Connect with us

Television

Supergirl Premiere Is Quite An Adventure

Published

on

fandomentals-supergirl-transp-back-10

Supergirl Season 2 Reviews: Episode 01, “The Adventures of Supergirl”

Premiere night!!!

There’s so much to see! Superman is here and Lena Luthor, plus a new villain and Project Cadmus. Plenty of Supergirl/Superman action and bonding throughout, and Kara makes some major life choices with Cat Grant’s mentorship. The DEO gets a brand spanking new building, too (It’s so shiny). The change to the CW doesn’t seem to have affected the tenor or writing of the show. The premiere lived up to our expectations, and felt like the same show we gushed over last season, er, last week. And now we’re back together again and ready to talk about all the excellent things that happened last night (and that One Other Thing). Get ready for some fangirling. We’re excited. But in the spirit of objectivity and fairness, we’re not without critique.

Quick Recap

Introducing Katie McGrath as Lena Luthor.

After a voiceover recap of Season 1, the episode starts with the final scene from the finale: the Kryptonian pod crashing. The nameless, comatose man in the pod gets taken to the DEO, which has some swanky new digs (a skyscraper in the middle of downtown National City). Kara is trying to figure out what to do with the opportunity Cat gave her to choose her own job; Cat pushes her to look inward. Cat’s new assistant has a ‘Kira’ kind of day (making mistakes with salad dressing). Venture, a new spaceship, launches but has trouble. Enter super dorky Clark Kent and his very undorky chiseled jawline to help save the day as Superman, after Kara gets there first. (Side Note: they’re the freaking cutest team ever! She tells random strangers she used to change Clark’s diapers. LOL. We love them. Superhero Kryptonians are puppies, it is confirmed.) Ahem. Supes visits the DEO to check on the mystery man from the Kryptonian pod. Winn is a nerd so excited to meet Supes that he almost passes out. Alex thinks Clark smells nice (he seems like an Old Spice kind of guy). J’onn and Superman have a strained greeting that Alex, true to form, doesn’t fail to comment on.

Next is bring your cousin to work day! Cat is flirty adjacent (and apparently thinks Clark, Superman, and Lois Lane have a ménage à trois). We learn Lex is in prison, but Lena, his sister, was suspiciously not present on the Venture launch despite having booked a seat on the shuttle. We also have a new villain—who was behind the Venture explosion—who has just acquired some high powered drones. Clark interviews Lena Luthor, who wants to rename and rebrand Luthor Corp in National City and make it a force for good. Kara shares how overwhelmed she feels by her options (with James, with Cat and Catco) with Clark, who encourages her to follow her heart. Alex confronts J’onn about “Operation Emerald”, the operation that put a wedge between him and Superman. J’onn had been on the team to first discover kryptonite on earth, and instead of destroying it as Superman urged, he chose to kepteep it for safekeeping. Winn figures out that Lena was the target of the Venture bombing just in time for her helicopter to be attacked by two of the drones. Superman goes to save the civilian population from more drones while Kara rescues Lena. Kara and James have a heart-to-heart-ish talk about her not knowing what she wants. Cat mentors her about diving in and not being afraid.

Brenda Strong plays an excellent villain.

Finally, the name of the new villain is revealed: John Corben, an assassin hired by Lex to take out Lena. Superman confronts J’onn about keeping the stock of kryptonite. Corben bombs Lena’s corporation renaming ceremony; the Supers save the day, with help from Alex and Lena. Corben is shot, but doesn’t die. With some prompting from Lena, Kara decides she wants to be a reporter (which Cat saw coming a mile away). Kara tells James they should just be friends, because she is unable to juggle so many obligations at the same time. Winn leaves Catco to join the DEO. Clark tells Kara he’s proud of her and offers to stay on for some family time. A mystery woman (Brenda Strong, Queen Nia, from The 100) from Project Cadmus offers Corben the chance to become Metallo.

