The Flash – S6 Ep18 – Pay the Piper Review

The team is fractured and on the verge of shattering and Barry goes to his old faithful, Joe for some sound advice and a good old boost. They are all at breaking point and the worst thing is that they have no idea if Iris and Kamila being trapped in the mirrorverse means they are dead in the real world.

With all that going on, perhaps the arrival of Godspeed is a welcome distraction? There again he’s trying to steal what’s left of Barry’s speed so probably not. This Godspeed’s use of sound waves leads Barry to team up with an old foe, Pied Piper. The shift caused by Crisis means that Barry has caused Pied Piper’s boyfriend some serious damage and that means he gets less than a friendly welcome. Andy Mientus is great and proved a nice little link back to the show’s past. Of course they manage to put their differences aside and with Barry using his speed and Pied Piper using his waves they made a great team and in return we got an even greater Ghosbusters reference from Nash and Cisco … THEY CROSSED STREAMS! I loved seeing Barry battle another speedster again and this story has been left open for more Godspeed goodness. Nash has spent this season being practically outcast from the team and this is the first time we haven’t really seen a version of Wells naturally integrate. In this episode though he kind of shows that he’s become the backbone and that person who pushes them and leads from the back and I really hope that Nash is the Wells we get in season 7.

Killer Frost is on the mend and is preparing to leave so she can get the help she needs from her Mum. Well, Caitlin’s Mum – and the fact that she has no relationship with her makes her anxious. Ralph does what Ralph does best and talks her round and makes her see how valued she is away from being Caitlin. She graduates life coach school with no less than a dib-ploma! I loved this!!! Where can I enrol?

In the mirrorverse, Iris finally finds Kamila but she’s hit a wall and can’t figure a way out. We haven’t seen Kamila since she was taken so it was good to see she’s ok, working away at mirror Star Labs. Finding Kamila seems to have given Iris some fighting spirit though and she decides they need to find Chief Singh. At the end of the episode Barry gives the remaining members of the team a pep talk which does wonders for their morale and Cisco has an idea which is going to take him to Atlantis!

Batwoman – S1 Ep16 – Through The Looking Glass Review

Writer: Nancy Kiu

Director: Sudz Sutherland

Starring: Ruby Rose, Rachel Skarsten, Meagan Tandy, Nicole Kang, Camrus Johnson, Dougray Scott, Christina Wolfe, Seth Whittaker and Sam Littlefield

After the deeply harrowing “Off With Her Head“, Batwoman episode 16, “Through The Looking Glass”, provides a welcome, and action packed, change of pace.

Suffering from PTSD after the death of Augustus Cartwright, Kate Kane is forced to work with Alice to try and rescue Mouse. What follows is thrill packed break into Arkham Asylum, full of martial arts mayhem and comic-book action.

We’re All Mad Here

I like the fact that the huge events of last week’s episode haven’t just been brushed under the carpet. Batwoman has taken a life, crossing a line she swore she never would. The fact the Cartwright probably deserved his fate, after his abduction of Alice and the mutilation of Gabrielle Kane, is up for debate. Alice revels in the fact that she now sees Kate as her equal, but Kate is more disturbed at her own lack of remorse.

This is great. I have no idea what it feels like to take a life, but the depiction of Kate’s mental turmoil is cleverly and brilliantly handled. Jacob Kane’s presence and support for his daughter, along with the reappearance of Christina Wolfe’s awesome Julia Pennyworth, are probably the only things stopping our hero from going over the edge.

Conspiracies And Cover Ups

Another welcome plot thread this week features the resurgence of Reggie Harris, as played by Seth Whittaker. Reggie saved Colonel Kane’s life in prison, where Harris had been locked up for the murder of Luke Fox’s father, Lucius. Over recent weeks it’s been looking more and more like Harris was framed, and events in this week’s episode shed a whole new light on the case.

Once again I have to commend series regulars Camrus Johnson and Nicole Kang. Mary Hamilton-Kane is one of the truest, noblest characters in this, or any other CW show. The way she supports her sister, and Lucas, is nothing short of inspirational. Camrus Johnson plays the rage at seeing his father’s “killer” again. along with all the conflicting emotions he feels at discovering that Harris may actually be innocent, brilliantly.

