Gotham – Season 1, Episode 2: Selina Kyle

     gotham-selina-kyle-107522

     After a series premiere that seemed to introduce one new character every minute, I questioned whether or not Gotham was going to be able to slow it down a bit to make the characters and story more accessible.  Let’s find out if they were able to do so.  Here is the recap/review of “Selina Kyle.”

The episode opens in the sitting room of Wayne Manor.  Bruce is staring at a candle.  He slowly begins to place his hand on the flame and holds it there, his face in agonizing pain.  He is interrupted by Alfred, who demands that Bruce reveals what he is hiding behind his back.  Upon seeing the burn on Bruce’s hand, Alfred begins to berate him, until he realizes what he is doing and grabs the boy and holds him tightly.

  • I am ALWAYS a fan of the sarcastic Alfred, so while totally understand why he has to be the caring guardian here, I am going to geek out when he gives Bruce his first verbal comeuppance.

We catch a glimpse of the Gotham skyline (The city, not the show, so to use italics would be WRONG here, you grammar jerks), before the scene changes to Selina Kyle.  She is in a run down part of the city (probably the show’s version of the Narrows) and is playing around with a necklace, kind of how a cat plays with a ball on a string.  She is hanging out with, but not really, some other street kids.  A truck pulls up, and two “missionaries” for lack of a better term, Patty and Doug, arrive with food for the kids.  Selina decides not to indulge herself, which was a good idea, as Patty takes out a drugged needle and stabs two of the kids in the neck with it, dropping them both to the ground.  A third kid is able to get away, but not before Doug shoots and kills a bum who tried to intervene.  Doug chases and eventually catches the boy, but in the struggle throws him through the front window of a restaurant.  Doug has no choice but to escape with Patty and the children they WERE able to capture.

  • One of the kids referred to Selina as “Cat.”  I am okay with it.  While I want this to be its own show, there HAS to be nods to who these characters eventually become.  Otherwise, where’s the fun?

The next morning, Jim Gordon is standing above the body of the bum who was shot the night before.  He reaches down and notices the man is wearing dog tags.  A veteran, just like Jim.  Bullock walks up with coffee, but not before we notice Selina lurking on a nearby rooftop.  It’s very similar to the scene from the last episode, with her hiding during the Wayne investigation.  Gordon is wondering why they are the only cops at the scene, that they need to do something, to which Bullock replies that to find yet another criminal that shot a bum is like finding the tooth fairy.  Finally, the on duty patrolman arrives.  His reason for not being at the crime scene was because he was dealing with the kid that was thrown through the restaurant window.  Since the restaurant gives the cop a kickback, it had first priority.  This didn’t sit well with Gordon, especially since there could be a connection between the two crimes.

  • I know that Gordon is one of the only few good cops on the force, but they don’t have to show him throwing down with people every single week because of it.

Back at GCPD, Gordon and Bullock are questioning the kid, Mackie, as he describes how his two friends were kidnapped.  He reveals that this is NOT the first time something like this has happened.  Kids have been disappearing off the street by the dozen, with no explanation.  After some hard interrogation from Bullock, Mackie tells them to ask Cat, as she saw the whole thing.  Gordon tries to calm Bullock down, who was ready to beat the “truth” out of Mackie.  Bullock plays the hypocrite card, bringing up the fact that Gordon “killed” Oswald a few days before.

  • The dialogue between Gordon and Bullock was MUCH better this episode.  It was much more real.  Last week’s episode seemed to use their fighting as exposition.

Oswald is walking down what looks to be a state route, 9 miles outside of the city.  He is still in the same clothes, and is waddling along (I used that on purpose.  I can be campy, too!).  He tries to hitchhike, as it seems that he has been trying for some time without success.  Finally, a car with what could be described as two “frat boys” pick Oswald up, but not before giving him a hard time getting into the car.  After a few minutes on conversation, Oswald seems to have found some new friends.  They even offered him a beer.  This lasts for about 10 seconds, as one of the boys mentions how he was walking like a Penguin.  Oswald reacted the same way any other person would.  He broke his beer bottle and stabbed the boy in the neck with it.

  • If this is the structure of the series, two arcs revolving around Gordon and Oswald respectively, then this series will do well.  I have to problem with Bruce Wayne in the show, but he needs to be a supporting character to Jim’s arc.  He doesn’t need one of his own.  Not yet.

Back at GCPD, Bullock and Gordon are in Captain Essen’s office, arguing about when to bend the rules in Gotham.  While discussing the validity of Mackie’s claims, Edward Ngyma interrupts with the result’s of Mackie’s blood test.  He found traces of a high grade sedative in Mackie’s blood, a sedative that had not been used since Arkham Asylum closed years ago.  After some protesting from Jim, Essen’s orders are to NOT leak this case to the press to avoid panic, even though getting the information out there could bring about some leads.  This kidnapping happened on Mooney’s turf.  They need to go talk to her, but Bullock wonders if “she’s still mad at them.”

  • I know I can use the internet to find out, but did they make any mention last week that their captain was Sarah Essen?  She’s still a cop, but her comic version is supposed to be a transfer that has an affair with Gordon.  I am interested to see where this version is going to go.  Also, they are reporting to a Captain.  Where is the Commissioner?  Does Gordon become such a good cop they create the position for him? This is geek speak, and is not taking away from the episode.

At Mooney’s club, an all woman rock band is playing, and the club seems to be at capacity.  She is joined at her table by Carmine Falcone, who wants to have a talk.  He says that before he had Oswald killed, he confessed that Mooney was trying to make a play and take Falcone down.  She of course denies it, but he still sends a message, having her bartender/boy-toy beaten to a pulp in front of her.  After their “civil conversation” concludes, Mooney finally breaks and has the club cleared out.

  • Jada Pinkett’s over the top performance is one of the things I REALLY like about this show.  It’s campy and subdued at the same time, not going overboard to where it’s a cartoon.  I did notice that this episode she seemed to channel her inner Eartha Kitt.

A woman with a thick accent is now talking, fawning over Oswald.  Montoya and Allen are at the home of Oswald’s mother, trying to determine the whereabouts of their missing snitch.

