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Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Revolution 1x6 - "Sex and Drugs"

Two weeks ago, I thought Revolution turned a corner, but I guess that corner lead to What The Fuck Is This Boulevard?

To save Nora's life from her stabbing by Frank Lapidus in the train episode, Miles takes her and the group to the home of a heroin dealer named Drexel, played by The Worst Actor Yet In Revolution And That's Saying Something. The teasers for the episode made it seem like he would Indecent Proposal Charlie since he oogles her up and down, but no, the Proposal was less Indecent and more Insipid: He wanted Charlie to pretend to be one of his prostitutes and go to his Irish arch enemies' house and kill the head Irishman, Bill O'Halloran, via, his specific orders, stabbing in the eye with a blade inside a chopstick.

Drexel calls the Irish a bunch of "potato-eating leprechauns." Begorrah!

To my (un)trained(?) eye, the girl getting in and out of the bathtub was a body double for Tracy Spiridakos.

The moral quandry by Aaron Google Beard Man was that Charlie can't murder an innocent man in cold blood. Well, who says he's innocent? All he did was burn Drexel's poppy fields, whereas Drexel is clearly an unbalanced asshole with armed guards holding them hostage and blackmailing them. But Charlie says she'll do it anyway because she has no choice. Then Drexel, in the spirit of authenticity since he's known to "rough up his girls", hauls off and BITCH SLAPS Charlie in the LOL Moment of the series so far. Then Charlie, wearing a sexy hooker dress and heels, goes to go murder.

But oops, Drexel neglected to mention if Charlie murders Bill O'Halloran, she will surely be murdered in return by the Irish. Miles somehow didn't reason that out, what with how sloppy and nonsensical the plan was to begin with. Aaron then moralizes to Miles, who decides he has to leave Nora under Aaron's protection after all and go save his niece from murdering and being murdered in return. To do this, Miles must murder his way out of Drexel's mansion.

Charlie nearly screws up her murder of Bill O'Halloran but just when she tearfully is about to commit the murder, Miles stays her hand. No murder! And because there was no murder, somehow, Charlie and Miles were able to leave the Irish compound scot free without being pursued or anything.

Nora must have been awfully confused when after being unconscious from septic shock, she awakens via shot of adrenaline to find herself in the backyard of a mansion surrounded by men with torches and rifles and facing Aaron, whom she must duel with guns to the death. Aaron shoots himself in the chest, feints being dead, then shoots Drexel dead via murder. And somehow, all of Drexel's men were cool about this. I mean, real chill. "Get your crap and get out" chill.

Flashbacks involve Aaron Google Man and his Asian Trophy Wife. In the months after the Blackout, Aaron realized as a wealthy Google Man, he has no helpful skills to keep himself or his wife safe in this savage new world. Thus, he leaves her in the woods. This is tragic, or something. Aaron, by the way, had a different pair of glasses when the Blackout hit, had no glasses in the 8 months after the Blackout, and now has an entirely new pair of glasses. Somewhere after ditching his wife, he must have stumbled upon a Lenscrafters.

Finally, Danny is reunited with his mom Rachel, under Monroe's protection. Hug it out.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Cloud Atlas



"Our lives are connected."

Yeah, no shit. In Cloud Atlas, three writer-directors, brother and sister duo Lana and Andy Wachowski (The Matrix Trilogy) and Tom Tykwer (Run, Lola, Run), spend an interminable 172 minutes beating that idea into us. Encompassing a half dozen interconnected realities taking place in the past, present and future, from 1849 to 1973, today in 2012, and "109 Years After The Fall" in the far, far future and on another planet, Cloud Atlas bakes six cakes and wants to eat them all too. 

Remember in Coming to America when Eddie Murphy played multiple characters while wearing prosthetics and everyone in the 80's was like "Whoa! That was all Eddie Murphy? Even the old Jewish man in the barber shop?!" The Wachowskis-Tykwer go completely apeshit with that idea, disguising their cast - Tom Hanks, Halle Berry, Jim Broadbent, Jim Sturgess, Ben Whishaw, Doona Bae, Susan Sarandon, Hugh Grant, Hugo Weaving - in every type of prosthetic this side of Jim Henson's Creature Shop to play multiple characters of multiple genders and races speaking multiple accents. Look at how many characters they each play. To some, this is probably mind-blowing. Or rather, completely bewildering. Half the actors are given slanty-eyed prosthetics to become Asian in the "Neo-Seoul" future reality. (The Caucasian actors made up to be Asian always have narrower eyes than the actual Asian actors). Berry, and more laughably, Bae, are made up to be Caucasian, and most hilarious of all is Weaving made up to be Asian and a woman, convincingly looking like neither. Hanks gets to be all manner of races and affects cockney and Scottish accents, along with a bizarre future speak language with Berry that sounds like music to Jar Jar Binks' ears. 

Cloud Atlas is an excruciating endurance test. It's a decathelon of several films in one; a 19th century Patrick O'Brian-like nautical tale, a 70's detective yarn, a British music murder drama, kind of a riff on Sucker Punch but with old people busting out of a nursing home, and two different types of sci-fi future action adventures, one like Blade Runner and the other like the far future section of H.G. Wells' The Time Machine. They're all connected somehow, vaguely, though the characters in each are not necessarily related to each other as descendants, except sometimes they are. Some characters from the different eras cross paths, some don't, and occasionally Hanks will interject with some sorely needed voice over to hammer home the grand theme of interconnectedness and underline whatever the plot is supposed to be. There's always something to look at; most of the time it's bizarre. About ninety minutes in, Cloud Atlas starts piling on the action scenes - laser gun battles, shoot outs on the streets of San Francisco, bloody sword fights in the woods - so there's always stuff happening, whatever it might be.

What's it all about? I haven't the vaguest idea, besides it's all connected and we're all connected and Tom Hanks speaks with a lot of funny accents. There's a subplot about a piece of music called the "Cloud Atlas Sextext" that's important to some characters, but not to others, or us. The characters who hear it remark how beautiful the music is; it sounds all right, but we'll take their word for it, sure, why not? Cloud Atlas is a funny wig, false face, goofy accent parade with lots of big themes and profound messages, and all the time in the world, according to the three directors, to pound it all into us. In six alternate lives, I walked out on Cloud Atlas, but in this one, I sat through the whole thing. It's all connected, I suppose.

Friday, October 26, 2012




"Shall we stop this bleeding?"

