I am skipping the backlog busters this week, and looking only at new shows. As fun as my backlog is, there was a lot to talk about this week on TV, both good and bad. As always: Beware! Spoilers below!
Supergirl Season 1, Episode 15 – Solitude
Supergirl is never going to win any awards, that much is clear. However, Supergirl manages to fill its niche very well, demonstrated by this episode, clearly dedicated to the fans. This week’s episode focuses well on the real world implications of cyber terrorism as well as the more supernatural aspects. It is these links which make Supergirl work so well. With Kara firmly planted in the real world, more so than her cousin, it is important that she addresses the implications of her actions in both of her lives.
The main story opens with the release of personal information from a notorious adultery website. The data is passed to Cat Grant to release to the world. Grant, in an unusual display of morals, declines. She instructs Siobhan to destroy the data. This starts a chain of events within Supergirl’s real and secret world which run on throughout. The hack is attributed to a computer virus, which quickly becomes more sinister, as a warning is sent to Cat Grant, and traffic signals start to go haywire across National City. As the Scooby Gang commence work on tracing the source of the virus, the same blonde woman who issued the warning to Cat appears on the screen and subsequently teleporting into Kara’s apartment. The team is quickly joined by Hank and Alex, which prompts the woman to return to the computer. Discussions are had in vain in an attempt to persuade Kara to return to the DEO, at the end of which both teams resolve to solve this issue independently.
The episode continues, with James leading Supergirl to her cousin’s Fortress of Solitude. Inside, it is revealed that the enemy, calling herself Indigo, is Brainiac 8, a Fort Rozz detainee. As the episode reaches its peak, Indigo threatens the city with nuclear warheads. It is at this moment that both teams understand that they need each other. Hank guides Supergirl to redirect the missiles while Winn creates a computer virus to defeat her. Meanwhile, at CatCo, Siobhan has decided that in order to get her big break, she needs to break a few eggs. Not only did she not destroy the data, she offered it to the Daily Planet. This news makes it back to Cat, who, unimpressed, shows her the door.
The story of this episode was unimportant. However, the situations in which the characters were placed served as an important method to progress their story. Whether it was the revelations at the DEO, the difficulties Kara faces with her kind, the progression between Lucy and James or even Winn and Siobhan making strides, the characters were, as always, the key to the episode. The story was messy, but served to deliver some great twists for the team. Not only that, the episode introduced a Brainiac, in the form of Laura Vandervoort, who canny viewers will recognise as Supergirl from the Smallville era. I quite enjoyed this episode, as mixed up as it was. Like I said at the outset, Supergirl will never win any awards, but it does provide great entertainment for the viewers at least.
Quantico Season 1 Episode 10 – Quantico
The first year series continues in the same fashion this week. The episode opens in New York present day, immediately after the end of last week’s episode. Alex and the team have 23 hours to find the second bomb, but of course, things are never that easy! The majority of the focus this week, however, is at Quantico in the past. Trainee’s secrets are revealed all around, with Ryan, Natalie, Simon and Shelby all coming under the microscope. Actor Tate Ellington shows his versatility in his role as Simon, managing to portray fear, anger and impassion seemingly at the same time, letting the viewer genuinely believe in the conflict he faces. Unfortunately, not all of the cast demonstrate the same skill, as, despite the pressure on lead Alex Parrish, actress Priyanka Chopra seems bored throughout, and the series is held on the shoulders of those around her. Whether this is as a result of poor writing or otherwise, I cannot tell.
However, all in all, Quantico this week held its own, with an insight into what the trainees were put through at Quantico, as well as the pressure of the present day situation. The intrigue surrounding the investigation of the remaining suspects provides sufficient drama, pushing the story into the cliffhanger for episode 11.
Marvel’s Agents of SHIELD, Season 3 Episode 18 – The Singularity
After last week’s shocking reveal, SHIELD had a lot to live up to. This week sees the beginning of the Fallen Agent storyline. Daisy has been infected by Hive, Gideon Malick is dead, Hive is gaining strength and the base is in tatters. The team is clearly struggling with what happened, but Coulson needs to rally the troops. This he does, extremely well. As what is left of the SHIELD base makes its escape, Coulson reminds his team that what happened to them is not down to Daisy, and that the blame falls squarely at the feet of Hive. At the same time, the fallen agent herself meets with Hive, at an old viewpoint favoured by Skye. It is at this moment when we realise that Ward no longer exists. Yes, Hive is in his body, and yes, it has his memories, but Ward is gone, and Daisy is pleased about it.
Simmons, Mac and Fitz are dispatched to Romania, in search of a rumoured transhumanist, Holden Radcliffe. Doctor Radcliffe’s prior experience in parasitic organisms may be able to do what Fitzsimmons cannot, which is provide a cure for the Hive infection. In Bucharest, they find a club where Radcliffe is rumoured to be. After a candid conversation about their relationship, they meet him and try to persuade him to help. Their conversation was welcome. Finally getting their feelings out in the open is a relief to both the characters and the viewer, and Fitz’ description of the “Singularity” is a perfect way to describe them.
Coulson, May and Lincoln head off to gather and protect Inhumans who are at risk of being infected. The first on their list is Alesha. Lincoln insists that he be the one to meet her, which Coulson accepts, on condition of him wearing a vest lined with explosives. Should his task turn south, May is to detonate the vest. As a viewer, it is clear that Coulson would never ask Daisy to do this. Whether this is due to his dislike of Lincoln or his father like love for Daisy is not clear, but Lincoln uncomfortably agrees. They meet Alesha, who has already been infected. Two of her clones die, but her reaction is testament to Hive’s power. Whereas she has previously become near catatonic, she simply shrugs off the deaths, claiming “Happy to make the sacrifice”. Coulson and May find themselves at James’ home too late, with no sign of him, or the device. Realising the place is rigged to explode, Coulson protects the two with one of the coolest inventions I have ever seen in this show – a projectable shield from his artificial hand!