  • Carol Kane is playing this role well.  She makes it easy to see where Oswald gets his “idiosyncrasies”

Back a Mooney’s club, she and Butch are discussing how she tried too early to take out Falcone.  For now, she will bide her time, but when all is said and done, it will be HER that kills “the old man.”

Oswald drives up to a farm in the frat boy’s SUV, Gotham City well visible in the background.  He inquires about the trailer for rent at the front of the property.  He is wearing the clothes of one of the boys, trying to pass as normal.  Oswald and the Farmer exchange money and pleasantries, Oswald trying to hide the body wrapped in plastic in the back seat.  The Penguin now has his “home base.”

The two kids from the beginning of the episode finally wake up (I hope this isn’t real time.  It’s been quite a bit.)  They are in some sort of basement, with a few of the other kidnapping victims.  Just to add to their fear, there is a pit in the middle of room, the bottom as dark as the one in 300.

  •      I am sure that pit will NOT be used later in the episode.  They will just pretend it’s not there.  Mark my words.

Bullock and Gordon finally go to see Mooney, and they let bygones be bygones as best they can.  She has a new-found respect for Jim, since he’s the one that took out Oswald.  They ask her about the kidnappings.  She knows that a buyer overseas is in the market for children of all ages, regardless of looks.  Gordon pushes about the identity of the buyer, to which Mooney HIGHLY implies that he should let that go for now.

At Barbara’s apartment, Jim is talking to her about the case.  She brings up how corrupt the system is, and tries to get Jim to confess what he is hiding from her.  He denies any secrets.  The more Barbara knows, the more dangerous it can be for her.  She asks why they don’t go to the press, and decides to take matters into her own hands and calls in an anonymous tip.

Captain Essen is NOT pleased with the headline of the Gotham Gazette the next day.  She demands to know if either Bullock or Gordon leaked the story to the press.  They both truthfully denied leaking the story.  The duo are able to track the drug to three different distributors in the city, and set off to investigate each one.

Doug and Patty are at one of the distributors, obviously the one they are using (C’mon guys, it’s pretty easy to keep up).  While the kids are being held captive in the basement, the owner of the shop argues with the couple over how much for the rest of the drug.  The negotiations come to a halt as Bullock and Gordon arrive with a search warrant.  Knowing they have been caught, Doug and Patty start a fire fight and escape.  Gordon and Bullock save the children, but not before shooting one of the supplier’s partners, sending him falling down the “Spartan-Pit.”  Wow.  Guess I was wrong.

  • The conversation between Bullock and Gordon about relationships outside the distributor was once again better.  It furthers the characters along rather than set them up.

The mayor is holding a press conference at GCPD, calling Bullock and Gordon heroes.  He then speaks of a new initiative to get children off the streets so that they can get the care they need.  By that he means send all of them upstate to juvenile detention.  One of these many children is Selina.

  • I KNOW it has to be the weirdest coincidence, but she looks a LOT like Michelle Pfeiffer.
  • Richard Kind is usually a goofy character actor. (Meaning he plays goofy characters.)  I think it’s a breath of fresh air that he’s playing it straight for once, albeit a corrupt straight.

Alfred comes to the station to see Jim.  After the incident with the candle, and Bruce’s respect for Jim, Alfred feels that Jim might be able to talk some sense into Bruce.  Gordon agrees to visit Wayne Manor the next day.  Back at the manor, Bruce is doodling in a notebook.  They seem to be his twisted version of the eyes of his parents’ killer.  At the same time, he is listening to heavy metal through his headphones.

  • I hope the relationship between Jim and Alfred doesn’t become one of distrust and resentment.  With what Gordon has to deal with at GCPD, it might be good to have someone on HIS side of the fence.
  • I am giving it a pass, because he’s a kid, but if he puts on black nail polish, NOT COOL.

The children that are to be sent upstate are beginning to be loaded onto school buses.  Selina is giving the corrections officer a hard time, pleading that she needs to speak to Gordon.  This falls on deaf ears and she is loaded on the bus.  Before Selina can react, Patty and Doug take control of the bus, taking the children to another location.

  • For what the characters of Doug and Patty are supposed to be, Lily Tyler and Frank Whaley were perfect choices.

The mayor bursts into Essen’s office, irate that they lost an entire busload of kids.  Meanwhile, Bullock and Gordon are “questioning” the drug distributor.  Gordon understands what lives are at stake, and lets Bullock cut loose on the man…with a phonebook (Well, at least we know the show takes place before 2010).  He is able to describe to them the logo on the truck they had been using: a blue plate and a silver fork.

Patty and Doug unload the kids out of the bus and into a shipping crate at some sort of warehouse.  They seem to be missing one, and Patty heads inside the bus to investigate.  Using skills that will come in handy a few years from now, Selina is able to avoid being caught and hides within the warehouse.  Patty and Doug write it off as a mistake, and are pleased with the amount of children they DO have.  Patty says “The Dollmaker will be so pleased with us.”

  • For those of you up to date on The new 52, the Dollmaker is the one who removed the Joker’s face in Detective Comics #1.  This could be the “big bad” of the season.

Gordon and Bullock are having no luck finding companies with a fork and plate logo.  Jim finally realizes that they are not looking at a fork and plate, but the Earth and a trident.  They head to Trident Shipping.

One of the Trident Shipping’s guards enters the room where the shipping crate is.  Selina had ripped out the man’s eyes.  Patty, Doug, and the rest of the crew go in search of her.  Patty “takes care” of the guard, who now blind, is useless.

  • Patty having to reload the gun was a funny moment to break the tension.

Patty comes across Selina, who is hiding among some crates.  Before Patty can shoot her, Gordon is able to knock her out, saving Selina’s life.  Bullock comes around the corner, Doug as his captive.  For the second time, Bullock and Gordon are able to save the children.

At Wayne Manor, Alfred is explaining how Bruce is hurting himself.  Gordon questions whether or not Bruce should seek help.  Alfred says he made a promise to Thomas, to trust Bruce to find his own path.  He is a Wayne after all.  Bruce comes in unannounced.  Bruce says he is just “testing” himself.  Bruce changes the subject, wanting to talk about the kidnapped children.  Bruce decides to help by giving all the children new clothes.  It seems that the philanthropist is starting to show through as well.