Steven Spielberg's stately, elegant Lincoln arrives at an opportune time, showing our current deeply divided country a United States even more deeply divided by four years of Civil War and torn apart by slavery and the Emancipation of African-Americans. The more things change, the more they stay the same. Based in part on the book "Team of Rivals" by Doris Kearns Goodman, Lincoln is primarily concerned with the month of January 1865, the beginning of Abraham Lincoln's second term in office as President of the United States and his efforts to pass the 13th Amendment to free the slaves and simultaneously end the Civil War. 

Daniel Day-Lewis doesn't so much portray Abraham Lincoln as possess the idea of him and then find the nuances that make him human as opposed to the stuff of history book legend. We first meet Lincoln on the battlefield of Gettysburg, kindly speaking to black and white Union soldiers who amusingly repeat the Gettysburg Address to him word for word. By 1865, Lincoln is weathered, "aged ten years in the last year" observes Ulysses S. Grant (Jared Harris). The President, though "beloved by the people", is weary of war, of the squabbles of his Cabinet, of his domestic problems; usually he's found wrapped in a cloak in some corner of the White House, drinking coffee from a tin cup and relating amusing stories to whomever is listening which end up being brilliant parables. But Lincoln is also cunning and shrewd, capable of bending the laws as he sees fit and just; Day-Lewis delivers a mesmerizing monologue on Lincoln's justification for the Emancipation Proclamation and how Lincoln reconciled what exactly he saw his war powers to be as Commander in Chief. On the rare occasion Lincoln loses his temper to make a point, it's like thunder jolting from the skies. Day-Lewis' Lincoln has a sheen of perfection to him, but there's grit underneath, and his true feelings about slavery are held very closely to his vest, seeping out ever so slightly in a conversation he has with the White House's black housekeeper. 

In part a 19th century political thriller, Lincoln is filled to the brim of a stovetop hat with the machinations, legal and underhanded, the President, his Secretary of State William Seward (David Strathairn), and Rep. Thaddeus Stevens (Tommy Lee Jones) utilized to procure the necessary votes to pass the 13th Amendment in the House of Representatives. Meanwhile, the broken, beaten Confederate states send their Vice President Alexander Stephens (Jackie Earle Haley) and a contingent to sue for peace, which in itself proves a political liability for Lincoln's plans to pass the 13th Amendment. Lincoln also spotlights the difficulties of Lincoln's marriage with his grieving wife Mary Todd Lincoln (Sally Field), and his surviving sons Robert (Joseph Gordon-Levitt), who insists on abandoning a career in law to join the Union Army, and youngest son Tad (Gulliver McGrath), who always seems to be underfoot as important matters of state are decided in Lincoln's crowded, hectic White House. There are electric scenes of squabble in the House of Representatives as politicians debate ending slavery and put the Amendment to a vote with the kind of creative name calling and insults that would send our modern cable news culture into an endless tizzy.

Lincoln is a thoughtful, powerful crowd-pleaser with only a few fleeting moments of rousing lift. Overall, it's as even-handed and comforting as its namesake. The overwhelming impression Spielberg and Day-Lewis leave with Lincoln is of a kind, intelligent, flawed, but forward-thinking leader. Abraham Lincoln possessed, in one word to sum him up, wisdom, a quality sorely missing, both then and today, in the majority of elected officials, if not the American people. Lincoln managed to reshape the United States for all time and for the better by sheer force of will and paid for it with his life; his assassination occurs, mercifully, off screen*, though we see him on his deathbed ("7:22am, April 15th. The President is no more.") Lincoln's last words in the film are "Well, it's time to go. But I wish I could stay." We do too, Mr. President. We do too.** There goes the best President we ever had.

* There is a moment towards the end where Lincoln could segueway right into Batman Begins. Frankly, Tad Lincoln could have become the Dark Knight, if he'd thought to do so.

** Does Abraham Lincoln have no living descendants? Is there no Lincoln DNA in the world? That's sad.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Arrow 1x3 - "Lone Gunmen"

Arrow is not messing around. To their credit, they are not dangling and bemoaning their plot threads. It's only the third episode and Arrow has dropped two big reveals on top of a major DC Comics villain guest starring and name dropping some other DC staples for the fanboys.

The reveals:

Thea, drunk at a bar, outs Merlyn and Laurel as "screwing around" in front of Oliver. Oliver was non-plussed, leading Laurel to guess that he already knew. But this opened the door for Merlyn to try a relationship with Laurel for real, which is a fine subplot for those two as it keeps a direct romantic complication out of these early weeks of Oliver's holy mission as Arrow, keeping him focused on his do-goodery.

Even bigger, when Oliver's bodyguard John Diggle is shot by Deadshot's poisoned bullets, Arrow takes him to his Arrow Cave to heal him, and then Oliver reveals he's the Arrow. "Hey." This was great. Diggle was already onto him and it gives Oliver a guy he can trust, a sidekick of sorts, since neither Speedy nor Black Canary are anywhere near being ready to become Speedy or Black Canary.

Then there's Deadshot (real name Floyd Lawton), complete with eye scope and wrist machine guns. Arrow vs. Deadshot is the second DC Comics super fight Arrow has presented in three episodes, and it ended in brutal fashion - arrow in the eye. Deadshot also called Arrow out on his having taken lives, but Arrow's justification is he does it to protect the innocent, not as a mercenary. Batman would take issue either way. If there's a Batman in this universe. But why wouldn't there be because...

In the Arrow Universe, there's Big Belly Burger, where Diggle's rather hot sister in law works, and more importantly there's Markovia, shouted out by Oliver himself.

Oliver has plans to build a nightclub over his underground Arrow Cave in the Queen Industrial plant, to give himself a cover of where he spends his nights as a philandering playboy. This prompted the funniest line of the night, when Tommy said if he called his club "Queen's", he'd attract a different clientele than what he'd expect. (Tommy's other funny was his threat to some thugs, "You're gonna have to go through me! ..I think they're gonna go through me!") Also note Laurel saved both Oliver and Tommy from getting beaten up.

Also important: Arrow reached out to Detective Lance and asked for his help to protect people from Deadshot, realizing he couldn't do it alone. It's not quite the chummy relationship Batman has with Jim Gordon, but it's a start.

Flashbacks to the Island saw Oliver meet the man who shot him in the chest with an arrow, who's basically the Chinese Green Arrow. There seem to be a ton of black ninja commandos on this "deserted island", and they even caught Oliver in one of those nets the Ewoks use.

Finally, I really like Thea. She's something I've never seen in a superhero show before, a deeply troubled, drunk this week, younger sibling to a superhero. Willa Holland is terrific. At the clip this show is moving, turning Thea into Speedy before the end of the season may not be out of the question. My money is on Thea becoming Speedy before Laurel becomes Black Canary.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Superman #13

Well, this is the new creative direction for Superman with Scott Lobdell writing and Kenneth Rocafort leaving Red Hood and the Outlaws to illustrate Superman.