Best Quote: “You’re standing on the shore afraid to dive into the new waters and you’re afraid because you don’t want to say goodbye to the mild-mannered, love-lorn Kara Danvers the sweet and dutiful assistant to Cat Grant. You are standing there looking out at your options: the icy blue river, the fast flowing water, and the choppy sea and they all look very appealing to you because you’re dying to go for a swim but you know that water is going to be cold and journey is going to be hard and when you reach the other side you will have become a new person. And you’re scared to meet that new version of yourself. Now we all get used to our own personas or used to our own comfort zones, but trust me. In order to live, we must keep daring, keep diving.”—Cat Grant, to Kara

Thoughts & Feelings

Let’s start by saying that this definitely felt like the same show from last season, which was a primary concern for us going into the network change. The biggest noticeable difference between Season 1 and Season 2 is the pacing. Season 1 was rather deliberate and slow, juggling only 2 to 3 plot balls at any given time. Season 2 comes out the gate juggling 5 to 6 plot balls while riding a skateboard, meaning that individual plot points aren’t getting as much screen time as we are accustomed to. This may not be a bad thing, but it so will depend on how they pace out each of these plots across the season. Frantically juggling too many plot balls often results in dropping all of them, and this storytelling problem has taken down many shows of recent memory. However, it’s difficult to make a definitive statement about whether or not this is a good change judging from just one episode, but it’s something to keep an eye on going forward.

 

Something else that was noticeable was how the show just jumped right into the Season 2 plots without wasting time wallowing in the Season 1 arcs. The show does very little handholding in transitioning to a potentially new audience, and this is understandable considering how tightly the first season wrapped up. The one plot point pulled over from the last season was the Season 1 cliffhanger, which was surprisingly the plot point that got the least attention in the pilot episode. While it wasn’t exactly the number one priority to resolve this cliffhanger within the first episode of Season 2, we hope they don’t keep it on the back burner too long. It gives off the impression that the show is trying to distance itself from its predecessor, which does not inspire hope within the returning fandom.

Once again, it’s hard to make a definitive statement about the pacing with only one episode as reference, but we can say that Season 2 seems to be aiming for much faster plot development. We are willing to extend the benefit of the doubt to the writing team, but this is something we are keeping an eye on, since the deliberate and slow pacing of the first season was something that made the show really stand out.

Moving on to the new characters introduced in the pilot, we of course have to start with the Man of Steel’s small screen debut. Clark gets a great ‘running down an alley while changing costume’ sequence. He is both well cast and well written, in our opinion, so he slides into the show’s established cast very well. He is definitely his own man, but his camaraderie with Kara is well demonstrated and lives up to the subtle seeding from the first season.

Clark and Kara together is everything we’d hoped for and expected. Everything. They have such a sweet, loving, mutual, respectful relationship. Clark is supportive and treats Kara as an equal even though he’s been a superhero for longer. He jokes with her, gives her advice, and acts all around like the best older brother Kara could want. While we’d have liked more Alex and Kara time, we appreciate what they gave us enough to forgive them. Alex and Kara’s relationship is side-lined in favor of building up Clark and Kara’s, but not to the detriment of the sisterly bond. We know it’s still there, just in the background for a while.

As we were hoping last week, Clark definitely comes across as Kara’s teammate, not her superior. She gets the ‘heavy lifting’ job saving the venture and corrects Lena Luthor when she ignores Supergirl’s presence at the rescue. She comes up with the plan to save the building while Clark acts as the muscle. But they’re a true team, a partnership of equals. You don’t get the idea that her having moments of brawn and problem solving is pandering at all. It helps that Superman’s so genuinely excited for her when she succeeds and takes his cues from her, as befits a visiting superhero and cousin. They give us all the feels. And that final scene, where Superman asks Kara if he can stay so she can tell him more stories about Krypton and his family? *Hearteyes*

Second in our new character lineup is Lex Luther’s sister, Lena Luthor. Hot damn Lena Luthor. We couldn’t keep our eyes off of her; Katie McGrath commands your attention on screen. We can’t wait to see how she evolves in the season. She’s going to be an interesting foil for Kara. They’re both adopted, both attempting to use their family name as a force for good, and was it us or did Lena give Kara the once over in a flirty way?