  • I laughed a LOT when Alfred yelled at Bruce for “sneaking up on people.”  THESE are the kinds of nods to the future this show can do, and do well.

At the police station, the children are still being sent upstate.  Selina blackmails the social worker into getting Gordon to speak with her.

Oswald is in his new “lair,” staring at a diagram of the important people in the Gotham.  His phone rings, and it is the mother of the remaining frat boy, who Oswald is holding for ransom.  Showing he still has a long way to go, the mother thinks it is some sort of prank, and hangs up on him.  This doesn’t make Oswald very happy.  While the fate of the frat boy is left ambiguous, it is obvious nothing good happened.

Gordon finally talks to Selina.  She does NOT want to go upstate.  She says she has information, and says she will provide it if she can stay in Gotham.  As he begins to question her, she reveals that she saw the murder, and knows who killed Thomas and Martha Wayne.

EASTER EGGS

  • The beginning of the episode with Bruce and the candle looks similar to the comics when he takes his bedside oath to rid Gotham of evil.
  • Selina is still wearing her Catwoman Goggles
  • The Gotham City Oswald walks past looks like the one the Batmobile drives past during the 1966 series.  The difference is the show sign is 14 miles, where this one was 9.
  • One of the skyscrapers had a Queen Consolidated logo on top of it.  Arrow Crossover?  Please?

I changed things up a bit, putting my review WITHIN the recap, so no Good/Opportunities section.  This episode was a vast improvement from the pilot.  Keeping the arcs to two, Gordon and Oswald will overall help the story move forward in a more watchable manor.  The dialogue between Bullock and Gordon made more sense, and the Easter Eggs weren’t cheesy, but fun.  I still feel it can be a LITTLE better, but they are on the right track.

GRADE: B++ (I can’t give it an A just yet, but it was REALLY close, hence the two pluses)

YOUR FACE

Donnie (@dtrain1813)

Just a Quick Post

I don’t have a whole lot to bring up in this post.  I think I am going to revisit one of my recaps and do some editing.  Since I don’t get any screeners, I can’t watch shows early.  Also, I have a day job, so that means I have to wait until the next day before I can do the write-ups.  That means the second I am done writing, I post it.  To say that every post I make is perfect is just plain stupid.  So have a great day everyone and godspeed.

YOUR FACE

Donnie (@dtrain1813)

Doctor Who – Season 8, Episode 6: The Caretaker

     caretaker4

     Since it’s my birthday weekend, I was hoping BBC America would give me a “hum-dinger” of an episode (I put hum-dinger in quotes to signify that I am 36, not 86).  We can’t always get what we want, and I ended up with my least favorite episode of the season.  Here is the recap/review for “The Caretaker.”

The Doctor and Clara are on some sort desert planet, chained up as if being sacrificed.  What we think is going to be the episode turns out to be a montage of Clara trying to balance her normal life as Danny’s girlfriend with that of being the Doctor’d companion.  Its VERY similar to the Pond’s Penultimate episode last season.  At the end of the montage, Clara is ready to go on the next adventure.  The Doctor, acting very strange (for him), tells her that he going on this adventure alone, and that she should enjoy the time off.  She suspiciously agrees.  The next day at school Danny questions why she seems always in a rush.  She assures him that regardless of what else she has going on, the next few days are all about him.  As the school day is about to begin, the headmaster introduces them to the new caretaker (janitor).  To Clara’s surprise and irritation, the man introduces himself as John Smith, but you can call him…the Doctor.

After the rest of the faculty leaves the lounge, Clara goes back and confronts the Doctor as to what is going on.  The Doctor won’t tell her, just assures her that he can handle what is going going on.

Somewhere nearby the school, two kids are playing a video game.  A policeman catches them and sends them back to the school.  He hears a noise coming from an abandoned building.  Pro-Tip:  If you hear a weird noise in London, please call for back up, as this policeman stumbles upon a robotic alien creature and is fried to a crisp by what I can describe as the lasers from Predator.

  • The reason didn’t say “what I can ONLY describe” is because there are many ways I could have described the lasers.  I just chose not too.

As Clara is teaching class, she stumbles upon the Doctor installing things around the school.  It’s hard to tell if she is frustrated that she’s there, or if she’s mad to not be included.

  • This is followed by a few comedic scenes with her running into various people at the school.  For some reason, it didn’t really click with me

When she finally catches up with the Doctor, he is speaking with Danny.  Another English teacher, one who looks VERY similar to 11, bow tie and all, tells the Doctor about Danny’s experience as a soldier, which automatically turns the Doctor off to him.  He projects this by consistently referring to Danny as the P.E. teacher, not the Maths teacher.

  • I know that it’s a cultural thing, but every time the say “Maths teacher” I want to ask ‘Does he get ALL the feels when he teaches ALL the Maths?”

Danny being a soldier puts the Doctor off SO much that he doesn’t even acknowledge that he looks exactly like Orson Pink, the name they met at the end of the universe.

  • Did I miss something?  I know that Tennant never liked saluting and such, but I don’t recall the Doctor hating soldiers so much. (Hey there.  This is Donnie, about five minutes after writing that.  I see that it rhymes.  I am leaving it in.  It’s my birthday, so I can do what I want.)  If that was the case, why was he so close with the Brigadier, a soldier as well.  I first noticed it in “Into the Dalek,” but the Doctor never explained himself.  I hope this gets cleared up soon.  BUT, if I DID miss something, please let me know.  I am okay with that.

The Doctor begins to question Clara about whether or not he will finally get to meet the man she has been seeing.  As Adrian, the fellow teacher with the moppy hair and bow tie walks up to ask Clara about school, the Doctor makes the wrong assumption.

We see the doctor installing some Doctory things around the school and heads back to the caretaker’s area to turn them on in the T.A.R.D.I.S.  He is followed in there by Courtney, one of Clara’s problem students at the school.  After some banter, the Doctor is able to shoo Courtney away as Clara walks in, where the Doctor finally tells her what is going on.

He tells Clara he has set up scanners all around the school to find any alien technology.  The scanner comes up with the creature that killed the policeman earlier in the episode.  It is called a Skovox Blitzer.  It’s a killing machine that is attracted to violence.  Hmph.  I guess my Predator comparison wasn’t too far off.  I win!