You may have heard Clark quit the Daily Planet. It's meant as a Jerry Maguire/Aaron Sorkin The Newsroom-esque indictment of the falling standards of the Daily Planet, but it comes off as soft because we haven't really seen these falling standards in the Superman books or anywhere in the DC Universe, so we're left to take Clark's word for it.

Speaking of Clark's words, Lobdell loves thought balloons. Which is fine, thought balloons are a tried and true staple of comic books. But it occurs to me, with all the thinkin' Superman does, it's because Superman is a weird cat with no friends. Of course he's always thinking and talking to himself.

This current Superman is strategically cut off from his supporting cast as a result of the DC mandate of doing stuff differently. The Kents are dead. Superman doesn't really hang out with his roommate Jimmy Olsen, whom he catches having sex in his shower with some woman. Superman doesn't have a relationship or even a friendship with Lois Lane, whom he apparently has the hots for. Clark even does a creepy Superman Returns-esque Supervision reading of her texts, despite the fact that he also has... something... going on with Wonder Woman. Even his Super family doesn't like him - Supergirl shows up accusing him of something and they've never gotten along since they met in The New 52. Superman also says half the world thinks he's a savior, the other half thinks he's the front line of an alien invasion.

It seems like no one really likes Superman all that much. He doesn't hang out with the Justice League, he doesn't have that buddy-buddy thing with Batman. Superman's only friend in the issue is a strange female scientist we've never heard of named Dr. Veritas who has a lab in the center of the Earth. Superman even says she is the only person he trusts. It's bizarre.

So, you know, speaking of Bizarre, maybe... DC should start over yet again, say the last 13 months of Superman was really a new Bizarro all along, and bring back, you know... SUPERMAN... the way people really like him... in time for Man of Steel hitting theaters next summer.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Marvel Foreign Policy

Say what you will regarding the third Presidential Debate between President Barack Obama and Governor Mitt Romney, but they tackled an impressive number of topics regarding foreign policy in the Marvel Universe.

Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter



American history according to Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter: The Civil War was fought over slavery because the vampires, living in the South, wanted to keep the slaves as their primary food source. (Too difficult to feed on free blacks?) Jefferson Davis himself was in cahoots with the vampires (Jefferson Davis: Vampire Conspirator) and asked their king, Rufus Sewell, to have the vampires fight the Battle of Gettysburg  for the Confederate Army. The Civil War was not just fought by brother against brother, but by human against vampire, the vampires secretly fighting to overthrow the Union and create their own vampire nation. Your history books are wrong. Also, better, much better than this fake vampire history. Sewell does monologue that as a vampire living for five thousand years, he's seen Jews, Christians, and Negros enslaved, so really, everyone's a slave to someone. The vampires in this movie are slaves to fashionable sunglasses.

Portraying Abraham Lincoln as a vampire hunting young man and then, in old man makeup, as the 50 year old vampire hunting 16th President, Benjamin Walker is the spitting image of a babyfaced Liam Neeson. Lincoln's life is devoted to avenging the death of his mother by a vampire (Martin Csokas) and his vampire hunting skills are honed by his vampire mentor Dominic Cooper. Cooper personally tells Lincoln which vampires to kill and when. Later, after Lincoln has killed a significant number of his brethren, Sewell asks Lincoln to work for him to kill Cooper instead. Either way, Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter is really Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Employee. Lincoln's vampire hunting exploits are later joined by his black childhood friend Anthonie Mackie and his first (human) boss when he was a shopkeeper, Jimmi Simpson, all of whom, including Cooper, follow him to the White House and become his Cabinet. Lincoln also romances Mary Todd (Mary Elizabeth Winstead), the Michelle Obama of her day. 

Though possessing no actual superpowers, Lincoln nevertheless possesses superpowers, exhibiting the ability to slow-motion chop vampires to pieces with his trusty axe, its blade lined with silver, the vampires' only weakness. Lincoln never asks a vampire if he can axe him a question and then axes him, though. Lincoln can also perform other utterly ridiculous feats like survive a horse tossed at him by a vampire and then mount said horse in one motion, run across the backs of stampeding horses, and leap across trains over a flaming bridge. The vampires look tough with their enormous, saliva-spitting mouths full of dagger-like fangs, but they sure are easy to kill when they charge in black-ninja style. Even Sewell went out without much fuss, which was a huge letdown. By the time Lincoln has equipped the Union army with silver weapons in the Battle of Gettysburg, the whole Union Army becomes Abraham Lincoln's Vampire Hunters. Sadly, Lincoln still goes down to a bullet to the noggin from John Wilkes Booth. The movie never says if Booth is working for vampires or not.

One thing Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter brings to mind: Buffy the Vampire Slayer sure did luck out that when she kills vampires, they just turn to dust. No bodies to bury. Lincoln, to his chagrin, spends just as much if not more time burying vampire corpses than he does killing vampires. Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Burier.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Star Wars Was Meant For Children

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Batwoman #13

Batwoman #13 is amazing! 

This is part 2 of "World's Finest", the team up of Batwoman and Wonder Woman, as they travel to the Greek Myth version of Arkham Asylum and face Greek monsters while searching for Medusa. Batwoman #13 is proof a team up book of the Women Bat and Wonder by this creative team, J.H. Williams III and W. Haden Blackman, ought to be a regular thing. 

The artwork by Williams  is unbelievable. There's a two page spread of Batwoman and Wonder Woman going through a maze shaped like her Bat symbol littered with the corpses of Amazons and monsters that I would hang on my wall. I mean, look at this:

The character beats between Diana and Kate Kane are fascinating, as they get to know, evaluate, anticipate, and slowly try to trust one another. I also really like everything going on in this two page spread:

Batwoman and Wonder Woman are both warriors, two of the best in their fields, regardless of gender. Gender is never an issue. Their competence is never an issue. They both kick ass, can do what needs to be done, are fearless, ready for anything, can beat anything or anyone. (Just like the man in the Bat costume and the Amazon's current alien boyfriend when they tag up.)

There was a lot of Wonder Woman in DC Comics' output this week. She was in Justice League, Batwoman, and in her own book, but I liked her with Batwoman the best of the three, which is saying something considering how good her own book is. 

Guys, I'm in love with Batwoman. It's serious. And Batwoman and Wonder Woman should take this show on the road permanently.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Arrow 1x2 - "Honor Thy Father"

I like Arrow. I really do. Having said that:

Oh, hi, Christopher Nolan! Here's how we're homaging you this week. Well, let's start by calling the division of Queen Industrials Oliver's mother and stepfather want him to inherit leadership of the Robert Queen Applied Sciences Center. Oliver plays the drunkard and rejects the idea he can be a corporate officer (he is right to point out he has no MBA) by doing the best impersonation of Christian Bale playing drunk at Bruce Wayne's birthday party in Batman Begins. He didn't let his mansion burn down but he did figuratively burn a bridge.

