Friday, November 28, 2014

Constantine Episode 6 Review

For anyone who has ever seen The Exorcist, or read any sort of books (including the Bible), its a dangerous thing when a person's body is paid a visit by a malevolent spirit of demon. However in the case of tonight's episode, the possessions in question come from a source closer to home. John and Chas journey to Birmingham, Alabama, to look into a case of children going absolute mad and then murdering their parents.

A topic like this is one that's very messy, kids and parents and the issue of possible trouble in the home-life. John pulls out lots of magical tricks in order to understand the why of the matter.

We see a lot more of John's softer side, since the victims of the evil in the episode are kids and families. The character has always had a rough edge, but when it comes to the issue of innocent people and forces from beyond, Constantine shines out like a beacon of hope for those in need.

There was also a very lovely Easter Egg from the DC world that stood out like a giant sore thumb tonight. Read on for more information.

Sword of Night 

The Sword of Night is a powerful magical blade, belonging to DC Comics character Nightmaster aka Jim Rook. Rook was a singer back in the real world, until he found himself transported to the land of Myrra, where he took up the Sword of Night in defense of the people of Myrra against all manner of wicked foes that would see to do them harm. The Sword not only warns the holder of imminent danger but also can force a person to speak the truth. 

A particular quote from the episode, of how Jasper Winters hideaway is a treasure trove of magical objects. So far in every episode of the show there have been countless references to DC Comics and its various magic using characters, some more obvious (like the Sword) others less so. The overall effect that has on viewers (and DC fans in particular) is that the world of Constantine plays home to a vast number of characters who use or have come into contact with magic. That means a lot more possibilities to bring in characters both good and bad for future episodes is present. 

Overall, an excellent episode tonight. Lots of heavy drama and dialogue, lots of great spooky vibes with more to come as the season progress's. Matt Ryan is fitting into the role of John Constantine like a pro and he has definitely been doing his homework on John's mannerism and behavior. High marks for tonight's episode, here's hoping that next week's is just as great.

Monday, November 24, 2014

Gotham Episode 10 Review

Once again, Gotham has proven that it is here to stay on TV, despite the rough start it had. With the introduction last week of Harvey Dent as the Assistant DA, and actively helping Gordon take the Wayne murders to the next level, things are getting intense.

Tonight's episode has the intense main plot, of Alfred assisting Gordon and Bullock in searching for Bruce and Selina, who are missing in Gotham after assassins attempted to murder them at Wayne Manor. The opening scene provided viewers with a very excellent look at Alfred's fighting skills (showing viewers that the Alfred of Gotham is more in line with the Earth One graphic novel then comics cannon).

We also get more development with Bruce and Selina's relationship, and Bruce gets a first hand look at what the mean streets of Gotham are really like, especially when you hang around Selina Kyle.

On the other side of the story, Carmine Falcone is not happy that his money was blown up, and he's taking it out on his underlings. Raising their tributes to him doesn't win him any friends either, giving Fish the in she needs to draw more into her plan to take over the city's crime.

One thing tonight's episode showed is just how deep Alfred and Bruce's bond is. Alfred is willing to rub shoulders with some Gotham's criminal scum, to get Bruce back home safe and sound.

As for Oswald, we see tonight, that for all his swagger and vile behavior, there is one man he is afraid of, and that is Don Carmine Falcone. And he has good reason to be afraid, because he knows that if he crosses Falcone, then he will end up dead, and not just presumed dead.

For Gordon, the episode ends, with him being given an ultimatum in order to cover up the murder of Dick Lovecraft, either he gets sacked from the force, or he gets demoted to being a security officer at Arkham Asylum. Gordon being Gordon, he takes the Arkham job. It'll be interesting to see how he fairs at the Asylum.

I've said it once, and I'll say it again, Gotham keeps showing that it is earning its place on the Monday night lineup, and that it is also taking the Batman mythos, the characters and world, and despite minor alterations, making it a force to be reckoned with.

Despite my constant praising for this show, there have been times when it seemed slow. But now, with the introduction of more characters that will help keep the stories intense and exciting, I'm ready for whatever this shows throws at viewers, and I'll be excited every time. High marks for tonight's episode, very high marks indeed.