Daisy and Hive meet James and turn him, gaining a new follower and the Hive-killing device. Following this, stories intersect, as Hive and his team head to Romania to find Radcliffe. They enter the club and separate, with Daisy moving to find Radcliffe, and Hive finding Simmons. Daisy reveals that she does not want to hurt her friends, but leaves a stark warning that if they try to follow her, she will. Hive, on the other hand, channels the memories of Will to persuade Simmons to do the same. Daisy departs with Radcliffe, while Simmons escapes after shooting Hive three times in the abdomen.
By far the most enjoyable part of the episode was back in Romania. After a tiring mission, Simmons and Fitz eventually accept the inevitable, and get together. Mac, conveniently elsewhere, leaves the pair to do what they need to, something the fans have been wishing for for three years!
This episode was a biggie, the destruction of Hydra, clearing the old baddie out, ready for the rise of the new. Throughout, the viewer could genuinely feel the stakes rising, and with more and more becoming clear about Hive’s power, he seems unstoppable. His ability to create an army of inhumans, and with the final revelation that it is also his wish to create more, SHIELD have a seemingly insurmountable task on their hands. The introduction of Hellfire was welcome, as a recognisable character from the comics. Finally, the eventual joining up of Fitz and Simmons was well done. The execution was passionate, real and clumsy, exactly what you would expect from the pairing. My only negative is that I would like to see Hive be a little bit “more”. Right now he is reserved, calm and collected. All as to be expected for someone as old as he, but knowing that Brett Dalton has the ability to shine, I hope that in the coming episodes we can see him go for it.
Orphan Black Season 4, Episode 4 – From Instinct to Rational Control
This week’s episode explores the story of MK a little more. Each of the clones has their own little job this week, which brings some great story options. Also, Felix finds himself back in the fold this week, and on a mission to find the truth with Donnie.
Cosima and Scott find themselves with a fresh delivery from the depths of the Hendrix’ garage. Their task is to dissect the late Dr Leakey’s head, and determine not only what the implant is, but how they can remove one from Sarah. Mrs S, meanwhile, opens the episode interrogating Ferdinand, transitions to familial mediator and ends as bomb disposal expert. These incidental stories really made this week’s episode complete. While Cosima and Scott didn’t have a lot, they added context to the events of last week, something which I didn’t realise was needed until this week. Likewise, Mrs S, along with Benjamin, really added the “This is real” factor to the story. People get dragged in, but those people have real lives. They have familial spats which need a matriarch to solve. If it just so happens that the matriarch can also defuse a bomb, all the better!
Sarah, looking for more information on her face worm, went on the hunt for Mika. After grabbing some information from Ferdinand, she is faced with a difficult decision. Does she support her sestre or does she follow the evidence trail? As Helsinki is mentioned again (Read the comics!), it becomes apparent that MK is not going to stick around, and is eager for blood. I do hope they explore the events of Helsinki more as we continue, but I fear that the writers are teasing it out for a big finale. I love that MK is unhinged, and I love even more that it is because of Topside. Her calm and collected hatred for those responsible for what happened to her make it all the more entertaining to watch.
Alison, Donnie and Felix team up to investigate a new lead. Accosted by someone who thought her Beth, Alison obtains information on a fertility clinic which Beth was investigating. Deciding to send Felix and Donnie in as a couple, the comedy entertainment for the episode began. The plot was further thickened when Alison spoke with a friend, who, previously unable to conceive, managed to succeed with the help of something called the “Brightbourne Treatments”. Although this portion did examine some quite difficult themes, combining Alison’s inability to conceive with Helena’s twins, Jordan Gavaris and Kristian Bruun (Felix and Donnie) managed to inject some amusement. Felix educating Donnie on “how to be gay” and Donnie’s blatant dismissal of any gay people in his home of Bailey Downs make the viewer laugh and cringe in equal measure.
Finally, Rachel is still incarcerated with her younger clone. Weighed by the decision to treat or not treat Charlotte, Rachel discusses with Ira some possibilities for treatment. While they both agree that treatment success is more likely in a younger specimen, Rachel finally concedes that as an untreated clone, the data that can be obtained is much more useful. The decision not to pursue treatment is obviously difficult, and Rachel feels tricked when it is revealed that Susan knew about her messages to the outside all along. This season, Rachel’s story is tight, and brings about more questions than answers. She is obviously struggling and wants to recover at speed, but exactly what steps is she willing to take to do that?
Another top notch episode of Orphan Black this week, and with each of the main characters playing their part, it is clear that the strength of the show is to give all of the players a run out. Breaking up hard hitting storylines with the madness of Alison and Donnie or the spaced-out talk of Helena keeps the viewer interested and ready for the next section. My only personal negative was a return to the violence of previous episodes. Orphan Black writes sinister extremely well, and should be applauded for that. When they revert to aggressive and impassive violence, the show loses its edge for me. However, all in all, a great episode, well worth a watch!
So that’s my highlights for this week. Hopefully by next week I will have made much more progress on my backlog. For this week, however, Quantico is good, enjoyable, interesting and some great acting. Unfortunately, this means that any weaknesses really stand out. Similarly with Supergirl, such great opportunity, but the execution wasn’t quite perfect. Thankfully we have the likes of Orphan Black and Agents of SHIELD, who although both a little less than great in their early days, have really managed to up their game. These are both appointment-to-watch for me now, and if you haven’t given them a shot, please do!