The Walking Dead Mid-season Report

Standard

The Walking Dead has made noticeable strides towards becoming a competent television drama. Carol has been turned into one of the shows most beloved characters, behind only Daryl and Rick (and arguably Glenn). It learned how to end conflicts fairly quickly. The group’s Terminus situation was wrapped up in three or four episodes. We also haven’t apparently seen the end of Morgan! Let’s hope he sticks around for a while.

Unfortunately, the finale took a minor step backwards. Instead of letting the story dictate what happens, the show runners decided to end the mid season finale with a bang. Literally, and figuratively. There was no reason Beth should have been killed in that situation. The deal was done. She was home free, mere minutes away from seeing her only living family member. Instead she decided to make an attempt on her “mentor”’s life. Dumb, dumb, so dumb. If I have anything positive to say about the scene, it’s how well acted it was by Rick and Daryl. That moment swiftly came to an end when you see Maggie start wildly screaming.

Lauren Cohan, while immensely attractive, is not a great actress. On top of that, I have no attachment towards her character. She didn’t bring up Beth once this whole season (or much of last season if I recall). Who really tunes in for the Glenn/Maggie relationship? Maybe it’s more authentic in the comics, but the show hasn’t done well by them. Whenever either of them are in danger I end up hoping for one, if not both, of their demises. Beth and Daryl had more chemistry towards the end, which is why Daryl’s reaction stung.

I’m sure most people are fine with the group going from spot to spot, foe to foe. But eventually you need to map out an end game. There has to be some background as to what the virus is. Otherwise why keep watching? To see what underdeveloped minor, POSSIBLY major, character will die during the season. The arc with D.C. was a good start, even if it Eugene’s confession came as a shock to no one.

The Walking Dead is a fine show. I respect the viewership numbers it brings in. I’m for any show that will gravitate the medium away from cop procedurals. Every Sunday I’ll watch, just don’t ask me to care.

Advertisements

The Flash 3-5

Standard

The Flash has, quickly, become one of my favorite shows on television. Grant Gustin has blown me away as Barry Allen. I’m not saying he’s the next Daniel Day Lewis, but he is a perfect fit for the character. As opposed to say, Stephen Amell, who doesn’t really encapture the Oliver Queen from the comics. I love Arrow, but if I don’t see at least a goatee before season five, I’ll commit seppuku.

The episode with Felicity was perfect. We meet Captain Cold, one of my favorite DC villains, played by an actor from a show that I enjoyed reasonably well. The episode before had the guy who could turn into gas and kill people. It was relatively entertaining but had one of the weaker post credit Dr. Wells scenes. “Plastique” featured General Elling played by the great Clancy Brown. Hopefully he has a nice arc, his back and forth between Dr. Wells was a thing of beauty. They have great chemistry, and honestly, Dr. Wells can do no wrong at this point. Tom Cavanagh does such a great job with this role. The way he balances the mentor and creepy secret antagonist is a thing of beauty.

My heart stopped during the latest post credit scene. Obviously Dr. Wells was involved. But we also had our first glimpse of the one and only Grodd, albeit before he became intellectually a genius. I’m incredibly excited to see how they handle that character. No need to rush him, and the special effects have been out of this world so far. I have all the faith in the world of the show runners, they’ve certainly earned my trust.

I look forward to this show more and more every week. Hence why two weeks ago I threw my first temper tantrum in fifteen years when they dropped the bomb that there would be no new episode. That was a bigger disaster than the particle accelerator’s explosion.

Arrow 3-5

Standard

A Thea focused episode, revenge for Sara in the next, and a special origin story for our favorite hacker. That right there is a triple threat. A triple threat focused on some hot babes. It’s a shame that as good as this show is, I’ve sunk to a new low in focusing on the women. What can I say, I’m a single guy in his mid twenties.

Malcolm and Thea have bonded quick during their training filled vacation. Is anyone else curious as to why Malcolm would leave that place? He has a daughter, blah blah blah. It’s 2014. They can Skype if need be. He had a mansion on Corto Maltese for crying out loud. The man had paradise and threw it in our faces.