Oh, hi, Bryan Singer. We like your X-Men movies too. So much that Arrow brought in Kelly Hu, who was Deathstrike in X2, to play China White, wearing Storm's white wig from X-Men 1. We got our first superhero vs. super villain slugfest in Arrow, but it was brief and inconclusive.

I liked the scenes with Oliver and Thea, where she discovered all the scars on his body and then took him to see his own grave. I can't wait until Speedy becomes Oliver's sidekick.

Even better is Oliver's relationship with his bodyguard, the only guy who can see through the bullshit act Oliver puts on for his mother and the public and sees there's more to Oliver Queen than meets the eye. He's a hell of a marksman, for one. They also dealt with the embarrassment of all the times he's lost Oliver. However, they really laid it on thick with his "three tours in Afghanistan" story. We get it, you were in Afghanistan.

Laurel and Oliver eat ice cream. Laurel and Oliver reconcile. Laurel nearly gets assassinated in her apartment. I like the greasy burnout cop her dad is.

Overall though, a lot of elements feel disjointed. There are tons of balls in the air with all the characters and Arrow bats them around and keeps them aloft. Other than Oliver's best friend and secretly Laurel's boyfriend, we don't yet have a clue how Tommy Merlyn fits into all of this Hamlet drama at the Queen Mansion.

Still, this show has potential and the means to realize it. Plus, you know, ten seasons to do so.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012



"It's the best bad idea we have, sir. By far."


Argo should come with a seal: Ben's Best. His third feature film as a director, Ben Affleck knocks Argo out of the proverbial ballpark, delivering his best movie yet. Set in the days of the Iran Hostage Crisis circa 1979-1980, Argo is a smart, scintillating, crowd-pleaser; it's one of the finest examples of highest quality Hollywood-style docu-drama-thriller filmmaking in many moons. Opening with a savvy info dump on the political situation in Iran in 1979 and the US' role in Iranian hostilities, the immersive Argo ratchets up the tension right away as the US Embassy is under siege by Iranian protestors. Most of the Americans are taken as hostages but six Embassy workers (played by Tate Donovan, Clea DuVall, Rory Cochrane, Scoot McNairy, Kerry Bishe, and Christopher Denham) manage to escape and secretly seek asylum as "houseguests" of the Canadian Ambassador (Victor Garber).

The CIA decides to find a way to smuggle those six to the US, but can't agree on a bad idea to accomplish this impossible feat until a bearded, hangdog, somnambular Affleck, playing an "exfiltration" specialist named Tony Mendez (field name "Kevin Harkin"), comes up with a doozy of a plan: pose the six hostages as a Canadian film crew scouting locations in Iran and get them out on a commercial flight. Argo then shifts to a hilarious send up of Hollywood movie making as Affleck recruits producers John Goodman and Alan Arkin to help him create the cover of a fake movie to fake-scout in Iran.

They choose "Argo", an unproduced B-level science fiction screenplay that they sell to the media with a script readthrough complete with C-movie actors in costumes (actual get ups from real life sci-fi hilarities of that era like Flash Gordon and Buck Rogers in the 25 Century are worn in Argo). The Hollywood sequences, depicting Burbank and Los Angeles of 1980 complete with a ravaged, pre-restoration Hollywood sign, inject gleeful one-liners (the catchphrase "Argo fuck yourself" is coined by Arkin) and a welcome dose of levity, several spoonfuls of sugar before the action returns to the tension in Iran.

Once in Iran, Affleck has the expected trouble getting the six frightened Embassy workers to go along with their new covers of being Canadian filmmakers. It's a steep learning curve of only a couple of days; Scoot McNairy's character is especially terrified of getting caught and mistrustful of Affleck. ("Is Kevin Harkin your real name?" "No.") Time's running out, though, as the Iranian government concurrently realizes six names are missing from the hostages being held in the US Embassy, and Garber's own housekeeper figures out her employer's house guests are not who they say they are. With the screws tightening and the Jimmy Carter administration deciding to abort the mission, against the protests of Affleck's supervisor Bryan Cranston, Affleck gives himself the go-ahead to see his desperate gambit through.

Though the outcome is history and never in doubt, it's a testament to the razor-sharp screenplay by Chris Terrio and Affleck's blossomed skills as a filmmaker how Argo mounts an intense, pulse-pounding third act where he and his team barely escape capture by the Iranian death squads by the skin of their teeth - right down the heretofore resistant McNairy shocking everyone by expertly pulling off his cover and fooling the police detaining them, to the very-last-second getaway of their plane lifting off while being chased by police cars and army keeps down the airport runway.

Argo is especially and rightfully proud of its persuasive, flawless production design, recreating life in the US and Iran over thirty years ago with startling verisimilitude. Argo even presents side by side photographs of the real people and the brilliantly cast actors portraying them over the closing credits, boastfully showing off its uncanny, sure to be Oscar-nominated accuracy in casting and hair, makeup, and costume design. (Ben Affleck exempts himself from photographic comparison to the real Tony Mendez.) Argo is easily one of the most enjoyable and finest motion pictures of 2012. Frankly, if you don't like Argo, you can Argo fuck yourself.

Revolution 1x5 - "Soul Train"

Best episode of Revolution yet. It took them five weeks to put the pieces together and deliver something that showcases this show's potential as an action adventure series, but this was Revolution's coming out party. The episode worked like gangbusters. And it was all about the train.

The steam train appropriated by the Monroe Militia brought all the show's various threads together. Finally, Miles, Charlie, Danny, and Neville were all in the same place, the town of Nobleton, and had long-awaited encounters that delivered. Charlie meeting Neville for the first time, feigning being a normal girl spying on her cheating boyfriend, and then blowing her cover only to be saved by Miles was good stuff. Giancarlo Esposito is by far the best actor on this show, but in their pivotal confrontation, Tracy Spiridakos held her own against him. This is without a doubt her best performance as Charlie, tough, physical, emotional, determined. She's quickly growing as a worthy lead of the show.

The conflict between Charlie and Miles continued over just who's running this popsicle stand. Miles didn't want to sit around moping after the group buried Maggie, Charlie searched for something recognizable in the uncle she remembered as a child, and together, they Batman and Batgirled an operation to stop a steam train from blowing up and rescue Danny from Neville. They accomplished half the goal; they couldn't save Danny. The eyebrow-raiser is Charlie asserting herself at the end clearly as the leader of this group. She told the fat Goggle guy, the rebel who was stabbed, and her quitter of an uncle to man the fuck up. It almost seemed like they left Miles behind when Charlie marched the group out. You know you have some flaws as a leader when the 20 year old girl usurps all your authority.