Inside the T.A.R.D.I.S., the Doctor shows Clara his new toy, and invisibility watch.  He going to lure the creature to the school, but use the watch as to not have the creature scan him.  He will then detonate the “time-mines” he placed around the school, sending the creature billions of years into the future.

  • What’s funny:  If that plot was featured on an episode of NCIS, EVERYONE WOULD WATCH THAT.  Here, it’s “Well, of course.”

Clara tries to tagalong to help, but the Doctor doesn’t need her still.  They misunderstand each other as to the identity of Clara’s boyfriend, something done in every sitcom ever.

That evening, the Doctor begins his plan to trap the creature.  Danny, who broke his date with Clara, decides to investigate what the “caretaker” has been up to during the day.  He begins to find the time-mines around the school.  The Doctor is able to lead the creature back to the school, but when he is about the spring the trap, he realizes that Danny has moved all the mines.  The Doctor was able to send the creature into the future, but because the mines had been moved, it is only temporary, and the creature will be sent back to this time in about 3 days time.  Since the creature has scanned the Doctor, it will kill him on sight.

It is during this snafu that Clara and the Doctor tell Danny the truth.  Who the Doctor is, the T.A.R.D.I.S., all of it.  It is also revealed that Danny is actually Clara’s boyfriend, and not the “Smith-alike.”  In her anger with the situation, she reveals that she is in fact in love with Danny.

  • Not sure why, but this scene seemed too much all at once.  Some of the one-liners were okay, but it didn’t have the gravitas the previous scenes were setting up.

Clara talks with Danny, and he wants to trust her, but the lies seem to be a bit much.  Is the person Danny sees the same person the Doctor sees?  To prove that she is the same person regardless of who she is with, she has him put on the invisibility watch and enters the T.A.R.D.I.S. with her, which the Doctor notices right away, leading to another argument.

  • I have also decided that starting next week, I am just going to type TARDIS.  I hope you can forgive me.

After Danny and Clara storm off, Courtney shows up again asking what’s in “The Box.”  Out of frustration, the Doctor just shows her.  No lie, no story to get out of trouble, just flat out tells Courtney the truth.

  • I really hope this is just a random one off.  The Doctor and Clara being snarky with each other is more than enough for me.  Adding a third might be overkill.

Parent’s evening is starting at the school, so what else could happen?  Oh yes, the Skovox returns 2 days early, well before the Doctor’s plan is ready to go.  He calls Clara out of her conference, and she leaves to help him, Danny following.  The Doctor has Clara lead the Skovox straight to the T.A.R.D.I.S. as the Doctor prepares his machine that is supposed to match the Skovox’ master giving orders.  Clara leads the creature back to the caretaker’s room, but the Doctor still needs time to calibrate his machine.  As the Skovox is preparing to fire, Danny rushes in and causes the distraction needed to the Doctor’s machine to work…by randomly doing a front flip over the creature.

  • Look, I can buy the fact he’s a soldier, but he’s now NIGHTWING, too?  I understand I was watching Doctor Who but that was ridiculous.
  • Also, notice how I went with Nightwing, and not Batman?  That’s called expanding horizons, people.

The Skovox, having been shut down, is taken back to the time vortex where it was belonged.  He takes Courtney with him since he promised her earlier.

The episode ends with the policeman killed earlier is explaining what happened to a man in an office.  Suddenly he realizes he has no idea how he escaped the creature.  The man behind the desk explains to him that he DIDN’T escape, and that this is the afterlife.  Missy exits another office, then walks away.  The overall plot begins to thicken…

Quotes

  • “Oh, you recognize me then.  “You’re wearing a different coat!” “You saw right through that.”

The Good:

  • Some of the one liners were funny
  • The Matt Smith Look-Alike was a nice touch

Opportunities:

  • That backflip.  Ugh.
  • Everything in this episode just seemed rushed.  To me, it felt that they were trying to speed through the story just so we could see the end, showing that this story WAS part of the overall arc.

GRADE: B-

I don’t really have much to say about this one.  Maybe if I watch it via binging, I will have another outlook, and will re-review it.  Until then, I will say that I have definitely seen better from the Doctor.

YOUR FACE

Donnie (@dtrain1813)

Photo Credit: http://i2.cdnds.net/14/39/618×583/caretaker4.jpg

Free Writing – 09/27

Tomorrow is my birthday, and I am going to spend it in my pajamas watching movies and playing video games.  The only “work” I think I will accomplish is do my write up for tonight’s Doctor Who.  The more of these that I do, the better I am getting at them.  I tried doing this last year with Arrow, but I gave up because I wasn’t confident in my writing ability.  Hell, I STILL am not confident in my writing ability.  All you have to do is read the comments section of any website, and it’s very easy to run away with you tail between your legs.

As time went on, I started to realize that my fear was something I could work through.  If everyone ran away because of being afraid of what other people thought, nothing would get done.  A lot of people I admire have done things people HATED.  However, these people are still around.  They learned to deal with the fear of not being liked and were able to still act.  That’s what I am doing with this blog.

But I digress.  I was talking about my TV recaps.  When I first started doing my recaps, I would watch the show once without writing anything.  I am just watching and enjoying the show.  Then I would watch it a second time, and write an outline of the article as I watch.  I usually use On demand or Hulu so I could use my PC to write the outline.  I have been able to evolve a little bit.  I still watch the show twice, once as a fan and the second as a writer.  However the second watch I am able to just type the article as I watch.  I don’t have to do the outline anymore.  I am actually pretty proud of myself for that as it pertains to the TV reviews.  I still do outlines for articles that aren’t free writing or TV reviews.  For example, I wrote an article about a month ago about the Marvel Cinematic Universe.  I have a Wonder Woman notebook that I wrote all my ideas for the article and was able to structure something I am pretty proud of.  Within the next month, I am going to try and post a Batman article I have been working quite a bit on.  Same thing here.  My notebook is filled with all my ideas and I am just now working on giving them a structure.

Well, that’s my 30 minutes.  I am going to play Infinity for awhile.  :)

YOUR FACE

Donnie (@dtrain1813)

Free Writing – 09/26

I am all caught up on my TV recaps until tomorrow night with Doctor Who, so I decided to just write whatever for today.  It feels good to take a break.  I know it’s going to be a lot of work to get where I want to be with my writing, and I totally accept and am ready for it.  That doesn’t mean I can’t relax for a bit and just write whatever comes to mind.

