie of the Year, Gravity did earn itself Best Director, making Alfonso Cuarón the first Latino to ever win that award, and whole slew of technical awards. Best Movie went to 12 Years a Slave, never saw it, but heard it was good. Matthew McConaughey had an incredibly amusing speech when he won Best Actor, and I still feel that Amy Adams was robbed when it came to Best Actress. But that is how Hollywood politics work out, which brings me to my next point, what I don’t like about the Academy Awards.
My issues really all boil down to one simple thing, throughout the awards, you have 6-9 movies that get nominated for pretty much everything, leaving out scores of movies that came out the past year, some of them just as deserving of being nominated, if not more so. Let’s go with the awards for Best Costume and Best Set Design, while I am not saying that the movies that took those awards home didn’t deserve them, but let’s just take a look at them for a minute. Of the movies that were nominated, all of them were either period pieces or set in the modern day, while these weren’t bad, and some of the costumes were pretty amazing, let’s widen our view. Throughout this past year we had several movies come out in the fantasy and science fiction genres, two genres where the stories take place in completely different worlds, and to bring those worlds to life, you need amazing costumes and sets. Take a look at Thor: The Dark World, they literally brought a mythical realm of gods to life! The sets and costumes were amazing, far more impressive than the outfits seen movies like American Hustle and The Great Gatsby (which won for costumes) and it didn’t even get a nomination! That is what upsets me about the Oscars, whoever is in charge over there completely ignores all these amazing films just because there not some heavy handed drama or tell a “moving and emotional tale about struggles and overcoming them” or some BS like that. I could rant all day about this, but I basically already just summed it up nice and neat there. Fantastic movies that are deserving of at least recognition, if not awards, get ignored so that all the attention can be put on the same six to nine movies that someone sitting at desk somewhere decided should considered better than everything else.
Really, the only reason to watch the Oscars was for Ellen DeGeneres, and some of the performers, Idina Menzel was amazing, I will admit that I am glad “Let it Go” won Best Song, because it was the best song, in this Goon’s humble opinion at least.
Among the many other shows, we see Community make its return to television. And it was, okay.
This week we once again see Prof. Duncan try and score a date with Britta, to do so, he enlists Jeff’s help, and the two concoct a plan. Ian suggest going to a charity benefit, just the type of thing that Britta would be interested in. Naturally, the rest of the group, minus Abed and Hickey, come along as well. This is kinda where things took a turn for the bad. The story splits off into the various subplots that are the norm for a sitcom, and while far from bad, none were really great either.
Starting with the main one, we see Ian trying to nab Britta, how will he do this? Wait for her to have an emotional breakdown and move in for the kill. Despicable, yes, but keeping in line with what we have seen of Duncan so far. A wrench is thrown in the works when Britta runs into some of her old anarchist friends, gives a speech, and woos the crowd. Honestly, it was a pretty good speech, one of the better parts of the episode. After this we get a fall out between Jeff and Duncan, as Jeff spontaneously finds himself attracted to Britta again. What follows are some fun jabs at Dane Cook, because well, he’s Dane Cook. Britta falls out with her old friends, realizing that they have traveled down separate paths in life and she finds herself unable to connect. Its wrapped up with fairly awkward flirting by Duncan and Britta commenting on his and Jeff’s friendship, leading them to reconnect over a bro’s night.
This plot just wasn’t anything special, the whole Jeff randomly having a thing for Britta again was just out of nowhere, and frankly uninteresting. If it had been played up as Jeff doing it to give Duncan the metaphorical kick in the pants he needed to talk to Britta, it might have been more interesting to see, but this just fell flat. The only thing that really saved it from just being flat out horrible, was the bit of Jeff and Duncan’s friendship. Their friendship was a fun part of their characters’ in seasons one and two, and with Duncan being MIA throughout seasons three and four, it was really nice to see that come back. But apart from that, this just felt like a filler. We could have some great character moments with Britta, build up what we saw of her in “Geothermal Escapism” but we got nothing. It seemed the whole plot with Britta was only there to set up for the last three minutes with Jeff and Duncan.
While this happening, Abed was back a Greendale building his classic Kick Puncher costume to wear to the premier of the reboot (it’s a crime they changed the costume, it really is) he stumbles upon Prof. Hickey, and sprays foam over his duck drawings. Hickey cuff’s him to a drawer, attempting to teach him a lesson about actions and consequences. Abed pretends to like the comics, in an effort to connect with Hickey so that he will let him go. This fails, and we see the two explode at each other, Abed stating that Hickey’s comics are lacking because he doesn’t draw on any of his own experiences in writing them, which is a valid point to make about anyone’s work, and storms off, only to return with a script for a cop drama he had written. Hickey agree’s to help Abed, using his own experience as an officer to help Abed with the nitty gritty details he is lacking, and the two bond.
Like with the Britta and Ian, this was a fairly uninteresting story. Hickey does raise a point about everyone walking around eggshells on Abed, due his various issues and such, but its not the greatest. These various quirks of Abed have been done before, and in better ways. Hickey’s entire argument falls short of the mark because nothing new is brought up. He tries to teach Abed a lesson, but ultimately fails to do so. Abed doesn’t learn a lesson so much as he recognizes some similar personality traits in Hickey, their shared desired to be recognized for their creativity. While not bad, it wasn’t anything special, it once again feels like its just the writers trying to fill the gap left by Troy, even shown by Abed’s mournful gaze at Troy’s empty chair in the study room. If they play this up in later episodes, expand on these two working together on this project, it could make for a fun subplot for the season, so finger’s crossed that happens.