The violence and physicality on the show also ramped up significantly and was more brutal. Nora got stabbed by Special Lost Guest Star Jeff (Frank Lapidus) Fahey, a member of the Resistance who wanted to blow up the train to cripple the Monroe government, when she tried to stop him. (The bomb would have killed Danny, being transported to Philadelphia straight to Monroe.) We had knife fights, people being beaten to death with fists, Charlie being nearly choked to death by Neville, and Charlie being thrown off the train. (She's fine, she protected her head as instructed.)

Best of all was this week's Flashback, the secret origin of Tom Neville, who was fired from his insurance job on the day of the Blackout. Neville is married to Kim Raver of 24(!), and we learned the Militia member who was the prisoner of Charlie's group and has the hots for her (understandable), whom Miles named "Nipples" this week, is really Jason Neville, Tom's grown son. Jason escaped captivity and wasted no time in joining his father, but he still saved Charlie's life so his father couldn't kill her. He threw her off the train, but that was the lesser of two evils.

Finally, even the most drudging subplot, Rachel Matheson as the prisoner of Monroe, got some forward movement: Rachel drew him a picture of the locket that can turn the power back on and revealed there are twelve of them! They should call the lockets Horcruxes and send Charlie on a Harry Potter quest to find the other eleven.

We also learned the Atlanta Federation is making strides against the Monroe Republic. Revolution seems to be civil war reenactors playing a game of real life Risk with the former United States of America.

We Are Suh-Smart! We Are Suh-Smart!

Last night, my friends Lance, Jeff, Katie and I competed in The Simpsons Trivia. We played against 8 or 9 other teams under the team name No Footlongs. There was only one outcome: We're The Simpsons Trivia Champions of the World! (Or of the bar in Boston we were at.)

The last 22 years of watching and absorbing The Simpsons really paid off. We beat their brains in. We were in first place at every scoring cycle and won with a 5 point lead. No Footlongs (they make Ned Flanders uncomfortable) won a grand prize of $143, which paid for dinner and left us each with a cool six dollars. Only first place won anything, which was us. When the second place team asked the judge if they get anything, Lance told them to kiss his ass. Class.

There were some questions that seemed obvious that we blew. One was name the 5 characters not named Simpson who have been in the most episodes. We got Moe, Milhouse, Skinner, Burns, but we forgot Flanders. Stupid Flanders! We said Krusty. Each name was worth a point that we tripled with a bonus in that round.  

The three movies in the Springfield Film Festival: A Burns For All Seasons, Pukahontas, but we forgot Man Getting Hit By Football. We called it Football in the Groin. 

We made little mistakes here and there, but we also dominated things like the audio round of which countries the Simpsons have been to and the visual round matching movies the show has parodied. Got all of those no sweat. The round of real or fake Rainier Wolfcastle films was relatively easy to figure out: the fake ones were the ones that weren't funny.

Nobody got Snake's real name. But we knew every character played by Hank Azaria. Lance really came through with some tough ones: He got a Treehouse of Horror couch gag with Freddy and Jason, and he somehow knew the name of the gay steel mill Homer took Bart to (Anvil) in the John Waters episode.

I never had any doubt we would win this. If there was one thing I was born to do, it's win Simpsons Trivia. Katie and Lance initially doubted we'd win, but I'll put the staggering amount of minutia Jeff and I know combined against anyone's. And we did. Everyone pulled their weight. And we won.

We are suh-smart! We are suh-smart! S-M-R-T!

Friday, October 12, 2012

Smallville: Season 11 #19 - "Detective"



Contrary to popular belief, Superman has weaknesses. Kryptonite, obviously. Magic. Lack of yellow sun radiation or exposure to red sun radiation. If you have any or all of those items, you can beat Superman. Theoretically, you can even kill him. But even with such, one needs to exploit what is perhaps Superman's greatest weakness: Overconfidence.

In Stryker's Island prison, Winslow Schlott, the Toyman, is paid a visit by Lois Lane. How does a Toyman get so lucky? Lois, probably the sexiest woman in Metropolis, decides to go to a maximum security federal penitentiary wearing a skintight, sexy dress. How does a Toyman get so lucky? Lois is here for answers about Oswald Loomis, the Prankster, and how Toyman ties into this whole mess with the Intergang weapons using Lexcorp microtech. She came to the right cell, the cell of the Toyman of Exposition. Toyman reminds her of the last couple of times they tangled on television, and how he used to work for Lex when Lex was dead, a clone trying to regrow himself, and not actually a castmember of the television show but they found ways to fudge around it. Toyman also reminds her and everyone that he knows the Blur... pardon, Superman... is her beau Clark Kent, and they have an arrangement. Schlott is no fan of Oswald Loomis, "the Salieri to his Mozart", and hey, I finally have something in common with the Toyman. Well, two things: we've also both seen Amadeus. (I prefer the theatrical cut to the longer director's cut.)

So, Toyman's theory is that Prankster has been trying to visit him in Stryker's to gain his approval. Toyman and Prankster were both R&D science nerds for Oliver Queen before Toyman jumped ship to work for Luthorcorp. I don't suppose he had to go very far after Queen Industries and Luthorcorp merged so that Queen did his business out of the Luthorcorp building. Toyman also believes that Prankster is "copycatting" him, which means he's using meteor rocks in whatever evil toys, er, pranks he's making. Actually, for a "prankster", The Prankster isn't doing a lot of pranking. He is doing a lot of shooting with guns.

Back at the Suicide Slum not-so-safe-anymore-house of Joe Chill, it's time for action! And some jokes. And cold puns. But mostly action! The Batman and Superman are being shot at by The Prankster and Mr. Freeze. Hey, Mr. Freeze coming to kill Joe Chill, that's pretty cool. (I'm so sorry. Won't do that again.) Superman is fast enough to move Chill out of the way of the bullets and freeze ray headed their way, while the Batman has plenty of things in his utility belt to make the walls and ceiling of the room explode. This buys Superman and Batman time to quip.

Superman and Batman also have time to explain to each other that Mr. Freeze isn't normally a hitman and his freeze technology seems to have been given an upgrade by Prankster. Prankster also utilizes this time to helpfully explain to the World's Finest Team that he's now acting as a hitman to impress his Intergang bosses so they see him "as a worthy investment". Because, you know, he's the Prankster. I'd question why we hired the Prankster too, if I were Intergang. Okay, so, exposition is out of the way, back to fighting. Superman orders Batman to get the man who murdered his mommy and daddy to safety lest he be murdered.