We appreciate how she contrasts with Lord, too. She’s proved herself less distrustful and more open. She shares intel willingly where he held back from reporters and the government; she appreciates Supergirl/man instead of resenting them. Put her in a room with Lord and let them duke it out please and thank you. It is also noteworthy that she seems to be playing straight-faced when it comes to her mission to redeem her brother’s business. She’s come to National City in an effort to rebrand her brother’s company, trying to polish off the tarnish left by his crimes that resulted in 30+ consecutive life sentences. While there’s equal set up here for a villain arc, we’re kind of hoping that they don’t take that path. Thus far we’ve received no indication that she’s going to make an about-face, and when given the opportunity to she has been distinctly leaning towards the side of good. She seems genuinely interested in taking on a trademark Supergirl redemption arc; we hope she stays that way.

At the tail end of the pilot, we get to see the origin of Metallo. Damn, we’re ready for Metallo. He’s a pretty epic Superman villain—a cybernetic assassin powered by a kryptonite core—so you won’t want to miss next week’s episode. Plus, we get the reveal that Metallo is a product of Project Cadmus, presumably to fight against Kryptonians like Supergirl, Superman, and any remaining convicts from Fort Rozz (if there are any Kryptonians left). Project Cadmus as the big bad this season thrills us. We can’t wait for it all. Plus, Project Cadmus means that maybe Superboy/Kon-El will make an appearance. Fingers crossed.

Moving on to the characters we know and love from last season, J’onn and Alex didn’t get enough screen time for us (we love them), but hopefully that will be remedied soon. J’onn’s beef with Superman sets up the threat Metallo will serve next episode and makes sense of why J’onn has never shown much interest in having Superman around. While simple and understandable, the friction between J’onn and Superman seems a little thin, and too easily resolved. We are expecting that conflict to come back later, as it definitely could use a little more solid development considering how important it is to Superman’s relationship with the DEO and J’onn himself.

Don’t go Cat! We’re going to miss you and your epic sunglasses.

Cat continues to have some of the best dialogue, mentoring monologues and snippy one liners included. We know she is going to be making a change, since Calista Flockhart will be appearing in fewer episodes this season, and they’ve seeded it already this episode. Tying it to Kara Danvers own journey of self-discovery and pursuing her passion works well, and it gives us faith that the show will give Cat Grant the graceful exit she deserves from primary hero to secondary protagonist.

On to James Olsen and the fly in the ointment, the one letdown in this action packed ball of sunshine and adorableness that was this premiere: the potential sinking of the James x Kara ship. The conversation with James and Kara was a bit awkward and unexpected, given that we know they were kissing just a day or so ago as the family dinner shown in the Season 1 finale was the opening scene of this episode. James’ reaction was on point and fit with the overall tenor of the show toward non-mutual relationships, but this felt rushed. As much as we enjoy the lack of relationship drama on this show overall, we feel like they needed to drag this out a bit.

Relying on dialogue and exposition has always been one of the show’s strengths, but in this case it’s fallen into a weakness. While we can absolutely accept that their relationship would be heavily strained by Kara’s attempt to juggle so much at a time, we feel that the show needed to let us watch it happen, rather than tell us that it would. There hasn’t been enough time for us to accept this as a foregone conclusion. Kara having a moment of “I have a lot going on, a lot is changing, and I don’t know how to handle it all. I need time,” would have made more sense and allowed for the same amount of tension. With all the build-up from last season, this lovely interracial ship deserved better than a “we’re just friends” within the first episode.

We’re not ready to call it quits on this ship yet, though. Maybe the writers are trying to slow burn more, maybe they just thought Kara had too much going on and wanted to give her more space to grow as a person before getting them back together. Maybe she’s going to be the queer one instead of Alex (Oh please, oh please. We want a bulletproof LGBT character more than anything). Who knows? It’s honestly too early to tell. We’re a bit annoyed, but not ready to bust out the pitchforks yet.

