Another great week of TV is behind us! Stories are pushing on towards the season finale, and I am pushing onwards through my backlog.
As always – Beware, spoilers follow!
Orphan Black Season 4, Episode 3 – The Stigmata Of Progress
Netflix, 29th April 2016
Orphan Black this week continues down the road of the peculiar, adding strange and outlandish to an already immense pile of creepy and extraordinary. As it becomes clear that Sarah is sporting a Neolution face worm, this week’s episode should not be viewed during mealtimes, due to the powerful squirming, decomposing and injecting which the props and effects department have so brilliantly created.Sarah continues to seek for information on her implant, drawing assistance from the Clone Club in the process. While her sisters are working to help her, she follows the trail to a normal, boring, run of the mill dentist. When she arrives, she finds that all is not as it seems, and finds herself in an impossible situation. Luckily she finds help from a most unlikely source. While Clone Club are happy to help her, Sarah does not have the same consideration from Felix. His search for his birth family has borne fruit, and Sarah meets Felix’s blood sister, a southern belle named Adele. It is clear that she is not all that she seems, but Sarah has bigger things to worry about.
Some of the most entertaining scenes this week come from the home of Alison and Donnie. Fresh with the knowledge that all neolutionists appear to have the same implant, they arm themselves with a jackhammer and resolve to unearth the late Doctor Leakey, interred beneath their garage after an unfortunate incident involving Donnie and a gun. Clearly unprepared for what they may find, much retching, dry heaving and agonising wails ensue, offering huge entertainment for the viewer. At the same time, Helena is forced to portray Alison again, which she manages admirably, again adding excellent comedy value to what is, in essence, a very serious episode!
This episode really pushed the story on, also including references to the Orphan Black: Helsinki comic. The return of the Queen of Evil, Rachel was welcome, and the amazing scenes from Alison, Helena and Donnie all came together to make this a fascinating and engaging episode.
DC’s Legends of Tomorrow Season 1, Episode 7 – Marooned
Pushing on with my backlog, next up is DC’s Legends of Tomorrow. This show doesn’t take itself too seriously, and I love that!
The premise of this episode was risky at best. Taking a step away from the main story thread so early in a season runs the risk of at best, having one dodgy episode, and at worst, ruining the characters for the remainder of the season. However, DC’s Legends of Tomorrow seems to have managed the task admirably, delivering a perfectly passable storyline. Unfortunately, in the grand scheme of things, the story was not great. It didn’t deliver any amazing scenes, nor any spectacular arcs. However, the purpose of the episode was not to deliver a good story. Clearly the writers knew what they were doing, as they managed to deliver character development and history in droves.
First of all, let’s take a look at Rip Hunter. The brooding, argumentative captain of the Wave Rider opens the episode in his offices, lamenting the previous mission, his face a picture of anguish as he admits he has no idea where the crew should proceed in their hunt for Vandal Savage. Gideon has not managed to update following the changes made by the crew, so the ship is unable to calculate where Savage may be. Deus ex Machina to the rescue, as the Wave Rider intercepts a distress call from another time traveller. If they can just get there, they should be able to liberate the most recent updates!
While Legends is nothing if not predictable, the execution is well done, and the show never pretends to be something it isn’t. It is fanciful, fantastic and far-fetched, something the writers and producers are fully aware of. Cue a mission to help this marooned ship, where Rip, Martin, Jax and Mick head on the mission, leaving Sara, Ray, Kendra and Leonard on board. All is not what it seems, and the team have to fight against time pirates, betrayal and the elements as they repair the Wave Rider, rescue their friends and face their own demons. This episode delves a little deeper into Rip Hunter’s history, showing his early days in the Time Masters. Martin Stein and Ray Palmer both get to live out their childhood dreams and a heart to heart between Sara and Leonard Snark opens up old wounds for Captain Cold, leading to a surprising and potentially world changing finale.
Although the opening of the episode was not promising, Marooned had a more than some episodes of DC’s Legends of Tomorrow. At times, there certainly seemed like some serious things were at stake, and ramifications for actions taken were serious. Characters were padded out well throughout the episode, and opened up more questions as time went on. Another great episode from the team!