Friday, November 21, 2014

Constantine Episode 5 Review

One thing I noted in my review of the first episode of Constantine, was the large amount of Easter Egg's that reference other magical members of the DC Comics Universe. Tonight's episode proved no exception, as John and his band travel to New Orleans to deal with another spot of magical bother. This time, they have help, from New Orleans police detective Jim Corrigan (played by BBC actor Emmet J. Scanlan)

A quick background on Jim Corrigan before getting into my thoughts on tonight's episode. Fans of DC Comics will know the name right off, because Corrigan plays a very large role in the magical DC community. For those who don't know him, Corrigan plays host to the Spectre, the spiritual incarnation of God's vengeance. The Spectre has been around in comics since the grand old days of the Golden Age (1940's-early 1950's) and was one of the founding members of the first superhero team ever created, the Justice Society of America. In later years, the Spectre would be seen in comics dealing out vengeance to criminals and often taking a hand in the affairs of the DC Universe when the cosmic scales were being tipped towards chaos and destruction.

As for the plot of tonight's episode, well the long and short of it is that strange and violent murders are happening around New Orleans, being doled out by spirits that have been summoned from beyond the grave. And since Constantine is now in vodou (this is the proper spelling) country, its only natural that he would run afoul of Pap Midnite again.

This episode focused less on developing John's character on the small screen, and more on introducing Corrigan into the show-verse (and even hinting at his future as the Spectre). But audiences do get a treat, to watch Constantine and Midnite team their respective magics together in order to stop the madness that is being inflicted on the city.

Overall, tonight's episode was highly enjoyable, mainly due to the fact that John had to work alongside a man he doesn't exactly hold in highest regard, and because we viewers/fans got a hinting at the possibility of more DC characters with magical background being brought to life, even on the small screen.

It is my fervent hope that Constantine will keep delivering its usual brand of chaos and drama wrapped up in magic and adventure, because this show is quickly becoming one of my new favorites, and I hope to heaven it doesn't disappoint down the road.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Episode 8 Review

One thing that the new season of Agent's of S.H.I.E.L.D. is showing is that many of the adventures undertaken by the S.S.R. during the last day of the WWII, and the various histories tied to those adventures play a much larger role in the development of Coulson and the team standing off against HYDRA in the new game for the world. Tonight, is such an episode.

Further background is given on Daniel Whitehall (formerly Werner Reinhardt) was released by Alexander Pierce, and was de-aged thanks to renewed experimentation on the Obelisk, thus accounting for his younger appearance in the present.

Last episode, viewers learned that the mysterious writing's that kept popping up in the last few episodes are in fact a map to a hidden city (the Inhuman capital of Attilan), and that the blue corpse recovered in 1945 by Peggy Carter is in fact a member of the Kree race. This provided evidence that this season viewers will see to some extent, the introduction of the Inhumans, mutant's whose genetic makeup was altered by the Kree.

Tonight's episode certainly jumped the plot ahead by bringing new information to light with regards to what the Obelisks true purpose is, as well as how important the discovery of the city by either S.H.I.E.L.D. or HYDRA could be in terms of the balance of world order.

Let it be known, that this episode was one of immense value in terms of pure story, and I hope that this season will continue to introduce more elements of the Marvel Universe in a way that is appealing to both viewers and comic fans.

Monday, November 17, 2014

Gotham Episode 9 Review

Its said that for some people, there are two sides to their personality. In the case of Harvey Dent, its the absolute truth. The charming man of law who will become one of Gotham City's most feared criminals made his television debut tonight, the role filled by Nicholas D'Agosto. 

This is a big deal, since up to this point, Jim Gordon has been the only adult show character whose passion for law is prevalent. Now with bringing Harvey into the picture, the passion is doubled.

Harvey (as the Assistant DA) steps in to help Gordon try and crack the Wayne case, now that Selina Kyle has stepped forward and admitted to her presence in the alley that night. Harvey in turn starts spinning the wheels of justice in order to try and finally crack the death of two of Gotham's most prominent citizens.

Audiences are treated with two defining aspects of Harvey's personality that will become part of his life as Two-Face, the double headed silver dollar and his abounding rage. The coin was bound to show up, and it does, twice (hows that for ironic). But viewers see the dark side of Harvey, albeit briefly, in all its fury and righteous power, and it is scary to behold. 

Tonight's episode episode also has Bruce and Selina Kyle finally meeting when she is placed in protective custody at Wayne Manor. Her attitude toward Bruce is rather cool, but she has her soft moments, considering what she saw. With Alfred on the other hand, she's all sass and sarcasm, and their banter is rather amusing to watch. 

