Friday, November 20, 2015

Supergirl Season 1 Episode 4 "Livewire" - Recap and Review

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This episode (“Livewire”) was originally intended to be the fifth episode as well as a Thanksgiving special. But due to the horrific attacks on Paris, the network/producers decided to swap this episode with the initially planned fourth episode (“How Does She Do It?”).

As the episode title indicates, the focus of the episode is on the supervillain of the same name. Leslie Willis (Brit Morgan) is a CatCo employee, who likes to spout venom against Supergirl (Melissa Benoist) on air. Her attacks get so personal that even Cat Grant (Calista Flockhart) has had enough.

Cat reassigns Leslie to a field job. As luck would have it, bad weather strikes. Despite Supergirl's best efforts, Leslie is hit by a lightning and is transformed into Livewire.

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Livewire has the powers to transport herself through anything that runs on electricity. She can also manipulate electricity and fire electric blasts. Her one and only target remains her employer, Cat Grant.

Supergirl manages to save Cat from Livewire's first murderous attempt.

The other subplot involves the visit of Kara's foster mother, Eliza Danvers (Helen Slater). Alex Danvers (Chyler Leigh) is a bit nervous and Kara does her best to calm her sister down. Alex is apprehensive that Eliza might not like the fact that Kara has revealed her superpowers to the world.

The Danvers have a guest at the Thanksgiving dinnerWinn Schott (Jeremy Jordan). Winn becomes the unsuspecting witness to the family argument that erupts when Alex reveals herself to be working for the DEO.

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Cat Grant decides to take Supergirl's help in taking down Livewire. They lay a trap and even though, it looks like the supervillain might eventually prevail, Supergirl again resorts to using brain over brawn to defeat her opponent.

Eliza finally reveals the reason for her fears about both Kara and Alex working for Hank Henshaw (David Harewood). It seems  that years earlier, Hank approached the Danvers with the intention of studying Kara's biology, since the Man of Steel has refused to work with the DEO.

To protect his adopted daughter's privacy, Jeremiah Danvers (Dean Cain) volunteers to share with the DEO, all the information he has collected about Superman as part of his research. Jeremiah ostensibly died in a plane crash, while working for Hank. But Eliza has her suspicions about the real causes of her husband's death and believes that Hank had a part in it.

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In the closing scene, Kara and Alex decide to keep an eye on their DEO boss, Hank. Nice try: I still believe he is Martian Manhunter.

Not much to write on the acting front. Helen Slater and Chyler Leigh spend most of their time busy being at each other's throats. Jeremy Jordan's Winn does his usual unrequited pining for Kara. Only difference is: he does this at the Danvers' apartment. Interestingly, neither Eliza or Alex notice this.

Newcomer, Brit Morgan is adequate as the foul-mouthed Leslie and later the villainous Livewire.

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Only Calista Flockhart manages to breath some life into the episode as the irrepressible and witty Cat Grant.

Interestingly, there was a similar episode with the same name in the critically acclaimed Superman: The Animated Series. The plot was similar too: Leslie airs her rants against the Man of Steel and becomes Livewire, despite Superman's efforts to rescue her from a lightning strike.

Compared to the previous fun-filled episodes, this one was a bit downer. The emphasis on the Danvers family drama was a bit overwhelming. Hopefully, the next episode will be more light-hearted.

There was however one major drawback in the episode: Kara uses her heat vision to heat up the Turkey for the Thanksgiving dinner. As a firm believer in Animal Rights, this scene was an eyesore. Why would anyone want to express their thanks by eating a dead bird is beyond me.

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Image Sources: Berlanti Productions, Warner Bros. Television, Columbia Broadcasting System (CBS)

Friday, November 13, 2015

The Flash Season 2 Episode 6 "Enter Zoom" - Recap and Review

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Barry Allen/Flash (Grant Gustin) decides to take on Zoom (voiced by Tony Todd) to prevent further civilian casualties. The other Flash, Jay Garrick (Teddy Sears) strongly advises against this. He believes that Barry (like Jay) is no match for Zoom. When Flash refuses to take his advice, Jay takes leave from S.T.A.R. Labs.

If there is one person who whole-heartedly supports Flash's plan, it is the alternate Earth's Harrison Wells (Tom Cavanagh). The other members, including Iris West (Candice Patton) hatch up a plan to have Linda Park (Malese Jow) pose as the villainous (and currently subdued) Dr Light. The endgame is to trick Zoom and have Flash capture him.

Detective Joe West (Jesse L. Martin) has reservations and is of the opinion that Flash wants to kill this alternate version of Reverse Flash, since it was Ronnie Raymond (Robbie Amell) who took care of this Earth's version of Reverse Flash.

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A subplot involves Cisco Ramon/Vibe(Carlos Valdes) using his newly found superpowers to find out if Harrison Wells is hiding any secrets from the team. After failing initially, Vibe's persistence finally pays off. He reads Wells' thoughts and sees his daughter, Jesse Wells (Violett Beane) being held as hostage by Zoom.

In the mean time, Flash and the the gang train Linda Park to act as Dr Light. She uses a gadget (developed by Cisco) to simulate the supervillain's superpowers. This training montage came off as a bit childish.

When they finally act out their encounter, Zoom does not turn up. Joe advises the disappointed Barry to focus on things that make him happy. Barry knows exactly what that means and heads right away to meet Patty Spivot (Shantel VanSanten).

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Zoom is no slouch either. He kidnaps Linda and arrives at S.T.A.R. Labs. Barry suits up and saves Linda. But Zoom proves to be way too fast even for the Flash (just as Jay had predicted). Despite being outmatched, Barry tries to outwit Zoom, but fails.

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Zoom beats up Barry good and then parades the beaten hero before the local cops and the media. Finally, he takes Barry to S.T.A.R. Labs and is about to finish him off. Cisco manages to land a hit at the distracted Zoom, who still takes off and escapes.

As Barry regains his consciousness, he realizes that he cannot feel his legs any more.

This was an OK episode. As I had mentioned earlier, the scenes featuring Malese Jow's Linda Park were boring. On the other hand, Zoom completely stole each scene he was in. Voiced by Tony Todd, he is a very compelling villain. Kudos to the casting director for this inspired choice. Tony Todd brings his full weight and experience to the role and what a difference it makes. A very inspired casting choice...

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The rest of the cast are adequate in their performances. Carlos Valdes gets a lot of screen time as he gets to practice his powers on Dr Wells. But they could have avoided having Cisco and Caitlin discussing about Wells well within his earshot. That was pretty amateurish.

In the review of the previous episode, I had remarked that Cisco Ramon had become the equivalent of Professor Charles Xavier's Cerebro due to his ability to locate meta-humans. This episode brings that comparison even more relevant by making Barry himself the equivalent of Charles Xavier due to his current physical predicament.

Recommended watch to fans of The Flash/DC Comics.

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Image Sources: Berlanti Productions, DC Entertainment, Warner Bros. Television, The CW Television Network