Random Thoughts

  • They have not diminished their CGI budget it seems. Damn. Though it will be interesting to see how they escalate the stakes in future seasons. Kara saved a plane, then she and Superman saved a space shuttle. What’s next? The moon? We’re hoping for the moon.
  • We keep wondering how Superman and Supergirl keep their capes under their clothes. Maybe they have a magic pocket they tuck them into that lays completely flat? Must be special Kryptonian technology.
  • The volume for this episode was really low for Gretchen in Wisconsin. The show was barely loud enough, then the commercials blared. No idea if this is something the network can fix or if it was just the fact that she uses antennae for reception (I don’t want to pay for cable, so sue me—Gretchen).
  • They addressed the fact that Superman looks so young: apparently Kryptonians age more slowly on Earth
  • J’onn named kryptonite, that’s neat
  • Helicopters don’t fare well on this show, do they?
  • Clark uses his x-ray vision much more than Kara does. It makes sense given that Jeremiah Danvers gave her glasses specifically to block that use of her powers. She grew up not utilizing it.
  • This moment:

    Cat wrote “reporter” on Kara’s resume when she interviewed her. Priceless.

  • After being saved by Superman, a man says “We’re moving back to Gotham”. LOLZ
  • Biracial family on bikes spotted! We love how diverse the background characters are.
  • Being a reporter runs in the family, it seems.
  • Cat reverts to calling Kara “Kira” when Kara is in her ‘feeling lost’ phase. Was that on purpose or a reflex of communicating with the shy, unassuming Kara of much of Season 1?
  • ARE THEY GOING TO MAKE KARA GAY. The only way we will forgive them for destroying Kara x James is if they give her a girlfriend. Anyway, now that we’ve gotten that reaction out of the way, we can wrap this episode up 🙂

In Conclusion


Images courtesy of CW

Bi, she/her. Gretchen is a Managing Editor for the Fandomentals. An unabashed nerdy fangirl and aspiring sci/fi and fantasy author, she has opinions about things like media, representation, and ethics in storytelling.

Advertisement
1 Comment

1
Leave a Reply

avatar
 
1 Comment threads
0 Thread replies
0 Followers
 
Most reacted comment
Hottest comment thread
0 Comment authors
Supergirl Introduces Korrasami 2.0, but is it Brave Enough to Also Deliver? - The Fandomentals Recent comment authors
  Subscribe  
newest oldest most voted
Notify of
trackback

[…] Gretchen and Elizabeth have hypothesized that this phenomenon might be due to the fact that Katie McGrath could have chemistry with a decorative house plant. And that’s not, strictly speaking, untrue. But then we also see how Lena is canonically flustered by Supergirl (repeatedly), and that she and Kara can bond on a rather unique level. […]

Television

Honest Conversations and Unfortunate Insensitivity on Cloak and Dagger

Bo

Published

on

By

cloak and dagger featured
Content Warning: This review discusses suicidal ideation and attempted suicide, as depicted on the show. 

Last week’s episode of Cloak and Dagger ended with Tyrone and Tandy together and finally ready to discuss why exactly they have new superpowers insistent on bringing the two of them together.  Both their lives have been tossed upside down, and the only consistent thing in the tragedies of both their lives is each other. Maybe it’s time to sit down and talk about it? That’s exactly what “Call/Response” did this week. Unfortunately, to mixed results.

cloak and dagger church

Time to Talk

“Call/Response” continued Cloak and Dagger’s attempts at interesting episode structure by weaving together forward plot momentum in and out of the previously mentioned conversation between its heroes. This conversation lasted through the entire episode as Tandy and Tyrone hashed out what their powers are, what they do, how they experience them, and what their dreams from last week meant for each of them. These two had a lot to talk about.