Dark Reflections

The constant flux of emotions between Alice, Jacob and Kate has always been a source of great entertainment. These three characters should be as close as family could be, but Alice’s insanity and her inability to commit to being either an enemy or an ally, keeps throwing spanners in the works. One week we want to trust and forgive her, and the next she throws it all away. In “Through The Looking Glass” the results of the Arkham break-in may finally draw a line under the whole Kane family relationship.

Alice and Kate are twins, they are family, but while Kate struggles to put darkness behind her, Alice seems to want to embrace it. Events at her criminal lair, tied to a note from Coryana, are incredibly intriguing. Does this mean that Safiyah Sohail, Pirate Queen, is set to make an appearance on the show? If that’s the case I am beyond excited.

Conclusion

I’ve always liked this show, but the recent run of epsiodes have made me love it. The story beats are strong, the plot is progressing and there’s real character development every single week. In my humble opinion Batwoman has taken over from Arrow as the crown jewel of the CW’s DC Comics related TV line-up.

The Flash – S6 Ep15 – The Exorcism of Nash Wells Review

Who doesn’t love an exorcism?!! Well Eobard Thawne is undoubtedly not too fond of them after this week’s events.

With Thawne taking home in Nash’s body the team are desperate to find a way to extract the evil and remove it for good. I thought this was a really good episode. As Nash is trapped inside his worst memory we find ourselves reliving it with him and get to see why he’s taken such an interest in Allegra. Tom Cavanagh is superb once again in this episode. He doesn’t even need the change of outfit to distinguish the difference between the two versions of Wells – you can tell who is who purely from his facial expressions.

Barry learns a lesson that we’ve learnt before on The Flash … he doesn’t need his powers to be a hero, although he learns it (again) the hard way. Let’s call it a refresher exercise! Cecile was fabulous this episode with her exorcism kit, I love her comedy relief. Joe continues to grow suspicious of Iris who is focused on a new mission for Eva with Mirror Kamila. I have to say this is beginning to become one of my favourite Flash storylines so far!

Batwoman – S1 Ep15 – Off With Her Head Review

Writer: Natalie Abrams

Director: Holly Dale

Starring: Ruby Rose, Rachel Skarsten, Nicole Kang, Camrus Johnson, Dougray Scott, John Emmet Tracy, Debra Mooney, Sam Littlefield, Nicholas Holmes and Michelle Morgan

“Off With Her Head” is the darkest, most horrifying and disturbing episode so far; not just when it comes to Batwoman, but possibly out of any of the DC Comics related CW shows. I don’t know whether the Bat-Pantheon of characters just lend themselves to these kinds of stories, but this series stands apart from every other show in the Arrowverse, in tone, content, violence and horror.

This show feels much more like a companion piece to Gotham, or even the deliciously dark Pennyworth. This, to my mind, is a very good thing indeed.

This week we learn more secrets about Alice/Beth’s past, and meet a character that embodies one of the most vile evils on this Earth: an abusive parent. Mabel Cartwright, Augustus’ mother and Mouse’s grandmother is one of the most detestable creatures I’ve ever seen on TV, even her son is almost meek in comparison.

Pure Evil

This show is making me feel things that I’m not sure I want to when watching “entertainment.” Much like I did after seeing Todd Phillips’ Joker, I find myself disturbed at the notion of sympathising with people like Arthur Fleck or Alice. These people are sick, yes, but they are also killers and so far removed from the morality and sense of justice I believe in, that I should find everything they do or stand for to be reprehensible. Instead, thanks to the circumstances they’ve endured and the evil and abuse they have been physically and emotionally scarred by, I cannot help but empathise with them… and that makes me very uncomfortable indeed.

Characters like Mabel and Augustus Cartwright are pure evil, but seeing the way they treated Beth/Alice has now led me to question whether they also experienced similar traumas. That’s one rabbit hole I really don’t want to go down, because I feel dirty enough about feeling pity and empathy for Alice.

Does that make me a bad person?

Not Just Another Comic-Book Show

Any kind of TV that makes me think, and question my own beliefs and emotions is a successful piece of TV. This isn’t just throw-away fodder, this is the kind of show that stands up with true crime dramas, or documentaries looking at the psychology of serial killers. It just happens to be a Superhero show based on characters I adore.