Sunday is my birthday.  I turn 36 years old.  I remember last year when I turned 35 (that’s using the most BASIC of maths) I kept thinking how crazy it was that not only was I in my 30s, but in my MID 30s to boot.  This year, no so much.  I am pretty blase about the actual age thing happening.  I am wondering if it’s because I am getting more mature, or if its something else.  I hope it’s not the mature thing.  I kind of enjoying liking the things I like.  Just because I AM older doesn’t mean I have to ACT it.

Let me explain myself a bit when I say that.  I think I have written about this before, but this is free writing, so I can pretty much do whatever the hell I want.  Being MATURE and being RESPONSIBLE are not the same thing.  I am an adult, and as such I have certain duties I have to fulfill.  I have to give 100% at my job.  I have to make sure all my bills are paid.  I have to make sure my wife is happy.  I have to make sure my house is clean  (Brian Sargent, Darren Barr, Andy Agard, Brian Daniels, and Jay Grigalunas, I sincerely apologize that it took me that long to learn how to do that last one).  By taking responsibility for all the things I just mentioned, that gives my the complete right to act as mature as I want.  If I want to play Disney Infinity 2.0 all weekend for my birthday, then I’m going to do it, because I earned that right.  :)

Another thing I would like to clear up re: Maturity is how to act.  I say I can act as mature as I want because I fulfill my responsibilities.  That is true to an extent.  I can be immature and play a video game, but I can’t just throw a temper tantrum at Safeway because they are out of Pumpkin Spice Oreos.  People can still be immature and not humiliate themselves in public.

I think I am going to cut this one short.  I was starting to get into some more personal stuff, but I don’t want to write that on this forum.  I may write something separate for only the people that I want to see it.  Back to normal tomorrow with the return of Doctor Who.

YOUR FACE

Donnie (@dtrain1813)

Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. – Season 2, Episode 1: Shadows

     LUCY LAWLESS, NICK BLOOD, WILMER CALDERON

     After what I would call a rough first half of season 1, AOS really picked up in its second half, tying directly to the events of Captain America: The Winter Soldier.  With S.H.I.E.L.D. no longer a sanctioned group in the eyes of the government, can the new director, Phil Coulson, use what remnants are left and rebuild?  Here is the review/recap of the Season 2 premiere, “Shadows.”

In Austria, 1945, a HYDRA unit is clearing out a compound of mysterious items.  With the Red Skull dead, the supernatural relics are open game.  One item in particular item, called the Obelisk, catches the eye of HYDRA general Reinhart.  According to the Red Skull, the Obelisk holds the answer to death itself.  The gates to the compound burst open, and a unit lead by Agent Peggy Carter and Cap’s Howling Commandos storm the HYDRA base.  Carter takes the Obelisk in the name of the Strategic Scientific Reserve.  She places it in a crate and marks it 084.  The box will be shipped to Howard Stark for examination.

  • I LOVE the tie in to Agent Carter.  Also cool to notice that the alien from last season was in one of the crates.

According to Peggy, this is the last HYDRA compound on record.  They’ve found them all, now they need an organization to keep an eye on both the technology found and the people, like Howard Stark, who is examining it.  And with that, we have a 4 minute back door pilot to Agent Carter,  and I am already on board.

Fast forward to Alexandria, VA in present day.  Skye rappels down from the ceiling of an abandoned warehouse.  Drug deal gone bad?  Probably something a little worse.  May and Triplett are in another part of the warehouse.  They are running surveillance on a former S.H.I.E.L.D. agent selling information to a group of mercenaries.  As the two parties argue over the terms of the deal, another man rushes in, kills the seller and his guards, and takes off with the information, which is the location of many of the artifacts seized from S.H.I.E.L.D. by the government following the destruction of the Triskelion.  The mercenaries open fire on the man, but the bullets just bounce off him.  The thief makes his escape out of a nearby window, and a 25 foot drop.  As one of the thought dead guards aims his gun at the mercenaries, Skye takes him out with the night-night gun.  It turns out the mercenaries were working undercover, with Skye, Triplett and May as their backup.  Sirens are heard in the distance, and the group goes dark, following orders of the new director of S.H.I.E.L.D., Phil Coulson.

Back at “The Playground,” their new base, there is a news interview with General Glen Talbot, who is vowing to take down all remaining S.H.I.E.L.D. agents, believing them to be just as bad as HYDRA.  We are also introduced to Alphonso “Mack” MacKenzie, the resident mechanic.  The group returns from the mission, and we see the names of the mercenaries, Isabelle Hartley, Lance Hunter and Idaho.  The group is still arguing about how the mission went south.  Agent Koenig is there to greet them, informing Agent May that Coulson want to debrief.

  • Yes, he’s wearing his lanyard.

Koenig talks with Skye about the bullet proof man, and Skye shows him metal shards that she found at the scene.  She says she is going to take them down to the lab for analysis.  May goes to Coulson’s office.  She is worried about him, as he has been travelling the world attempting to recruit new agents, will little success.  He has been having to travel under normal channels until the cloaking circuitry on the Bus has been fixed.  He then asks May her opinion on the mercenary group.  She says they can trust them, even if they are just out for the money.  Coulson looks at the little intel they WERE able to recover.  He cancels all of his flights.  The item the third party is after is not just a 084, an object on unknown origin.  It is the FIRST 084.

We now see the thief enter a van, his homebase it seems.  He communicates with a HYDRA agent, as a reward for this assignment and payment for the next, the HYDRA agent gives the man a rare diamond.  Once the man touches it, his arm BECOMES the diamond.  Welcome to the MCU, Crusher Creel…THE ABSORBING MAN.

Back at the Playground, Coulson wants to meet with Hartley, Hunter, and Idaho.  May asks Skye how the “mood” in the lab was.  The scene shifts there, and we see Simmons slowly talking to Fitz.  She is trying to help him analyze the metal, and he is just staring into space.  She ask if he can hear here, and after a moment he takes off his hearing aid and says yes he can here her.  It seems some of the side effects of the season finale are hearing and memory loss.  He also has a hard time remembering certain words.  May comes down to check on the metal sample and the sample suddenly becomes flesh and blood.  Fitz says he can find out whose blood it is, but May, seeing Fitz is in pain, offers her help.