For a good 90% of this conversation, I liked the direction of it. The honest and open-ended nature was refreshing. For the first time since they acquired their new powers, they held nothing back regarding what had changed, what they were going through, and how it affected them.

It moved both characters appreciatively forward. Even better, you could see how the conversation positively affected both in the scenes from the next day, when both acted on everything they discussed. Cloak and Dagger thus did a good job timing subjects of conversation with next-day action. Like you’d expect, these scenes were not exactly subtle about it, but so long as the point is made what does that matter?

Through their conversation, Tyrone and Tandy finally started acting against their instincts. They challenged their perceptions of the world. Tandy made an honest effort to learn about her mother’s boyfriend Greg and found out he was genuinely interested in her mother and trying to help. She made an effort to embrace the hope she always rejected before. Her experiences have shaped her towards cynicism in everything. Life is a giant scam where everyone uses everyone else to get ahead, and you see this in her own method of making money. For her to open her mind to the possibility of Greg proving her wrong was a significant step forward.

Tyrone faced his own challenged perceptions, naturally based around his brother’s murder and murderer. He considered Tandy’s argument about his place in the world and where his privilege truly stands, as well as the destructive path his actions led him down. The failed trip to the police station was one important step, but the truly important moment was his field trip with his father to Otis’s old Mardi Gras Indians stomping ground.

(By the way, add another cool twist on New Orleans culture to Cloak and Dagger’s credit.)

Through this trip, Tyrone found new perspective on his father and brother, as well as his own anger. His father stressed the importance of finding a channel for his anger. And he might have found his way via the suits the Mardi Gras Indians create, and the taking on of his brother’s unfinished suit. Tyrone needs this outlet and focus for his anger. He struggled with it throughout the first three episodes, even to the point of trying to shoot Detective Connors.

Even better, all this character development provided the biggest plot movement yet.  Tandy’s determination to get along with Greg led to direct involvement in the Roxxon lawsuit he represented her mother in. It also led to Roxxon killing Greg for presumably getting too close. There should be no escaping the consequences of Greg’s death. Tandy’s mother will suffer. Who knows whether her determination to take the corporation down will wax or wane. Tandy herself visited the burned office to retrieve documents from Greg’s safe, so she certainly won’t let this go.

Tyrone’s plot movement was not so direct, but still meant something. He learned of his brother’s training to be a “Spy Boy” for the Redhawks, a role in Mardi Gras parades involving moving ahead of the Big Chief but was described in this episode as someone responsible for scouting the unknown to seek oncoming trouble. The unfinished suit Tyrone adopted also largely resembles the signature look of Cloak in the comics.

And of course now you also have to wonder if Roxxon will involve themselves with the Redhawks.

There was definitely a lot of good content in this episode. At this point Cloak and Dagger is close to establishing a base quality that this episode certainly matched. Unfortunately, the end of the episode left a real sour taste in my mouth. One reason due to plot, and another for some poor handling of a very sensitive subject.

Insensitivity and Stalling

You saw the content warning, so let’s dive right in. The episode-long conversation between Tandy and Tyrone breaks down at the very end, when conversations about privilege turn into insults and eventually lead to Tandy admitting to suicidal thoughts. In his anger, Tyrone tells her that if she wants to die so badly, she should just do it.

The next day, in the aftermath of Greg’s murder, Tandy restrains her hands and feet and jumps into the ocean, clearly planning on killing herself. She eventually resurfaces when her powers trigger and she cuts the ropes binding her hands.

I will say this: my final judgment will depend on how this is handled moving forward. Right now it feels like a really cheap use of suicide. There are some things you must always take care to portray responsibly when telling your story, and this did not feel like a particularly responsible way to handle Tandy’s thoughts of ending her life. I worry this was nothing more than an attempt to end the episode with high drama, and that the distasteful implications are unrecognized.