For Fish Mooney, tonight's episode was about stepping up her campaign to topple Carmine Falcone. Working with the remainder of the Russian mob, she breaks an insane but brilliant bomb maker out of prison, and tasks him with creating explosive devices in order to take down Falcone's hidden stash of cash. The plan succeeds, and Fish covers her tracks well, ensuring that no evidence can be traced back to her.

With the promise now of more and more stories having extra depth with Harvey's introduction. It means that there is the promise for greater character development for what the show is trying to provide with its own unique spin on the Batman universe. And if it keeps it up, well then hopefully the general public opinion about the show will sway over towards one of enjoyment instead of anger and hatred.

Monday, November 10, 2014

Gotham Episode 8 Review

A question, what happens when the show writers of Gotham decided to introduce one of Batman's biggest Rogues and have Bruce Wayne start attending school, all in the same episode? The answer, a smorgasbord of intense scenes of cop drama dialogue for Jim and Harvey, while Bruce struggles with that awkward first day of school, made all the more awkward by being the "new kid" whose parents were murdered right in front of him.

Tonight, we are introduced to the Gotham-verse version of infamous criminal kingpin Black Mask. Richard (not Roman) Sionis (played by Todd Stashwick), shown here as head of a large financial firm, who has candidates jockeying for job openings fight in a deadly gladiatorial game. Sionis's fixation with masks is still prevalent as in the comics, but now, with a leaning towards the culture of ancient warrior cast Japan. Even in conversation with Gordon smacks of the comics, talking about the mask representing a certain depth in everyone, and what they mean symbolically to the warriors who wore them.

As for Bruce, well let's just say that the first day of school didn't go any better for him then it would for anyone else. He meets classmate Tommy Elliot (future comics villain Hush) who takes great delight in asking him personal questions about his parents death and making sport of his mother. Alfred's response to Tommy's bullying is to take Bruce to the Elliot home, giving him his father's watch for the boy to use as a knuckle duster, then rewards the boy with a pizza dinner for taking a stand against the bully. While this may seem out of character for the normally polite and genteel Englishman, but perfectly in step for the slightly more London East End version of Alfred that the show is portraying.

And of course, what episode of Gotham wouldn't be complete without some screen time for Penguin AND for the young Selina Kyle. Penguin's more of a secondary character this episode, dealing with the animosity Fish Mooney is aiming his way for his betraying her back in episode one. Selina, well her moment is even less then Penguin's, a few second scene of two Gotham beat cops catching her in the act of robbing a very posh clothing store of furs and wraps. Hey, a girl's gotta shop right?

As with last week's episode, tonight keeps raising the bar (to my mind) for what the show is setting out to do. Its purpose, to in its own way, reintroduce the may myriad elements of the Batman universe, before Batman, before all the madness and mayhem that will follow. In all fairness and honesty, the show is accomplishing its goal in spades. Each new episode brings more elements of the Batman universe to bear, all setting the stage for the larger show, that of the Batman's war on crime.

Friday, November 7, 2014

Constantine Episode 3 Review

Those who make deals with the Devil, had better be prepared for what comes afterwards. Such is the case with tonight's episode of Constantine, when John, along with Zed and Chase, track a cursed blues acetate disc to Chicago, because of the dark origin behind the disk.

It not only contains the first few notes of a song by a briefly famous (fictional) blues artist from the 1930s, it also contains something more, the voice of the Devil himself. Such an item is dangerous indeed, and for it to fall into the wrong hands, that would be downright disastrous.

The wrong hands in this case, belong to Papa Midnite, a vodou priest straight from the pages of the Hellblazer comics, who has tangled with John more then once, making his life, dare I say it, a living hell.

Midnite is played by newcomer Michael James Shaw, who takes to the role like it was made for him. He conducts himself with all of the sinister swagger of the character, really making it his own. This promises that Shaw will return for future episodes as Midnite, either to plague John, or even aid him in the growing battle against the unleashed forces of darkness. 

Matt Ryan also brought more to the table in his portrayal of John, adding more con man style attitude along with canny survival nature when faced with overwhelming odds. Zed is now a part of the team of course, and her physic skills prove very useful in learning more about the acetate and its dark nature. 

A nice episode to start off the month of November with, filled with excitement and thrills as well as heavy drama and great dialogue. More episodes like this are welcome, dealing with artifacts that have been touched by the hands of pure evil, and what sort of impact those objects have on the mortal plane and John Constantine's battle against darkness.