Beautiful. Batman skedaddles to keep safe the very man whose greed and gunshots stole all sense from his life. Meanwhile, defying all rhyme or reason, it's the Prankster, not Mr. Freeze, who delivers a terrible cold pun about Mr. Freeze being in this for the "cold, hard cash" as Superman fights them off. Superman appreciates the pun even less than the freeze ray aimed at him. The Prankster fires off three of the meteor rock bullets Toyman alluded to in prison and they zip past the Man of Steel after Joe Chill. These bullets act a lot like Darkseid's Omega Effect beams.

The Batman, probably secretly fuming about keeping Joe Chill from eating three Kryptonite powered bullets in the chest, uses even more fancy exploding things from his utility belt at the bullets, but the bullets keep on coming. So Batman pulls the same trick he once used on Vickie Vale in his 1989 movie and has Chill attach a Batline to his belt that zips him upwards while the Batman tries another doohickey from his belt and takes the brunt of the bullets exploding.

Meanwhile, Superman thinks he has Prankster and Freeze well in hand. Which brings us back to what I said earlier about overconfidence. Superman has too much of it. When Prankster rearms his hand cannon and fires three more bullets at the Man of Steel, Superman assumes Heat Vision will solve the problem. But not this glowing, green, alien, radioactive problem.

Uh oh. Is this the end for the Man of Steel? Yes, of course it is. Cancel the rest of this series, Superman died in a room in Suicide Slum in issue 19 of Smallville: Season 11. Alas, there will be no tomorrow for the Man of Tomorrow. Also, cancel the next Batman movie, because Mr. Freeze has just gotten revenge for the terrible Batman and Robin movie, as Freeze finds the Batman recovering from surviving the explosion and blasts him with his freeze ray. And Freeze still didn't use a cold pun!

If I had to guess how Superman and Batman would finally bite it in their first Smallville team up adventure together, I'd never in a million years have guessed "spanked by Mr. Freeze and the Prankster in Suicide Slum."  But they're dead now. They must be. It'll be up to Green Arrow and Nightwing to avenge their deaths next week, I guess...

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Arrow 1x1 - "Pilot"

Of course, I was going to watch Arrow. And make the obligatory joke about it lasting ten seasons like Smallville did, like: I'll only watch ten seasons of Arrow, no more, no less.

The good news is that Arrow is good. It's a more mature, more action-oriented and violent show than Smallville was. It's also rather dense. Surprisingly dense. There's a lot going on.

The basics: After five years alone on a deserted island in the North China Sea (called "Purgatory" in Chinese), Oliver Queen is rescued and returned to his home in Starling City. His father, the sister of his girlfriend (Dinah) Laurel Lance, and an employee of his father all died when their yacht "Queen's Gambit" sank during a storm. The island changed Oliver, Ivy League dropout and rich boy womanizer, in ways we're slowly discovering. For one, he's cut, chiseled and jacked, he has awesome survival and martial arts skills, he can speak Russian now, and he's a crack shot with a bow and arrow.

Oliver returns to a Starling City populated by tons of recurring characters, all of whom are interrelated to him in some fashion, many living under his mother's roof.

Let's see, there's Oliver's mother Moira Queen, who remarried (Hamlet-style) to Walter Steele and together, they run Queen Industrials.

There's Oliver's seventeen year old sister Thea, who he used to call "Speedy", but is now secretly a cokehead.

Also always around is Oliver's best friend Tommy Merlyn, who is secretly seeing Laurel Lance, now an attorney, who used to be Oliver's girlfriend until Oliver ran away with her sister Sarah, who died when the boat sank. You get all that?

Well, there's more, like police detective Quentin Lance who doesn't trust Oliver Queen and is the father of Laurel Lance and the aforementioned deceased Sarah Lance.

Geez, and we haven't even gotten to the villain of the episode, who Arrow targets and steals $40-million dollars from.

Oliver Queen came back from the island with a mission and a book his father gave him with a list of names on it. Before his father committed suicide, he told Oliver he was a bad man and Starling City is full of bad men, but his job was to go back and make everything right. Nowhere did he say, "dress up like Robin Hood and shoot arrows at them." Oliver came up with that on his own.

Before the hour is up, Oliver and Tommy will have been abducted and interrogated by masked men, Oliver will have saved them both while claiming they were rescued by a mysterious hooded figure, Oliver will have a bodyguard assigned to him he has to repeatedly dodge before outright beating up, Tommy will have thrown Oliver a bitchin' welcome back party with strippers and booze and tons of hotties, the Arrow will have gotten into a bloody battle in the villain's skyscraper and killed a bunch of his henchmen before stealing $40 million from him, and there'd be a shocking revelation that Moira Queen herself had Oliver and Tommy abducted because she wants to know what he knows, i.e. what her late husband told their son. That's a lot to fire at the audience in one hour.

Of course, there are things that don't immediately make sense, like the sheer number of arrows Arrow leaves behind at a crime scene. A lot of physical evidence. It shouldn't be that hard to figure out Oliver Queen is Arrow. After all, there was no Arrow until Oliver Queen reappeared in Starling City, and he's not exactly hiding his newfound skills and abilities. Also, Oliver Queen took over an abandoned Queen Industrial factory and turned it into a high tech Arrow HQ all by himself without anyone noticing. Plus, it seems weird he lives in his mommy's mansion with his little sister and creepy stepfather. Maybe Oliver Queen ought to move out, get his own pad?

Stephen Amell is a fine, rugged and physically impressive Oliver Queen. Colin Donnell is an intriguing foil for him as Tommy Merlyn. Katie Cassidy as Laurel Lance (Black Canary in the comics) and Willa Holland as Thea Queen are appealing female leads. Fun to see Paul Blackthrone and Roger Cross, both alumni of 24, show up as police detectives. Annie Ilonzeh, one of last year's Charlie's Angels, also shows up as Laurel's co-worker.

So. Arrow. Guess I'll settle in. It'll be a long ten seasons...

Does WWE Need Smackdown And RAW As Brands Anymore?

Complaining about WWE's stagnant product is par for the course with watching WWE these days. What's wrong with the product? Here's one identified culprit: Inertia. Since 2002, WWE has split itself and its roster of talent between two internal "brands", Monday Night RAW and Friday Night Smackdown, each with its own redundant World Champions and its own redundant General Managers. WWE's two branded business model is a relic of a scenario from over ten years ago when they bought their main competition, WCW, and decided to create the illusion of competition within WWE, or WWE being its own competition.