Now, we do need to see where it goes from here. If Tyrone recognizes the terribleness of what he said and apologizes for it, and there’s a genuine effort to understand the mistake he made, this can pass by without issue. And it’s not like the idea that Tandy might have suicidal thoughts came from nowhere. Considering her immense survivor’s guilt and lack of connection, I can certainly understand how thoughts of suicide enter her mind. Thing is, I don’t think you can just throw it out there, have a main character yell at her to just go ahead and kill herself, have said character try, and then move on from it. It all happened so quick and dirty that I can’t help but feel like it may have just been there for drama.

I hope it’s needless to say that using suicide just for drama is an awful idea.

Cloak and Dagger needs to follow up respectfully on Tandy’s attempt. Suicidal tendencies are a serious concern that must be handled delicately and with a purpose. And unfortunately, this is an easy fallback too many shows rely on without the proper care needed. I hope Cloak and Dagger doesn’t.

My second, lesser, and plot-related concern is the argument that led to Tyrone’s insensitive words. Namely that, to me, it came completely out of nowhere. The two of them spent the entire episode having  a calm, respectful discussion. Even sensitive subjects between the two caused little drama. Then all of a sudden a piece of genuine advice blows it all up and leads to an unnatural argument over privilege. Which leads to Tandy mentioning her suicidal thoughts and Tyrone’s comment.

This development renewed my worry from last week over these two being kept apart too long. It seems clear that the real, ground-shaking forward movement on Cloak and Dagger won’t take place until Tandy and Tyrone unite. “Call/Response” spent 90% of its runtime heading in this direction. Then it all fell apart.

I certainly understand how a conversation over privilege could lead to heated tensions, especially with backgrounds like Tandy and Tyrone have. Still, this felt so artificial. It almost felt like Cloak and Dagger attempting a superficial, ham-fisted discussion of privilege without any real meat. The main goal seems to be keeping the two main characters apart. It’s the absolute worst attempt the show has made regarding the privilege debate. Scenes like Tyrone walking into the police station and looking around, only to find a sea of white faces, speak volumes more than this conversation did.

While we’re certainly not back where we were at the end of the second episode, we’re a little too close for comfort. Both characters seem like they will tackle the plot alone. And you know they will tackle it ineffectively. The whole idea (at least to me) is that they won’t truly make progress until they team up. I’m also reaching a point where I will start to distrust the moments where they appear ready to team up if this goes on for too long.

In one moment, they undid a great deal of the work the 40 minutes before hand strove hard for.

I’m all for character development, but here’s hoping Cloak and Dagger avoids this mistake in the future. And here’s hoping Tandy’s suicide ends up as more than a way to create drama feeding this mistake.

Other Thoughts:

  • I was delighted when Greg turned out to be a good guy. Damn shame they killed him in the same episode he turned out as such.
  • Tandy’s mother is seriously tragic. I worry we’re heading in a self-harm direction with her as well.
  • I also loved learning more about Tyrone’s father, Otis. He seems to harbor a lot of the same barely repressed anger that his son does. I hope we get more of him and his history with the Redhawks.
  • Roxxon is still paying for the rights to the plot of ocean with the collapsed rig. This suggests to me that whatever gave Tyrone and Tandy powers still slumbers beneath the water.
  • Sometimes Tandy and Tyrone have some really good banter…and then sometimes I wonder how it can be so off.

Images Courtesy of Freeform

Continue Reading

Television

The Expanse Wanders Among The Wreckage

Barbara

Published

on

By

The Expanse is on its penultimate week, and with an episode called “Fallen World,” showed us the aftermath of a disaster.

Recap

When the episode starts, Holden is unconscious, so Bobbie picks him up and they head towards their shuttle. However, she realizes the speed limit might have decreased after her commanding officer threw the grenade last episode, and tests it. Turns out she is right. They get out and stabilize Holden. However, many Martians and Earthers are both dead on their ship, as the quick deceleration was a massive shock.