Every cast member shines this week and Ruby Rose is truly beginning to bloom. Nicole Kang and Camrus Johnson provide a few lighter moments, but there isn’t really anything in “Off With Her Head” that would count as funny, or humorous. John Emmett Tracy is disgusting as Cartwright, but Debra Mooney who plays his mother Mabel, is the worst kind of  monster imaginable. She and Rachel Skarsten, who has managed to surprise me yet again with her range and her talent, deliver the best performances of the episode.

We get an adorable guest appearance by Michelle Morgan at the beginning of the show, playing Kate and Alice’s mother, Gabi. Seeing a real good, kind, loving mother, and then witnessing everything that follows, is a stroke of writing and directorial brilliance.

Conclusion

Batwoman is rapidly becoming the deep and dark show of the Arrowverse, more so that the late, lamented Arrow ever was. “Off With Her Head” was a horror movie in places, and depicted violence and imagery that I’m incredibly surprised was allowed to air on prime time TV.

Sometimes shows and movies interject laughs and jokes to lighten the mood, frequently this falls flat and just destroys the atmosphere. This episode doesn’t do that. It’s claustrophobic, dark and one of the most disturbing pieces of TV the CW has ever broadcast.

I loved it.

What does that say about me?

Legends of Tomorrow – S5 Ep8 – Romeo V Juliet: Dawn of Justness Review

Following Ray and Norah’s wedding the newly weds have been settling into married life. However Damien’s words have been playing on Ray’s mind and Ray announces to Norah that he wants to be there for her so he thinks that they should leave the Waverider. With the decision made they head off to begin the day and encounter the others waiting for the bathroom that is being hogged by Zari. Ray and Norah break the news and all that matters now is how they tell Nate?

Ray and Nate have been through a lot together and the realisation that Ray is going to leave has just hit home. However while Ray finds a way to break the news the team are off to find the first piece of the Loom of Fate.

Charlie confirms that a trip to 1594 London is on the cards. Cue William Shakespeare who has the loom piece which is disguised as a ring. Shakespeare is going through a writer’s block and is stumped on how to end his newest play Romeo and Juliet. Meanwhile back on the Waverider Mona is back for Norah’s post wedding book club and an invitation to Zari follows. It isn’t long before Norah is having her delayed bachelorette party.

Constantine, Ray, Mick, Nate, Behrad and Charlie meanwhile have recovered the ring that Shakespeare had sold to fund the play. It seems that Ray’s last mission has gone without a hitch. Well that is until they decide to stay for Ray’s bachelor party. The drink flows and they start to talk about the loom. What they don’t know is that the coin maker has been working on Astra and they are spying on them to find out what the team are looking for. Constantine senses the presence and casts a spell to repel the being. He realises too late that it appears to be Astra. Constantine has interupted one of the local’s pints and a fight follows. Shakepeare observes the team in full superhero mode and the girls notice the title has changed and Romeo and Juiet is gone.

Mona tries to convince Mick to contact his daughter but he is afraid. Mona is the only one who can get through. Remains to be seen if Mick makes contact.

The team return to the Waverider and Sara brings them to task They are forced to return to London and to convince Shakepeare to put on the play with the correct ending. Shakespeare is found to be drowning his sorrows as the funds to put on the play have been cancelled following the disappearance of the ring. The team have to put the play on in order to save literary history. Howver while Ray is convincing Shakepeare Nate overhears Ray say he is leaving the team and is devastated by the apparent betrayal. Nate tells Ray to leave while they sort out this Shakespearean mess. It’s only when Nate is delivering the balcony scene with Constantine that he realises his mistake. Zari takes Nate’s place as Juliet and with Constantine as Romeo deliver a brilliant balcony scene and literary history is saved because the only tale of woe should be that of Juliet and her Romeo. Except this time they had competition as Ray and Nate said their goodbyes.

A number of questions for the rest of the season remain – what is the coin makers interest in the loom? Is she going to turn out to be one of Charlie’s sisters? Will the Romeo and Juliet scene signal romance for Constantine and Zari? How will the team function without Ray’s quirky ways? Still sad that Ray and Norah are gone with the team losing two members of its family. This episode landed while a lot of the world is facing its greatest challenge but what this episode has shown and the world in general is that we are all on a journey. We all start and finish but its the journey that matters and we all have our part to play in this part of our journey. Take care and we can all have an escape to the Waverider to look forward to.