There was no annual Draft Lottery in 2012 rotating the talent between the two brands. This and the advent of Supershows, i.e. wrestlers appearing on both shows with no attempt at internal storyline explanations, pretty much indicates WWE's interest in moving away from that model (or at least a disinterest in maintaining the integrity of that model). Yet so much of the internal workings of the company is still stuck in the RAW-Smackdown dual brand way of thinking.

Apparently, no one in power has simply looked at how the company is structured and asked, "Do we need to keep pretending we have separate but equal (ha!) brands within WWE? If so, why?"

There's a logical business reason to keep RAW and Smackdown as separate touring brands so it's easy to decide where to send talent for house shows. With two brands, it makes sense to have two World Champions so that there's a World Title main event on each tour's show. To unify the World Titles would bring it back to the 1980s, when there was a clearly delineated A show (whichever show Hulk Hogan was on as WWF Champion, usually) and B show, often headlined by upper midcard acts in smaller venues. Having the World Heavyweight Champion main eventing Smackdown shows at least maintains the illusion both brands are equal, even if everyone really knows RAW is the A show and Smackdown is the B show.

To unify the World Championships means the WWE Champion (and we all know a unification would preserve the WWE Championship and do away with the World Heavyweight Championship and the big gold belt once owned by Ric Flair) would end up working almost every show. Doesn't he anyway, you ask? Well, yes and no. But not really. WWE Champion CM Punk doesn't appear on every Smackdown even if World Heavyweight Champion Sheamus does appear on every RAW.

Point is, do they need the RAW and Smackdown brands at all anymore? Can't RAW just be a show and Smackdown just be a show and WWE be the brand? It kind of is sort of like that now anyway, but it isn't. RAW and Smackdown as brands is still a remnant of how business has been done in the prior decade. 

Moving the product forward into this decade should really start with WWE's power brokers Vince McMahon, Stephanie McMahon, Triple H, etc. taking a good, hard look at how WWE is structured and asking, "Why do we still operate like the Monday Night Wars just ended last year instead of over 10 years ago?"

Batman #13

"Death of the Family"


Over a year ago, both in DC Comics continuity time and in the real world, The Joker allowed his face to be cut off. Then he vanished for the entire year. Batman had many, many other problems to deal with and no one in Gotham City nor the DC Universe, save perhaps Harley Quinn, was particularly upset to have an entire year without The Joker menacing their lives. Of course, it was only a matter of time until The Joker returned.

Batman #13, a bone-chilling blockbuster written by superstar writer Scott Snyder and superstar artist Greg Capullo, kicks off the massive "Death of the Family" storyline throughout the Batman line of titles. The Joker has come back to make a deliberate statement about the Batman and his allies, Robin, Nightwing, Batgirl, the Red Hood, the ever-vigilant, ever-suffering Commissioner James Gordon, and - shockingly - Alfred Pennyworth, loyal butler to billionaire Bruce Wayne. Oh no, Alfred is not safe either. The Joker has done his homework in his time away, it seems. 

Setting up the crossover aspect of the story, members of the "Batman Family", the current Robin Damian Wayne, Bruce's ultraviolent ten year old son, Nightwing, Red Robin, and Batgirl, chime in when they hear The Joker's back in town. Batgirl, whom The Joker shot and paralyzed, is naturally alarmed for herself and her father the Commissioner. I liked Damian's flippant attitude towards The Joker the best. As per usual, the Batman decides The Joker is his problem alone and eschews the aid of his "family". But we know from the nature of this story, The Joker has other ideas.

The best stuff Snyder and Capullo deliver in Batman #13 are the pure horror and the callbacks. First, the horror: The Joker chooses one of his favorite targets for torment, Jim Gordon, as his way of announcing his return. He knocks out power in Gotham Police Headquarters and methodically snaps the necks of the cops present in the dark, taunting Gordon all the while with his maniacal jokes and laughter. Batman arrives too late and playing catch up (a common theme in this issue). Later, The Joker slaughters even more cops, using a new version of his Joker Toxin (I wish DC Comics would just call it Smylex) that twists their mouths into frowns instead of smiles. The Joker isn't playing quite the same old game.

Snyder's worship of Batman's legacy is stunning. He homages the very first appearance of The Joker in Batman #1 (1940) by having Joker kidnap the son of the very first person Joker ever murdered in a Batman comic, cited by Batman in The New 52 continuity as Joker's first-ever kill. (With a nod that Joker threatened his life on television instead of the radio as in 1940). Joker's haunting of Gotham Police headquarters and Capullo's visual presentation of Joker harken to Heath Ledger in The Dark Knight. The Joker making his television announcement brings back fond memories of Jack Nicholson's televised threats in Tim Burton's first Batman (1989). When Batman thinks he confronts The Joker at Ace Chemical Plant, where The Joker fell into the vat of chemicals that turned him white and gave him his perpetual smile, Batman meets The Red Hood, Joker's original alias, who turns out to be Harley Quinn. Harley springs The Joker's trap, as The Joker brings his vengeance straight to Batman's - Bruce Wayne's - home.

The Joker's current appearance, with his face pinned and belted onto his head, is probably the most shocking and grotesque he's ever been. Nor is Harley Quinn, his devoted lover, spared the horrors of The Joker's new attitude, in a grim and saddening back up story by Snyder, co-writer James Tynion IV and artist Jock. The Joker's not back to make friends, or even keep the old friends he once had.

In the end, this is all about the Batman. In his taunts, The Joker calls Batman "fat" and "slow" and "soft", mocking him for his year-long war with The Court of Owls that cost Batman nearly everything, including his sanity. And maybe The Joker has a point. The Joker claims he has returned to strip Batman back to basics, make him what he used to be. If anyone can do it, it's Mr. J.

Uncanny Avengers #1


"My greatest regret is that while I lived, I never taught any of my X-Men how to deliver a decent eulogy for me when I died. Seriously, Storm blew it in the movie. I mean, what was that? And now Logan, you made a depressing day even more of a downer. Thanks. Also, my brain... keep it safe -- oh, never mind." - The Ghost of Charles Xavier

I bet Xavier would have preferred Magneto had given his eulogy, if only for the eloquence. But then again, it would probably have disintegrated into a militant call to arms for Homo sapiens superior uprising and the extinction of humanity. Such is Professor X's lot in life, and death, I suppose.