The Flash Season 2, Episode 16 – Trajectory
Sky1Occasionally, something appears on TV which manages to succeed despite the odds being stacked against it. The Flash is one of these shows. All of the stars lined up for this show; Charismatic cast, great storytelling, a sound base and smart effects all combined to make The Flash one of the resounding successes from last season. The old phrase “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” sits firm here, and the team at The Flash have stuck with what they know. However, this brings its own faults too. This time last season we were facing a character who may not be who he seems, just as we were at the end of the last episode this season. The similarities are obvious, and can probably be forgiven. The writers have packaged the story well, and have conveyed it to the characters quickly, lining up Team Flash and the viewers. This week we meet “Trajectory”, another speedster who initially leaves our hero for dust while on a robbery spree. Unfortunately for Barry, this comes at a time when he isn’t feeling up to the job. Incapable of getting the speed required to beat Zoom, Barry is made to feel tiny by this upstart. It is only later when it is discovered that her powers come from Velocity 9 that things start to make sense. The effects of the serum on the host show some abilities to split a person’s psyche. Seeing this, and other effects of the serum, the team quickly deduce the true identity of Zoom. Refreshingly for recent TV, the characters found out only half an episode after the viewers! This way we can get going with the real meat of the season. The remainder of the episode continued as expected with Barry saving the day. Jessie and her father had a heart to heart, where he, as any other father would, pledged to do anything to keep her safe. This concerns her, and she leaves to Opal City.
Despite the story similarities to last season, this episode was solid. The cast have enough chemistry, so that even when they are not “on”, they are always pushing the viewer to believe. Whether it is Barry trying to explain his relationship with Wally, or Cisco and Caitlin dancing, there is always something happening. The story is in such a position now that the writers have a wide spread to work with, and I am only optimistic for the rest of this season.
Supergirl Season 1, Episode 14 – Truth, Justice and the American Way
This episode following everybody’s favourite woman of steel really dug into the values of our characters. When is it OK to use your power? How far is too far? These were just some of the questions both Kara and Supergirl needed to address this week. With conflicts opening up in the lives of both Kara Danvers and her alter-ego Supergirl, our hero needed to find the sweet spot to keep everybody safe and happy.
Kara, still reeling after the death of Astra, is forced early on to face the darker side of her family. Non invited her to the funeral of her aunt, which, once completed, quickly turned sour as Non impassively informed her that after a period of mourning, war would be upon them. Back at CatCo, Kara’s patience was pushed even further with the introduction of a second assistant, Siobhan Smythe. It is clear from the outset that Kara is threatened. Siobhan is good at her job, has done what is asked of her before it is complete, and is being selected by Cat ahead of Kara. Although outwardly confident of her status, Kara gives away her true feelings through the means of a crushed phone. As if solely to add pressure to Kara, James Olson confides in her that he is uncomfortable with the DEO’s continued detention of Max, an uncharged, untried human.
Supergirl, on the other hand, faces off against a more powerful foe. After tracing a Fort Rozz escapee, the DEO meet an armoured figure who seems impervious to their attacks. When Supergirl discovers this, she is annoyed that she wasn’t called, pushing more of a wedge between Hank and her. The DEO continue to investigate, discovering the figure is kidnapping multiple Fort Rozz escapees, in inmate number order. Supergirl picks up the chase, tracking the next intended victim. She engages with the figure, and although holding the upper hand for a short while, loses both the attacker and the escapee. Eventually, Supergirl is captured by the Master Jailer, and imprisons her underground, where she cannot recharge from the Earth’s yellow sun. A daring rescue follows from the DEO, and Supergirl defeats the Jailer. The episode concludes with Supergirl releasing Max from DEO custody, appealing to his better nature. She attempts to obtain information from the AI of her mother, who cannot help. She realises that the AI now reminds her more of Astra than her mother, and determines that she can no longer work with J’onn, who she believes killed Astra.
Overall, this episode was sound. The relationships between the characters are strained and strengthened, and as Kara, our hero realises that the real world will not always be the easier of her two lives. Supergirl recognises that with her power, the shades of grey are much more important to recognise and manage well. The introduction of Siobhan adds a real world antagonist for Kara, and the release of Max adds more for the future. The storyline progressed well, referring back to Krypton, and adding fuel to the fire of Non and his team. Although Supergirl is sometimes lacking in certain areas, the show holds its own as evening entertainment, and it is always enjoyable to watch.
Another excellent week of TV, so much good viewing at the moment! However, if you are struggling for things to watch as the season comes to a close, why not take a look at iZombie, new to Netflix, or go back and watch over Game of Thrones again (everybody’s doing it!) – While you are there, take a look at the Out of Lives coverage of Westeros, sure to whet the appetite!