Laurel is inching closer and closer to becoming the new Canary. Taking boxing lessons, getting tough with her coworkers, taking a punch from a street thug. I feel like Dewey Cox’s father, but the wrong kid died. We should have Sara in our lives right now, not this wanna-be.

It seems like Ollie has been pushed to the background so far this season. Thea is becoming a bad ass, the League of Assassins (and Ras) are becoming more prominent, Diggle is a new father, Felicity is hanging out with ex-Superman, while at the same time being his worst employee, and Roy is about to get a seemingly important arc. Yet Ollie is there as he’s always been. Brooding, serious, still the Wild Bill Hickok of archery.

While I think The Flash has been the stronger show thus far, Arrow is still one of the best dramas currently on TV.

The Walking Dead 2-4

Standard

It’s been three episodes since I’ve last talked about the show. In that time Terminus became terminated, my favorite character, Bob, lost his life (after losing his leg), and Beth has taken up a career in the nursing industry.

I’m not nearly as invested in this show compared to the rest of the world. The fan base is massive, as evidence from its NFL Sunday Night Football beating numbers. But at this point I’m watching due to lack of content.  I’m only watching a handful of television dramas right now.

  • The Walking Dead
  • Arrow
  • The Flash

That’s it right there. Breaking Bad ended a while ago. Boardwalk Empire much more recently. The Netflix originals have already been devoured. Justified, Game of Thrones, and Mad Men don’t return until 2015. Sons of Anarchy hasn’t been watchable since Season 3. FX decided to axe The Bridge. And there are a bunch of shows I’ve yet to start (Hannibal, Masters of Sex, The Americans, etc.).

A few years ago, The Walking Dead may have been on sixth or seventh on my “TV Priority List”. Right now it’s probably third behind the CW’s superhero dramas. That doesn’t mean I don’t enjoy the show, I totally do. It’s dessert for me. Not essential, don’t have to watch every Sunday. Boardwalk Empire on the other hand, had to be watched immediately. I don’t want people telling me how Chalky died. I need to experience that in the moment. But if someone lets slip that Daryl had a bite taken out of his neck? No worries. Unlike him, I’ll live.

Beth’s episode captured what the show can be. I’m always for the episodes centered around a specific character. The Governor’s weren’t entirely all that special, but it was better than any treatment he received the year prior. It also helps that I find Beth incredibly attractive. Hands off, Daryl!

Keep on doing your thing Dub Dee. Head shot zombies, let Rick growl, and keep trying to make me care about Glen and Maggie (do people really?). I’ll take it all in with genuine enjoyment, along with a good supply of eye rolls.

Arrow – “Sara”

Standard

The majority of this episode was spent searching for Sara’s killer. With some help from Diggle and Felicity, the gang narrows it down to Simon Lacroix, or more commonly known as, Komodo. One of the more bad ass comic villains, my expectations for the episode sharply rose.

Unfortunately there wasn’t much time allotted to the archer. Disappointing, but ultimately we’ll be seeing more of him in the future. He happened to not be responsible for Sara’s death, leading to a dead end for Ollie. It felt like this whole episode was a platform for the actors to show off their acting abilities. In my opinion, that didn’t turn out to be a good thing. I didn’t buy how upset Felicity was. She knew Sara for what, half a season? Diggles is my main man, but aside from dropping that, “Don’t die down here” line to Oliver, his acting can be hard to watch. Stephen Amell has come a long way from the first season, there’s no denying that. But it’s not like we’re watching the next Brando out there.

Poor acting rant aside, this episode had a fantastic ending. We had our first glance at Thea, who is training in some awesome house with Malcolm Merlyn. She now has Arya Stark hair, which to me raises her hotness to a level I didn’t think possible. It’ll definitely make the loss of Sara easier.

The flashbacks again left me wary. I’m not sure what the point was of Tommy showing up. There are over twenty episodes in a season, filler episodes are going to happen. It is a testament to how good the show is when a filler episode consists of an awesome “Catch and Shoot” arrow move by Ollie. Regardless, I am excited for the Thea centric episode next week.