In Coulson’s office, Hartley relays their experience with the assassin to Coulson.  e needs their help, and Hunter is willing to help, as long as it’s within his price range.  They finally learns Creel’s name, and learn that he was a S.H.I.E.L.D. prisoner that was supposed to be executed.  Realizing that John Garrett signed off on the order, Coulson know someone that might have information on Creel’s whereabouts.

On Coulson’s orders, Skye is tasked with trying to figure out the alien writing that Garrett scratched out last season (No mention of Coulson doing the same thing).  Coulson confronts Skye that he has a job for her, one that she is NOT going to look forward to.  She enters a special cell within the Playground, as meets with Ward, who is being held by Coulson in an attempt to gather information about HYDRA.  After some Lector/Clarice type banter (Not a BULLSEYE comparison, but it does the trick) Ward tells Skye about how Creel’s powers work.  He also tells her how HYRDA was able to communicate using S.H.I.E.L.D. frequencies.  Skye closes the cell before Ward can tell her about her father.

Ward was telling the truth, as the team is able to find the frequencies HYRDA is using.  It turns out HYRDA is not as dead as they thought, as there are locations using the secret S.H.I.E.L.D. frequencies all around the globe.

General Talbot is walking with in family in Washington D.C.  A disguised Agent Tripleet bumps into him, dropping a phone in his pocket.  Talbot answers the ringing phone and it’s Coulson informing the General that he is in danger, as they have learned he is Creel’s next target.  Always one for arrogance over judgement, Talbot hangs up on Coulson.  May comes out from hiding to save Talbot from Creel, standing behind him about to attack.  Creel picks up a ball and chain from a walkway fixture and absorbs its properties (for comic fans: NICE!).  He and may fight some more as Talbot’s back up arrives to get him to safety.  After Skye shoots Creel with a night-night rifle, he is taken into custody.  As Talbot is pushed into an SUV, he realizes that his “back-up” is actually Hartley and Hunter ins disguise.

Creel has been taken to a secure facility, and is locked in a glass cell.  Talbot is ALSO being held, but in the S.H.I.E.L.D. interrogation room.  Coulson tries to reason with him, attempting to convince him that S.H.I.E.L.D. is one of the good guys.  He wants to team with Talbot, because they realize that Creel WANTED to be captured so he can have access to all the S.H.I.E.L.D. artifacts, which are being held at the same location.  Talbot, once again not listening to reason, is knocked out and left on the side of the road, but not before the team can acquire his fingerprints and voice patterns.  They will need these items, so they can plan their mission to stop Creel themselves.  As they plan their mission, Fitz and Simmons look on, feeling left out because of Ftiz’ condition.

After some pushback from Hartley and her crew, the team infiltrate the government’s facility.  Their goal is to acquire the 084 artifact before Creel can.  Searching through the archives, Hartley is able to find the item, the Obelisk, from the beginning of the episode.  She is attacked by Creel, who escaped his cell and was hiding in plan site, absorbing the environment around him.  Hartley attempts to use the Obelisk, but the power is too much, and it begins to decompose her arm.  Hunter gets Hartlett out of harm’s way, but the rest of the team still has a second item to acquire.  They exit the back of the warehouse to a hanger, and as May escapes gunfire via a motorcycle, Skye and Triplett take off in a Quinjet, activating its cloaking device and disappearing into the sky.

At the playground, Mack questions Coulson why they needed a Quinjet.  Coulson KNOWS they need it, because if they are to help people, they need to work in the shadows, like the S.H.I.E.L.D. of old.  He also knows that Fitz is cracking, and will be unable to fix the cloaking circuitry on the Bus.  Coulson says Fitz has not been the same since Simmons left, even though she thought it would help in.  It turns out that The Simmons we have been seeing was just a figment of Fitz’ imagination the entire time.

Knowing she is dying, Hartlett tells Hunter to cut her arm off, as it is the only way to save her.  As they are making their escape, Creel stands in front of their SUV, turning into the asphalt road.  He flips the SUV, killing both Hartlett and Idaho.  Hunter feints death to escape being noticed by Creel, who escapes with the Obelisk.

In the epilogue, we see the HYRDA agent who acted as Creel’s handler speaking with another man, Doctor Whitehall.  He informs the man that the Obelisk has been retrieved and everything is falling into place.  The man is happy, talking of how long he has waited for this moment.  He turns around, and it is General Reinhart, the HYDRA leader from 1945, and he hasn’t aged a day.

THE GOOD:

  • Almost everything, but here are some points:
  • The Agent Carter tie-in.  The MCU is HUGE.  It’s good to see AOS finally realizing it.
  • The Fitz/Simmons twist.  SO well done.  I did NOT see it coming.  The two of them are so close that the idea of one not being there didn’t even cross my mind.
  • The new “Shadow” dynamic.  No pun intended, but I like how they are a covert team now.
  • VFX.  They didn’t go overboard the the effects.  The few effects they DID use were movie quality.
  • The same with the score.  MUCH better than last season.
  • Every character is no longer a “proceduaral trope.”  They now seem to be there own person.
  • Skye.  I like the “I know what needs to be done and how S.H.I.E.L.D. works” Skye, rather than the “I have to argue with EVERYTHING I’m told and be annoying” Skye.

OPPORTUNITIES:

  • I know they are going to save it for a big reveal down the road, but I wish the epilogue showed where Simmons really was.  I understand why, though.
  • I had to look up the name of the HYRDA handler.  They could have identified him better.
  • Lucy Lawless should have lasted more than one episode.  Then again, this is a comic-book series.  Not only could she come back, but Bill Paxton could show his face again at anytime as well.

GRADE: A

At the end of last season, they began to crack the code as far as a direction.  This episode shows they not only cracked it, but are adding onto it as well.  Kudos Marvel.  I can’t wait until next week!

P.S.  I would like to see RDJ cameo an episode.  I will write this every week until it happens.  I would go on a fast, but tomorrow is Chipotle Thursday, so F.  THAT.