Our final bit, Chang and the ghosts. Amusing, but not really much to talk about. He talks to “ghosts” and questions his own existence. It was good for a couple of laughs, but nothing more than that. Shirley and Annie pretty much nowhere to be found this episode, they had a few lines and then just disappeared, not really contributing to the episode save for a single joke about corporations and mindless drones, but lets be honest, those jokes have been done to death that this point.
Overall, not really the greatest episode we have seen. It was far from the worse, but also far from great. It seems that the show is still trying to figure out where it stands after the loss of Troy. I can only hope it finds it soon, because I don’t think we can survive to many more episodes like this one.
After a brief hiatus we rejoin our favorite crime fighting team in Starling City, its good to be back.
In our flashbacks this week, we don’t get much. Oliver and gang are trying to figure out how to get onto Ivo’s boat when they hear a plane overhead. An untimely missile brings the plane down and the pilot is left barely alive. Oliver and Slade go back to the base to get their first aid supplies while Sara stays with the mortally wounded pilot. This doesn’t really do much in terms of the overall plot of the season so far, basically it serves two purposes:
1) It provides a bit of setup for the future, will Oliver finding the parachute that they will use to get onto Ivo’s boat.
2) We get the reason behind Sara taking an interest in, and looking out for, Sin.
This I did like. While I don’t feel it was overly important to show just why Sara and Sin were friends/working together, it was nice to be given a reason, that of Sara fulfilling a dying father’s last wish to watch out for his daughter. It was sweet, and they didn’t waste to much time on it so it didn’t detract from the rest of the episode.
In the present, Sara is now a member of team Arrow, not the happiness of everyone involved. Felicity is questioning her usefulness to the team now that Sara has joined and that the bad guy of the week, the Clock King, has been trumping her in the computer department. More on him later. While Oliver and team race against the clock to stop the king, (sorry, couldn’t resist) Sara attempts to reconnect with her sister, and Thea is picking up on the tension between Oliver and Moira. As we progress along, Felicity more and more begins to question her role, and usefulness, to the team. Several times during the episode we see her getting shaken and distraught over how easily the Clock King blasts through her security systems, frying her entire system and leading Oliver and Sara on a wild goose chase. They set a trap to capture him, in the process Felicity puts herself in harms way, needing to use the computer at the bank to nab him. The King takes the bate, a fight ensues, and Felicity takes a bullet while saving Sara while at the same time sending a virus into his phone, causing it blow and render him unconscious. In the end, Felicity gets her own scar to show off, we get a pretty big step forward in Laurel and Sara’s relationship, and a bombshell is dropped; Slade, who Oliver thought was dead, is going into business with Moira. (cue dramatic music here)
So let’s take a look at things here, starting with Felicity. I really liked her in this episode. I was afraid that Oliver and Sara’s new relationship would lead to an ever so despised love triangle, but it hasn’t. At least not yet. Instead we see Felicity honestly worried that she is no longer needed on the team, and is honestly a little bit jealous of Sara, which makes sense. As she stated in season one when she first joined up, Felicity was not used to people being nice to her, that is why she joined up to help save Walter. In her time working with Oliver and Diggle she has become much more confident in herself and her abilities. She found a cause to devote herself to and found people that she cares about, who also care for her, and as they haven’t been at subtle about it, found someone she was beginning to develop feelings for. Then along comes Sara, who can connect with Oliver and Diggle over war stories in a way she can’t, is smart, strong, beautiful, and able to look after herself. Add this to the blow the Clock King dealt her by blazing through her security like it was wet tissue paper, and it is perfectly understandable that her confidence would be shaken. This could have gone badly for the show, but they made it work. Felicity didn’t get catty or act like an idiot over the whole thing, instead just showing her insecurities and worries over the new addition to the team. Sara was nothing but kind and supportive to Felicity, Diggle sees that she is upset and does his best to put her fears to rest, and in the end Oliver reassures of her place on the team, telling her that she will always be needed. For a show on a station whose target market is primarily teens, it is refreshing to see these characters actually acting like the mature adults they are supposed to be.
In their civilian lives, Sara is welcomed back with a party, a Queen family tradition apparently. For the most part this was a fairly unimpressive sub plot. Laurel is still being as annoying and unneeded as all hell. Staying in her apartment and drinking instead of going to her sister’s party and about to pop pills before a family dinner she organized herself. This comes to a head when she realizes that Sara and Oliver are together, she blows up, screams at everyone, and storms out. This scene here with her and Oliver was fantastic, his screaming at her, trying to get through to her, was amazing to watch. Even more so was his obvious frustration that she just would not accept help from anyone. As it turns out, Oliver did in fact get through to her, she apologizes to Sara and attends an AA meeting with her dad. While this isn’t enough to fully change my mind about her character, I still see her as mostly useless, at least it looks like they are trying to do something with her. Finger’s crossed they make her more interesting.
As for the villain this week, we actually get one from Green Arrow’s rogue gallery. Two villains had the title of Clock King, the second was a GA villain, nice to finally see them not having to resort to grabbing baddie from another heroes list of villains. Clock King was actually an enjoyable villain. We see him hesitant to cause any death at first, his first plot timed perfectly to avoid any deaths, only screwed up by his hired muscle. What really set him apart was the fact that everything he was doing wasn’t for himself. It was for sister. Clock King has a terminal disease, and before he dies is trying to get money to help his sister, to has her own medical issues. His rant at the end, that everything he did was for her, not for himself, was amazing. It showed a man desperate to help the only person in his life he cared for, and that he would do anything to help her. I liked this, it was amazing, and I hope that we can get some more of him in the future. It would be nice to see some more recurring villains in this show.
Overall, this was a pretty okay episode. It wasn’t anything fantastic, and definitely not the best of the season, but it was a good episode to welcome the show back with, and had some great character moments.