The Flash – “Fastest Man Alive”

Standard

It’s amazing, two episodes in and already The Flash knows what kind of show it wants to be. The show runners understand this character. That’s half the battle when you’re adapting a super hero to live action, or any medium really. I could tell right when Barry cuts off from his Arrow-like voice over, “…Let’s get to the good stuff”. And he’s absolutely right. We want to see Barry rescuing a bunch of people from a burning building or sweeping them out of the line of gunfire.

Our villain of the day turned out to be Danton Black, aka Multiplex. He could create, you guessed it, multiple versions of himself. Barry ends up saving the day, as yet another one of his comic foes dies. Unlike Arrow, this show has no problem with killing off the villains for good. Then again it’s a bit premature for me to claim, this being only the second episode. Joe West gives Barry the support he needs, in defeating bad guys and in respect to his father’s innocence. A few thoughts on our fatherly figure this far…

  1. I can’t stress enough how clutch a hire Jesse L Martin has been. While he hasn’t been the biggest surprise (a certain Scrubs alum holds that title), he is definitely carrying his weight.
  2. That weight specifically being the flashbacks. I hope this isn’t a CW trend. They work well in Arrow, and while I’m worried about the move to Hong Kong, I think there are still stories to be told in that manner. On The Flash, it’s absolutely grating. Martin is keeping afloat every scene with that child actor. The dialogue probably isn’t great, but that kid isn’t helping. I have to imagine they’ll continue the rest of the season, for better or worse.
  3. Does anyone else feel like Detective West does a poor job at parenting his daughter? Okay, not a poor job, but definitely focus’ more on Barry. I mean, how does he not realize his daughter and his partner are sleeping together? I’m definitely over thinking this one…

The final fight between Flash and Multiplex was visually outstanding (for CW standards). It’s the second straight week I’ve been impressed with the special effects. Compared to the summer blockbuster The Expendables, this show knocks it out of the park. The army of Danton Blacks was really cool. Seeing Flash do his super fast punch was gnarly. Admittedly the Matrix style dodge of the bullet was cliche, but other than that impressive stuff. The previews for next episode have me even more excited with all the CG smoke.

Once again Harrison Wells steals the episode. These end scenes are gripping, mysterious, and great fodder for conspiracy theories. Tom Cavanagh has come a long way from Scrubs — or more appropriately, Ed — by becoming, possibly the best character on the show. I enjoy the explanation for why Barry wants to save people, his reactions with Iris, Cisco, and Caitlin, but I’m turning in every week to watch Harrison Wells. And that’s just the way it is.

The Walking Dead – “No Sanctuary”

Standard

If nothing else, The Walking Dead knows how to do a premier episode. They tend go heavy on the zombie killing, light on everything else. “No Sanctuary” was no exception. After four seasons I can’t say I’m disappointed, this isn’t exactly the show I turn to for deep fictional meaning.

Carol rescues the gang with the help from some of her walker friends. More specifically Rick, Daryl, kicker from The Waterboy, and Glen were saved just in time. Did anyone actually think they were in harm? The whole lining them up sequence was a bit cheesy to me. Rick makes a promise to the lead cannibal that he has a machete waiting with his name on it. Probably the most bad ass moment of the show.

The plot didn’t real move all that much. The whole group escaped without a scratch, reunited with Tyreese and Lil Ass kicker. Daryl and Carol shared a nice moment, but I’ve never cared for their lingering romance. I don’t want anyone in Daryl’s life other than his crossbow. I have to assume that we haven’t seen the last of Terminus, Rick still has a promise to fulfill.

I’m not sure there’s another character on TV who didn’t deserve a punch in the face more than the kid who was going to snap Lil Ass kicker’s neck. For some reason I don’t think Tyreese killed him, though. Those punches were deadly, no doubt, but his status was strangely left in the air. That punk kid had the best line of the episode. “That’s kind of like saving an anchor when you’re stuck on a boat in the middle of an ocean”, in regards to saving babies. Well, he’s not wrong. Enjoyed their interactions more than the zombie attack personally.

My favorite moment came during the after credits scene, Morgan hovering behind Rick and friends the whole way. Any time we get more from that actor I’m all in. He’s been part of two of the best episodes this show has ever done, and it’s not even arguable. Now that The Strain is over it’s up to The Walking Dead to fulfill that horror element in my television life. So far, so good.