YOUR FACE

Donnie (@dtrain1813)

Photo Credit:

Gotham – Season 1, Episode 1: Pilot

     goth_article

     Thanks to George Lucas, every time the phrase “prequel” is thrown around, people become very wary.  Gotham is no different.  Many people had their doubts about a show based in the Batman universe that didn’t have Batman in it (well, it does, in a sense, but that’s splitting hairs.)  Was the first episode able to put minds at ease?  Let’s find out.  Here is the recap and review of “Pilot.”

We look upon the skyline of Gotham City, busier at night than during the day.  A teenage girl is running across the rooftops.  While she is never introduced officially, the goggles she wears on her head make it obvious that we are meeting Selina Kyle for the first time.  As she walks the streets, she steals milk from a grocery customer, and narrowly escapes getting caught as she pick pockets a man’s wallet.  Escaping into an alleyway, she uses the milk to feed a stray cat.  Hearing people coming down the alley, Selina hides in a fire escape.

These aren’t just random people, these are the Waynes: Thomas, Martha, and Bruce, and if you know anything about anything, you know what is about to happen next.  The family is confronted by a man in a ski mask and a gun.  He takes Thomas’ wallet and Martha’s pearl necklace.  What follows is Gotham’s version of on of the most iconic scenes in comics history.  A Pearl Necklace, breaking, falling to the ground, followed by two gunshots.  Thomas and Martha Wayne are dead.  The gunman points his weapon at Bruce, pauses, then just walks away.  Bruce looks down in horror at his parents’ lifeless bodies, and lets out a scream.  The scream signifies the end of his childhood, and the beginning of his journey to become the Dark Knight.  Watching on in horror is Selina, the only witness to the murder.

The scene shifts to the GCPD, looking in complete disarray.  A man being brought into what I can assume is the “drunk tank” is muttering about needing his pills.  He breaks free, grabs an officer’s gun and takes her hostage, still wanting his pills.  As all guns are drawn on the criminal, a young police officer, Jim Gordon, sans mustache and cigarettes, tells everyone to calm down.  He tries to negotiate with the criminal, using some Aspirin as a decoy for the man’s pills.  Jim is eventually able to bring the criminal down.  After apologizing for getting a “little too rough,” other police officers begin to beat the criminal down even worse, much to Jim’s dismay.

Jim’s partner, veteran detective Harvey Bullock, reads him the riot act about how to act if a criminal takes hold of a policeman’s gun.  Before the argument can escalate, Gordon and Bullock are called to a double homicide in the theatre district.

They arrive on the scene, and Jim sees Bruce sitting alone, not having spoken since his parents were killed.  As Jim is talking to Bruce, Bullock realizes who the victims are, and wants no part of the case.  Right off the “bat” (sorry) we know that Bullock is not on the up and up.  Jim talks to Bruce, letting him know he understands what he going through, as his OWN father died in front of him, after being hit by a drunk driver.  Bruce opens up, able to describe what he saw, specifically the murderer’s shiny shoes.  Jim vows to Bruce that he will find the man that did this.  A black car pulls up and a man gets out and Bruce rushes to him, hugging him tightly.  Jim introduces himself to the man, Alfred Pennyworth.  Alfred takes Bruce home, telling him to keep his head high, and to not let them see him cry.

Getting some coffee at a diner, Bullock yells a Gordon again, this time for talking to a witness without him.  He doesn’t want either of them mixed up with the Wayne murders, because of the trouble it could bring.  The two are then confronted by Renee Montoya and Crispus Allen of the Major Crimes Unit.  They want to take over the case, and after some verbal barbs back and forth, Bullock decides to take the case out of spite.

Back at the station, Bullock and Gordon’s captain tells them to do whatever is necessary to capture the Wayne’s murderer.  After Bullock unsuccessfully attempts to get Gordon removed as his partner, they round up and interrogate some known muggers, looking for some sort of lead.

  • The dialogue between the two here seemed a little forced.  It got better as the episode went on, thank goodness.

Having no luck, the duo meet with the crime lab expert, Edward Nygma.  They deduced that the bullet was high-end ammo, fired from a gun not in their data base.  Gordon thinks that the murder may have mob connections.  Bullock decides they need to see an acquaintance of his, crime boss Fish Mooney (and employee of Carmine Falcone), who may have information.

They arrive at her night club, hearing what sounds like a beating in the back of it.  They are right, as Fish is using a bat on one of her employees for stealing money from her.  As she leaves to speak with Gordon and Bullock, her thugs let the “rookie,” Oswald (Cobblepot) have a go with the traitor.  Fish and Bullock talk as Gordon decides to take a gander out back.  He comes upon the beating, and of course no one is talking.  Understanding the situation, he heads back inside as Bullock and Mooney finish their conversation.  They leave, but not before Gordon and Mooney give each other the “Good Guy-Bad Guy” stare down.

After the meeting with Mooney, Jim stays the night at the apartment of his fiance, Barbara Keane.  Bullock calls a few hours later with a lead.  A thug named Mario Pepper was seen trying to fence a pearl necklace, like the one Martha Wayne was wearing.  They head to Pepper’s house, and are let into the apartment by Pepper’s daughter, Ivy.  They begin to interrogate Pepper (All the while Ivy is obsessing over her plants) and he runs.  Gordon chases him through a warehouse.

  • I was NOT a fan of the Go-Pro camera angle they used during this chase.  I feel they either need to figure out how to do it better, to try something else.

Catching up to Pepper on street, Gordon wrestles with him, but is taken down.  As Pepper is about to kill Gordon, Bullock shoots Pepper, killing HIM instead.  After searching through his apartment, they were able to find the pearls, supposedly closing the case.  I say supposedly because we then find Oswald meeting with Montoya and Allen, informing them that Mooney framed Pepper, and the police were also involved.  He mentioned Gordon and Bullock, which leaves Montoya to believe they are BOTH on the take.  Bullock and Gordon attend the Wayne funeral, and Bruce thanks them for finding the man who killed his parents.  We also see Selina at the service, lurking in the shadows as she’s been doing the entire episode.

