Thursday, April 3, 2014

Arrow 2-18: “Deathstroke”

Slade Wilson, everyone. Slade Wilson.

So Slade picks up Thea, who is heartbroken and morose after her breakup with Roy. Slade seems kindly and sympathetic at first, acting like everybody’s favorite uncle and telling her, “Heartbreak is something I know all too well.” Then he stops the car in a dark alley somewhere and orders her out. Shocked, Thea runs for it… and promptly gets nabbed by Sebastian Blood.

Total dick move, Slade. I approve.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Arrow 2-17: “Birds of Prey”

Best Arrow episode of the season. Nicely done, show.

During a raid to take down a dangerous crimelord, Quentin Lance ends up arresting fugitive Mafioso Frank Bertinelli, father of Oliver’s vengeful, mobster-slaughtering vigilante ex-girlfriend Helena (Jessica De Gouw), who is also known as the Huntress. Knowing Helena is still hell-bent on murdering her father, Oliver figures Frank’s arrest will draw her back to Starling City. Since Helena tends to leave a trail of death and destruction in her wake, Oliver is duly concerned about this.

Newly-sober Laurel is offered her old job back in the DA’s office. Assistant District Attorney Donner waves away the messy ongoing disbarment proceedings against her: “I got a buddy on the disciplinary committee.” Donner is not a very good ADA. Donner asks her to head up the prosecution on the Bertinelli trial, and while prosecuting her ex-boyfriend’s ex-girlfriend’s father sure seems like it’d be a conflict of interest, especially when you consider that Laurel personally knows Helena, this is Starling City. As no one had a problem with Laurel prosecuting her ex-boyfriend’s mom in a capital murder trial earlier this season, surely no one’s going to raise a stink about this.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Arrow 2–16: “Suicide Squad”

Huh. Arrow sure doesn’t know what to do with special guest stars, does it? Michael Jai White, Sean Maher, Ben Browder, I am a fan of all three of you gentlemen, and I was happy to see you all back… and then you were all left twiddling your thumbs on the sidelines. Sorry about that, guys. Maybe the next time they bring you back, you’ll get more to do. Except for you, Sean Maher, since I guess your brain exploded or whatever.

But I’m getting ahead of myself.

It’s a Diggle-centric episode. I like Digg, and he’s been a bit overlooked this season, so it was nice seeing him get a moment in the spotlight. Would it have been nicer if they’d given him a better episode? Egad, yes.

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Arrow 2-15: "The Promise"

So at the very end of last episode, Slade Wilson popped up in the Queen mansion, all handsome and menacing, charming Moira and horrifying Oliver. Great! Outstanding! There’s no possible way this storyline can go awry, right?

Right. All of the scenes set in the mansion are fantastic. They’re some of the most fun and gripping stuff this show has ever done. Top marks all around. Unfortunately, though, the vast bulk of this episode is devoted to the island flashbacks, and… well, some parts work better than others. Overall, it’s a strong episode, but the present-day scenes with Slade are so, so much more interesting than the draggy island crap.

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Arrow 2-14: “Time of Death”

Well. Let's dive into this overcooked mess of gluey instant oatmeal that The CW is trying to pass off as an Arrow episode, shall we?

The villain du jour is William Tockman (Robert Knepper), a criminal mastermind with a clock fetish who orchestrates high-profile robberies with clockwork precision; he’s the type of baddie who quotes War and Peace for gravitas and stabs insubordinate henchmen with novelty-sized clock hands. I'm always happy to see Knepper—I dug the sordid brand of villainy he brought to Prison Break—but his appearance on a show is never the mark of quality. He played a villain on an alarmingly ghastly episode of Criminal Minds, he played a villain on an alarmingly ghastly season of Heroes, and here... well, it's certainly not the worst-ever episode of Arrow, but it sure isn’t good. This continues Arrow’s hot streak of squandering name actors in crummy one-shot villain roles; I’m thinking of Battlestar Galactica’s James Callis, Farscape’s Ben Browder, and Firefly’s Sean Maher, to name just a few. Arrow’s overarching plots are always strong (there is no Sebastian Blood in this episode, and his presence is sorely missed), but the show tends to give its standalone stories a lick and a promise.

Friday, February 14, 2014

G.I. Joe: “The Gamemaster”

Just in case anyone’s trying to make sense of all the pieces I’ve been posting here lately, there’s no cohesive theme, unless it’s all under a nebulous umbrella of “Random Crap I Like.” Ergo, today we’ve got a recap of a 1985 episode of the syndicated G.I. Joe cartoon.

Not just any episode, though: “The Gamemaster” is probably the very best G.I. Joe episode, though I’m willing to hear arguments in support of “Skeletons in the Closet”, in which a negligee-clad Lady Jaye storms around her haunted Scottish castle wielding a golf club while hunting ghosts before getting offered up by a Druidic cult as a sacrifice to the multi-tentacled alien creature living in her basement. Oh, and she discovers Destro is her cousin or something. It’s an amazing episode. Still, I give a slight edge to “The Gamemaster” because the Joes and Cobra end up setting aside their differences and working together against a common enemy and, gosh darn it, I’m a sucker for that sort of thing.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Firstborn

Aside from those pesky Arrow recaps, there’s been nothing but reviews of old Christopher Collet-Corey Haim movies around these parts lately. Weird, right?

Reviewing Prayer of the Rollerboys last month got me thinking about Michael Apted’s tense family drama Firstborn (1984), which, like Rollerboys, also stars Collet and Haim. Tense family dramas weren’t my genre of choice in 1984 (I was ten; Ghostbusters and The Karate Kid were more my speed. Come to think of it, Ghostbusters and The Karate Kid are still more my speed), but I remembered liking Firstborn anyway. So I took another look to see how it holds up.