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!

Supergirl – S5 Ep15 – Reality Bytes Review

In this powerful episode, Dreamer takes center stage in a deeply personal quest.

Sometimes, life sucks. People struggle everyday with a variety of issues and just want to get away from it all. This episode, through an interesting cautionary storyline, reminds us that we must confront our issues instead of living in fear of them. Perhaps more importantly, this episode also shines a light on real world horrors that the Trans community faces everyday via a heartbreaking story featuring Dreamer (Nicole Maines).Let’s recap!

The episode begins with a flashback to two months ago where Kelly monitors a test run of the new platinum lense prior to launch. Mr. Bates, the participant, sees his wife with another man in this winter fantasy land and fumes. He tries to exit, but cannot. Due to a glitch in the program, the failsafe failed to work. Kelly brings the man out of his VR experience and tells him that the glitch will be taken care of shortly.

In the present day, Supergirl and Dreamer fight a dominator which the latter takes out rather quickly. Dreamer encourages Kara to go off to her date with William (which ends being fun, but a bit awkward).

Before Nia goes home, she has an awkward run in with Brainy who arrives to escort the alien to the DEO.

At her apartment, Nia catches up with her roommate Yvette, who is excitedly looking forward to going out to meet her new boyfriend of three weeks (they met on Upswipes), Angus. Yvette encourages Nia to come with her to the club and to quit “crying over that weird little man.” Nia reluctantly agrees. Once at the club, Nia has a terrible vision that she is unable to interpret. Meanwhile, Yvetter is lured outside by “Angus” who in actuality is a bigot. He attacks her and leaves a message with her for Dreamer which simply states: “The world doesn’t want a trans superhero.” It also says that if she doesn’t stop her heroics, he will attack more people in the trans community.

An angry Nia and Yvette meet with the cops at their apartment. The NCPD assures them that they will do all they can to bring the man to justice. While Yvette goes to rest, Nia fumes over the attack. Kara arrives and attempts to comfort her. Nia, however, is now determined to end the man’s life. She claims he is not worth saving and that she will not allow him to erase her or her community. Kara (who later aids William in writing a piece about the attack) urges her to let justice prevail and not succumb to hate and killing. Nia gives Kara and the cops a few hours to fix this, but if they don’t, she will do it her way.

Elsewhere, Alex continues to train with J’onn. She is still struggling with controlling her new weapon. Their session is interrupted by Al, from the alien bar, with an urgent mission: his brother Trevor (guest star Corbin Bleu) is missing. According to Al, Trevor checked into a hotel a week ago for a simple weekend VR getaway in virtual Las Vegas and has not been seen since. The Tower crew agrees to help Al find Trevor with J’onn searching for his real self while Alex searches for him virtually.

Alex meets with Kelly, who helps her through the new Platinum VR experience. In the “lobby,” Alex sees various options, one of which features an image of her wearing a version of the Supergirl suit and another of her holding a baby. She stays on task and choses virtual Las Vegas where she finds a haunted house on a hill. This unusual place is a customizable add-on that Obsidian grants to advanced users free of regulation. Kelly also informs her that the house taps into peoples’ worst fears. Once inside, Alex finds two men submerged in large tanks of water screaming for help. Alex, facing her fear drowning, breaks the glass and saves them. The men, who are friends of Trevor’s, inform her that they have been trapped there for some time and that a man named Richard is responsible for their torture.

Meanwhile, in the real world, J’onn finds Richard’s wife, who turns out to be the woman from earlier in the VR experience. She explains that she has been having a virtual affair with Trevor and her possessive husband, computer engineer, is furious at her. J’onn quickly realizes that Richard has built a trap within the VR for Trevor.

Unfortunately for Alex, she does not learn any of this due to her losing communication with Kelly. She does however discover Trevor in another room where he is frozen in fear. He has been forced to explode over and over again. Alex successfully calms him down not before she is attacked by Richard, who has come to watch him suffer. Alex launches him out of the simulation where he wakes up in his home now forced to contend with J’onn. After a brief struggle, J’onn subdues him and takes him into custody. Alex finds out where Trevor is in the real world and relays the information to J’onn so that they can save him.

Elsewhere, after nothing happens in the search for the attacker, Nia decides to take matters into her own hands by luring the attacker with her own Upswipes account. She is successful in luring him out and meets him as Dreamer, much to his surprise and disgust. She confronts him as he spews hate and attempts to attack her as well. Dreamer quickly subdues the man and strangles him with her lasso powers. Supergirl arrives having been alerted to the situation via Brainy. Ignoring Nia’s earlier request/warning, Supergirl delivers a hope speech in which she urges her friend not to stoop to his level. She apologizes for not realizing the true dangers that her community face. She pledges herself as well as J’onn, Alex, and even Brainy’s aid in the further protection of the trans community. Dreamer then allows Supergirl to have the man arrested, not without a final threat however.