Renee Montoya pays a visit to Barbara, telling her that she is with a bad man, thinking Gordon is on the take.  Barbara doesn’t believe her, but not until after many allusions are made to Barbara and Renee’s obvious past relationship.  Later that day, Barbara confronts Jim about framing Pepper.  Jim in turn confronts Montoya.  He tells her to stay out of it, as HE is the one that will find the real killer.

Jim goes back to Pepper’s apartment and speaks to his wife.  He searches Pepper’s closet and realizes that Pepper did not have the shoes that Bruce described.  He tells Bullock his findings, telling him that he thinks Mooney framed Pepper on Carmine Falcone’s orders.  Bullock pleads with Gordon to forget about the case.

Not listening of course, Gordon goes to Mooney’s club and confronts her.  Her goons come into the room ready to take him out, and Gordon realizes that Mooney had something to do with the frame.  Gordon goes to leave, doing his best to fight off Mooney’s thugs.  Fish herself gets the drop on Gordon, knocking him out from behind.

The next day, Barbara visits Bullock.  Jim did not come home the previous night, and she was worried.  Bullock makes up a story that Jim is on a stakeout, full well knowing that Jim did something stupid and Mooney has him.

Gordon wakes up in a meat locker, chained upside down.  Mooney’s goons are setting up a camera.  Apparently Moody likes documentation of her executions.  Bullock arrives and attempts to get Gordon out of trouble.  He gets Mooney on the  phone.  She is busy auditioning  acts for the club.  This act in particular is a real COMEDIAN.

  • If they do what they are rumored to do with a certain character, I am all for it.  If it happens next week, I will explain then.

Bullock informs Mooney that MCU is also onto her, and that one of her men must have snitched.  He asks her to let Jim go, because if she kills him, then Bullock will have to go after her, because of how it would look if he didn’t.  She “agrees” to Bullock’s demands, but when her 2nd in command Butch is on the phone, she tells him to take Bullock out as well.  She doesn’t like being threatened.  Bullock is strung up alongside his partner.

Mooney then confronts Oswald as the snitch, since he was the only one that overheard her plan.  She beats him severely, as the comedian looks on repulsed.  Very ironic if the red herring they are throwing isn’t actually a red herring.

As Bullock and Gordon are about to be killed, the doors to the meat locker open up and men with machine guns take out Mooney’s goons except for Butch.  The men are led by Carmine Falcone.  He tells Butch to inform Fish that she has to ask permission before killing cops.

Falcone meets with Gordon in private.  He knew Jim’s father, a former Gotham District Attorney (I assume Jim’s time in Chicago, for those comic fans, doesn’t exist here).  He talks of the respect, almost friendship that they had.  While Falcone didn’t have the Waynes killed, he did frame Pepper.  He needed Gotham to see “swift justice done, so they can feel safe, secure.”  Falcone understands that without law and order, there can be no organized crime.  He tells Jim he needs to keep quiet.  He asks him if bringing down the corrupt city hall, the corrupt police, will that make things better?  Falcone walks away as Jim cannot answer the question.

Bullock drives Jim to the city docks and reveals that Oswald is in the trunk of the car.  Falcone ordered Jim to kill Oswald to show he is on the same page as everyone.  If he doesn’t, then Bullock is to take them both out, and then Falcone will go after Barbara.  Not seeing a choice, Jim takes Oswald to the edge of the docks.  Jim whispers in his ear to never come back to Gotham.  Blocking Bullock from direct view, Jim shoots NEXT to Oswald’s head and pushes him into the Gotham River, sparing his life, as well as convincing Bullock he is “on board.”

Jim arrives at Wayne Manor to talk with Bruce.  He admits to him that Pepper was framed.  He apologizes for letting Bruce down, and vows to not only find the true killer, but to also take down corruption in Gotham City.  He asks for Bruce’s blessing, since he feels he owes Bruce for failing him.  After a long thought, Bruce agrees.  Jim heads back to Gotham City, driving past a hidden Selina Kyle, watching over Wayne Manor.

The episode ends with Oswald pulling himself to shore on the other side of the Gotham River.  He kills a fisherman and looks back at Gotham City, planning OSWALD’S next move, and PENGUIN’S first.

EASTER EGGS:

  • The Gargoyles Selina stands next to.  How many posters are there of Batman next to those things.  :)
  • Edward already speaking in riddles
  • Oswald holding an umbrella.  (calling him Penguin isn’t an easter egg.  Too spot on)
  • The Comedian.  More on that next week.

THE GOOD:

  • The acting.  I think Ben McKenzie is giving Jim Gordon justice.  Donal Logue is making Bullock as unlikable as he is supposed to be at this time.  Jada Pinkett Smith is giving off just the right amount of over the top work while not saturating us with cheesiness.  Sean Pertwee is great as Alfred.  He’s not the smary confidant to Bruce yet, but his protective guardian, which at this point for Bruce, is what he needs now.
  • The Wayne death.  It was pretty bloody.  If a death is going to turn a kid into a giant bat, it has to be pretty bad looking.  This was that.
  • The look of Gotham.  It’s dirty and cloudy as you think it would be.

OPPORTUNITIES:

  • The chase scene.  I said before, but using the go pro camera was an odd choice.
  • Bruce’s scream at the murder.  I like in the comics when after the murder (that is a WEIRD statement out of context) he just stares.  It’s at that moment he ceases to be Bruce Wayne and become Batman.  The scream sort of fizzled that.
  • While I didn’t have an issue with it, my wife had a  problem with Selina witnessing the murder.  She likes it in the comics when the two characters are together, but is not a fan of it being “destiny.”  I don’t mind it for this show, but I understand her point.
  • They didn’t have to throw the ENTIRE rogues gallery at us.  I think because it was the pilot, they wanted to have as many characters as they could to draw in viewers.  I hope they take it down a tad in future episodes, and focus more on the “non super-villain” crime.
  • The conversation between Bullock and Gordon before interrogating the muggers seemed a little bit to obvious that they were setting up their characters.  It was purely exposition that the rest of the episode was able to convey anyway.  Un-needed.

While there were a lot of opportunities for the pilot, I am definitely going to keep watching.  This show, if they focus on the right things, can be REALLY great.

GRADE: B

Photo Credit: http://www.darkhorizons.com/assets/0024/4066/goth_article.jpg?1403136138