Here we are, Marvel NOW! The relaunch of excitement into the Marvel Universe, following the events of the Avengers vs. X-Men crossover event. The Phoenix Force came to Earth. The X-Men, under the command of Cyclops, sought to embrace it, to re-ignite the flame of the dying mutant race. The Avengers wanted to save the world from the Phoenix Force. So they fought, and fought, and fought. The Phoenix claimed five of the X-Men and turned them into The Phoenix Five. The Avengers were beaten back. The Phoenix Five conquered and changed the world. The Avengers defeated the Five one by one, until only Cyclops remained as the new Dark Phoenix. Cyclops murdered Professor X. The X-Men allied themselves with the Avengers against the mad Cyclops. Hope, the mutant messiah, and the Scarlet Witch together defeated Cyclops. Hope became the Phoenix and healed the world. The Phoenix Force restarted the mutant race - new mutants were created around the world- and then it left Earth. Cyclops was imprisoned for his crimes against humanity. And Captain America learned a lesson.

Uncanny Avengers #1 follows up on AvX, dealing with the aftermath of the loss of Charles Xavier. At the Jean Grey School for mutants, its current headmaster Wolverine gives the eulogy at Xavier's funeral. Kind of depressing. "Truth is, we failed [Xavier]", Wolverine concludes, before walking away from the podium. Watching on a monitor from parts unknown , hiding from the Avengers, was Magneto, Xavier's oldest frenemy, who no doubt thinks he could have done a better job. 

At The Brig, the secret S.H.I.E.L.D. holding facility where Public Enemy #1, Scott "Cyclops" Summers is being held in a ruby quartz prison, his brother Alex "Havok" Summers pays a visit. The brothers argue about Cyclops failing Xavier's dream, murdering him, and how basically Cyclops hasn't done anything right, ever. If Cyclops is hanging his head in shame, he's doing so on the inside. Cyclops defends everything he did. In a way, you kind of have to respect his standing by his convictions, even if they turned out to be all wrong. Or were they? The mutants are back, after all, no longer on the brink of extinction. Havok doesn't accomplish much, but he does get asked out on a coffee date.

Oh, that God of Thunder and his lattes.

Captain America, who learned in AvX that the Avengers have never done enough to help the mutant population, has a proposition: he asks Havok to become an Avenger. Not just any Avenger, but to lead a squad of X-Men and Avengers working together - a team of Uncanny Avengers (Cap doesn't call it that). And yet, Cap's sales pitch needs work: He basically said, "Havok, we're asking you because Wolverine, the most popular X-Man, is too shady for this, Cyclops is in prison, and, well... There's no one else. So you're the best man for the job, since we've no better options. How's about it, soldier?" Havok is, understandably, not jumping on the line or asking about the Avengers' dental plan.

Next thing we know, New York is under attack, which happens every 6.2 seconds in the Marvel Universe. The mutant known as Avalanche decides a couple of blocks from Avengers Mansion is the perfect place to start ripping up sidewalks and blowing up buildings. Thor springs to action to save lives while Captain America on the spot comes up with a brilliant tactical move using Havok's mutant power to shoot concentric circles of energy as a springboard. 

But rather than face Captain America and get smacked with a star-spangled shield in the face, Avalanche chooses to fall to his death. It's weird. But the damage is done. Once again, a mutant acted like a terrorist and threatened lives, creating hate, fear, and mistrust. Old habits die hard. Stinkin' muties.

Meanwhile, a penitent Scarlet Witch, herself the mutant daughter of Magneto, pays her respects at the grave of Charles Xavier. Someone who doesn't respect this, or Scarlet Witch at all, is Rogue, who wants Wanda Maximoff to answer for her crimes - her crimes being going insane and using her chaos magic to wipe out the mutant race to begin with. Scarlet Witch has heard this song and dance for a while now and the ladies argue. They argue Marvel style, which means they fight. Then they are attacked by strange creatures, one has a goat face. The Avenger and the X-Man are overwhelmed, with Rogue knocked out and Scarlett Witch run through her babymaker with a horn. The villains leave with what they came for, and deliver it to the narrator of this issue and the villain of the piece...

The Red Skull! Who now has Charles Xavier's brain! And he's going to stick it in some corpse and use it to bring the world to its knees! Why, that nefarious Nazi!

Super fun first issue by Rick Remender and John Cassaday. And as ever, mutants are the cause of, and probably not the solution to, all of life in the Marvel NOW! Universe's problems...

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Revolution 1x4 - "The Plague Dogs"

There must have been a talk in the Revolution Writers Room about cliffhangers. It must have gone like this: "We need more CLIFFHANGERS. And by more, I mean ONE BEFORE EVERY ACT BREAK!"

Alternate titles for Revolution could be:

"Miles Matheson is a Known Quitter."
"Charlie Calls The Shots Around Here."

Let's take the quitting thing first. I believe Miles has tried to quit being part of the group looking for Danny in every single episode so far. He tried again this week, pretty hard, and he keeps getting talked into staying (or a swordfight distracts him from leaving). Every week he bristles at how he's at best second in command to Charlie. Which brings us to...

Charlie runs this group, to Miles' dismay. They sought Miles out for his military expertise, but anything he says can get overruled by the 17 year old girl. Hence, Miles keeps wanting to quit, but maybe the group would take Miles' supposed authority more seriously if he would stop trying to abandon them? It's a vicious circle.

I don't know geographically how far the group is from Danny and Giancarlo Esposito but this episode, they estimated they're 24 hours away. 24 hours walking time away (even moreso now after the events of the episode.) Again, I don't know how far that is, but it's apparently far enough that the Twister that attacked Giancarlo and Danny had no meteorological effect on Charlie's group where ever the amusement park they ended up is.

Flashbacks: British Lady, we'll call her Maggie out of respect for her death, was in Seattle when the Blackout happened. Her kids are in England and she never saw them again, despite walking from Seattle to Buffalo without being raped, imprisoned, or murdered, only to find no ships are sailing anywhere anymore. Poor British Lady Maggie. RIP. (Please remain available for potential Flashbacks.)

Elizabeth Mitchell left her family at the request of General Miles Matheson to be captured by the Militia. This seems to have happened after the Militia formed but Charlie is still very young. Yet it begs the question of where Charlie's family was geographically; they hadn't settled and were still moving around. It's confusing. In the "present" of Revolution (2027 year estimated) Elizabeth Mitchell is still being held prisoner and won't talk about what she knows re: how to turn the lights back on. Monroe's brilliant plan is to drag her son in front of her and torture him until she talks. You mean to tell me, the Militia had Elizabeth Mitchell hostage for years and got nothing out of her, ever? They must be really lousy interrogators.

I'll say this for the Revolution actors: They act really hard. They do their damnedest to sell this show with their acting.

Number of Times Someone Said 'Dick': 1, Nora called Miles a dick.

Number of Swordfights: Hard to say. Miles kept losing his sword.