Later that night, at CatCo, Kara finds a crying Nia on the balcony and comforts her. Nia is overwhelmed and disturbed at how she wanted to murder that man. She also expresses frustration at not being able to interpret the dream she had, both now and before her mother died. In addition, she is heartbroken that one of the only people who loved her and supported her simply broke things off without an explanation. Kara apologizes for not considering Nia’s experiences, but also reminds her that violence is never the answer. Not lashing out in hate is what separates them from the villains.

Following Trevor’s rescue, Alex and Kelly discuss the events at Al’s bar. Kelly is shocked that Alex was able to eject Richard from the simulation and that the glitch was not fixed after all. Trevor then shows up and thanks them both for helping him.

Back at their apartment, Nia comforts Yvette and encourages her to not let this attack erase them.

Elsewhere, Brainy, who was tasked by Kara to gather information on the trans hate group, delivers his findings to the cops telling them the DEO takes these threats seriously.

Meanwhile, Richard is wheeled away in a hospital bed by Margot (guest star), the Leviathan liaison lady, to a room full of wrapped bodies suspended in the air.

At the Tower, Alex continues her training with J’onn. As they wrap up,  Alex receives a devastating call from Eliza. She delivers the news to Kara at their apartment: Jeremiah Danvers is dead.

This was yet another incredible episode of Supergirl. Nicole Maines delivers a powerful, and deeply emotional performance in this Dreamer centric episode. I have immense respect for her and the trans community for living in the face of these horrors. I give credit to the show for allowing this important message to be showcased. In addition, I really enjoyed the VR storyline as well which showcased Alex’s desire to help people no matter the cost. All in all, this was a deeply moving and powerful episode that continues the upward trajectory of the season!

Stay tuned for more recaps & reviews of Supergirl and the other DC TV shows here at Earth-9!

Batwoman – S1 Ep14 – Grinning From Ear to Ear Review

Writer: Denise Harkavy

Director: Michael Blundell

Starring: Ruby Rose, Rachel Skarsten, Meagan Tandy, Nicole Kang, Camrus Johnson, Dougray Scott, Alessandra Torresani, Jeryl Prescott, Sam Littlefield, Sebastian Roché, John Emmet Tracyand Rachel Maddow

“Grinning From Ear To Ear” brings us screaming into the present after the surprising ending we witnessed at the end of the previous episode, two long weeks ago. We last saw Batwoman in an embrace with her ex, Sophie, after Mary had pieced all the clues together and realised that her step-sister and the scarlet and black crusader were one and the same.

Deciding whether renewing a relationship, or having her secret identity discovered is more dangerous to Batwoman isn’t as easy as one might think. Historically, being linked romantically to any member of the Bat-Family has always ended up being more of a curse than a blessing, and uncovering a hero’s secret identity – particularly when said hero is a loved one or relative – has never been a walk in the park either. I don’t know if I’m more worried for Mary or Sophie these days!

Mirror, Mirror

The shocks don’t end there… oh, no! The episode starts with Duela Dent through the looking glass, but her reflection and warped sense of self perception is far more twisted than Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s ever was. If this episode is about anything it’s about how we feel about how others see us, and how in many cases that’s nowhere close to how we see ourselves.

Duela is the perfect character to bring to the forefront in this kind of story, as over her 44 year comics history she’s had more character twists and flips than almost anyone else in comics. The self dubbed “Joker’s Daughter” has been a murderer, an anti-hero and even a full-blown member of the Teen Titans! Her lack of cohesive identity is a strong part of this week’s story, and ties in beautifully with Kate and Sophie’s romantic dilemma and with Alice’s childhood terror at coming face to face with her captor and torturer, August Cartwright.

Masks

“Grinning From Ear To Ear” had me doing just that, from the opening scene to the closing credits. This episode was deep, intriguing and beautifully written; in terms of psychology, self-image and both the fragility and strength of the human spirit. I have to admit that I haven’t liked the character of Sophie Moore at all in this show, but I guess I’ve never walked a mile in her shoes. The introduction of her mother in this episode, played brilliantly by the wonderful Jeryl Prescott, made me think again.

Batwoman wears a mask, both to protect herself and those she cares about. Sophie Moore has worn a mask too, since her break-up with Kate. Whereas Kate’s mask defends both herself and others. Sophie’s decision to put on a facade to please everyone else ended up hurting Kate, her husband, her mother and – worst of all – herself. Lies seldom go uncovered, the truth will always out, and trying to save other people’s feelings by hiding the truth will hurt them all the more when it’s uncovered. Beyond that, the one person you’re really lying to is yourself.

Sometimes telling the truth will hurt you, or some of those you love. It’s a deep cut, a painful one, but one that will scar over and eventually heal. Lying, pretending and trying to please everyone else is like stabbing yourself each and every day of your life. Those are the kinds of wounds that remain raw and will never truly heal.

Conclusion

I absolutely loved this episode. I now have a deeper understanding of Sophie and Meagan Tandy has delivered her best performance of the season thus far. Ruby Rose continues to grow, week by week, and the old stalwarts, Rachel Skarsten, Camrus Johnson and Nicole Kang never cease to impress.

The writing and direction were also rock solid and even the guest stars were killer. Caprica‘s Alessandra Torresani made a deliciously depraved Duela – more, please – and I’ve been a fan of Jeryl Prescott for years. If you’re wondering where you may have seen this veteran actress recently, she played Madame Xanadu in DC Universe’s outstanding Swamp Thing series. How’s that for versatility?

“Grinning From Ear To Ear” was another terrific chapter of Batwoman, which left me excited and anxious for more.

Legends of Tomorrow – S5 Ep7 – Mr Parker’s cul de sac Review

Following Constantine’s brush with death Ray is inspired to seize the day and propose to Norah. Cue the preparations of a fancy dinner with Gary’s assistance at Chez Constantine. Norah arrives for dinner with her latest charge, Pippa. Gary who as enthusiastic as always seems to disappear.

Back on the Waverider Gideon has detected the presence of an Encore in 1874 Salvation. Astra has brought back Damien Darhk who has taken the 2018 Gary who was on Beebo parts collection duty following the team’s success two years before. Gary is tied to the train tracks by Damien and it seems that Gary is about to run of steam when Ava and Sara arrive to save the day. Gary tells them that Damien is back and he has taken his time device. Gary is soon sent back to 2018 while Ava and Sara go to Constantine’s to kill Damien hopefully before Norah finds out that he is back. They arrive but its too late and Norah is already trying to keep her dad happy. The lies follow and Ray is put in charge of watching Pippa while Norah gets to spend one more evening with her dad.

Meanwhile Constantine is still after the Loom of Fate and Nate suggests that a trip to the South Pole would lead to a part of the loom. Constantine is all geared up to go when he realises that Charlie had used her shape shifting powers to deceive him and to send him on a false errand.

Mick is his usual happy self and is infuriated by a very active troll who has taken exception to his novels. Zari is tasked to help Mick wth the troll so the rest of the team can deal with the Encore.

Damien is extremely happy with the thought of Norah’s darhkness and black magic reaching new heights. Norah’s lies spiral and within minutes Sara and Ava are her hench women and Constantine (much to his look of horror) is now Norah’s dark arts boy friend.

Ray, feeling sad after being asked to leave by Norah so she can manage her dad is bonding with Pippa over his favourite childhood programme of Mr Parker’s cul de sac. It is at this moment that Nate and Behrad reveal that they felt he was rushing things.

Zari and Mick have tracked down the troll and in a twist none of us saw coming Mick comes face to face with his daughter. The daughter he never knew he had with Ali. Definitley Mick’s daughter as the looks of attitude definitely show they are related. Mick can’t cope with the revelation and wipes their minds and leaves.

Ray returns to Constantine’s in time for Ava to find the ring in the cake and for Damien to realise that they were trying to poison him with a potion that would remove his powers, However Norah comes to her senses and reveals her new life and current role as child helper and fairy god mother. Damien is horrified and threatens to kill the team. Charlie, Behrad and Nate turn up just in time with Pippa who decides to wish them all on to Mr Parker’s cul de sac. Their stint on the programme forces Damien, Norah and Ray to talk properly about their future hopes. Charlie and Constantine are thrown together and after watching puppet Sara and Ava make up following the revelation that Wild Dog had offered Sara a job in Star City. Constantine and Charlie reach a deal that they will find the loom of fate to stop Charlie’s sister getting the loom, save Astra and then destroy it as the loom has powers too great for one person. Gary gets over his train phobia and Nate becomes everyones sunshine in Mr Parker’s cul de sac.

Damien finally comes to his senses and with all the drama Pippa releases Norah. Damien finally does the decent thing and accepts that Norah wants a different life with Ray. Ray and Norah decide to get married that very evening, The wedding goes with a swing with the full team in attendance. The team turned out in their finest refinery – except for Constantine who sported his trade mark trench coat. Damien gives Ray his blessing and suggests well warns Ray that he better be there for Norah and support her new calling, Ray suddenly realises that to have the stable life Norah needs he will need to leave the Waverider. Norah is overjoyed that she got to share her wedding with her dad who she thought she had lost forever.

Sara and Damien share a moment as Damien is about to sneak out of the party. Damien knows Sara can’t forgive him because he can’t forgive himself. Damien also admits that he made a deal with Astra for his return from hell and he expects an eternity of torture in hell because he didn’t fulfil the Encore contract. Damien sacrifices himself and uses the hell sword to return to hell despite the fate that is awaiting him. Norah is in the darhk over his fate but he is not concerned because he has seen and got what he wanted – Norah happy and settled with Ray and has the friendship of the legends.

What a great episode. Having Damien back was a real treat and seeing Norah and Damien reconnect was just magic. Mr Parker’s cul de sac appeared to be a sightly odd programme but it was the catalyst for the happy ever after for Ray and Norah. The sad implication though being the impending Ray and Norah departure which will be a great loss for the team. I loved Norah’s dress and Chez Constantine turned out to be the perfect wedding venue. Although Constanine could have changed his coat and it remains to be seen how long he is able to quit smoking for. Mick being in total denial over his daughter was also really refreshing and fun to watch. I expect Mick will have met his match. Looking forwad to fate taking a hand and the loom being a step closer as the series progresses.