Naomi survived, but her skiff is no longer able to move, so she abandons it and steps into space. Drummer and her first officer are both pinned by heavy machinery, and have to cooperate to get out of the situation. Anna wakes up and goes through her ship, watching the scores of dead people. Those who are bleeding severely are lost as well, since in zero gravity, there is apparently no way for the blood to drain. One would expect they’d have some sort of vacuum pumps for that, being a space-faring civilization, but whatever. Anna is horrified and offers her help, being a trained nurse.

Holden’s brain scans show frenetic activity, but he’s not waking up. A MCRN soldiers feels like Bobbie is more loyal to him than to them, and suggests she kills him, because dying might be the best fate for him right now.

Drummer and her first have now gotten to the point of sharing life stories and singing together, since they are out of viable solutions for their situation.

When Clarissa wakes up, she think she successfully killed Tilly. But as Anna is helping fix her broken arm, Tilly contacts Anna on her hand terminal. Anna goes to find her, and Tilly tells her what happened before she dies. Clarissa, meanwhile, escapes the ship just as Anna catches up with her. She is left screaming that, “she cannot escape, only beg for mercy.”

Naomi arrives at the Roci and finds Alex, mostly all right, and Amos, who was hit in the head with a heavy tool and so is less alright. Drummer’s first starts coughing blood from his punctured lungs. For some mysterious reason, Drummer decides that means she should sacrifice herself, even though from what we have heard, doing so gives him a really low chances of survival. Still, she moves the machine back onto herself, freeing him, and he calls for help.

Clarissa reaches the Roci and manages to get inside. Naomi hears the impact and goes to check what is wrong. Clarissa tries to kill her—of course she does—but Anna, who apparently followed Clarissa, saves Naomi.

Drummer’s first, after hearing about the large number of wounded they have, gives the order to spin the drum of the ship, creating artificial gravity. They are unsure it will work, but they manage successfully. The first, who is not the captain, then opens a channel to other ships around them and invites everyone to transport their wounded to their ship.

MCRN seems to have more stupid ideas about how bad it is they are being saved by the “skinners,” apparently a name for the Belters. Bobbie effectively tells him he is an idiot and goes to see Holden, who woke up, and now tells her he had a vision of the end of everything.

Review

Overall, this was another good episode with solid pacing and clear progress forward. But there were still plenty enough things left that bother me.

First and foremost among them would be the storyline happening aboard the Martian shuttle. For one, the MCRN marine was acting completely ridiculous. The Expanse has always had trouble with depicting the less open-minded military types with any nuance, but this might be a new low. In particular, I am talking about handing Bobbie the gun to shoot Holden.

It made no sense at all in context: their orders were to bring Holden in. I don’t expect MCRN tortures their prisoners, so the argument with “might be the best for him” hardly made sense. Most of all, it felt like a test for Bobbie, but if so, it was a test of a kind I’d expect to see in Star Trek Discovery‘s Mirror Universe, not among the Martians. The Expanse show adaptation has always depicted the Martians worse than the books do, and this continues in the same vein. Bobbie is gaining the very uncomfortable overtones of being the “one good apple.”

On the other hand, Bobbie’s own role here was scarcely better, particularly her strange obsession with Holden. She is acting like they became best friends in the first half of this season, which is definitely not something I noticed. No matter how ridiculous the marine’s desire to have Holden shot was, he was perfectly right that it looked like Holden was controlling the protomolecule. We know it was because Miller was controlling it for him, but Bobbie doesn’t.

At the same time, it doesn’t follow she would immediately jump to the conclusion that Holden is a villain. He could be controlled by the protomolecule. In fact, he was, to a degree. Or, he could have simply gone insane. Once again, he had in a way. There are many possible explanations that don’t lead to wanting to have Holden executed, but which at the same time don’t lead to Bobbie insisting to her marine crew that, “Holden wouldn’t do anything wrong.”

It is doubly irritating because this is Holden of all people, everyone’s personal favorite white boy. Of course she would be all up in arms about him. Meanwhile, women of color were in danger or outright killed left and right this episode.

Speaking of which, Drummer. On one hand, when we first saw the situation she was in, I was worried it would develop into a mutual attempt at killing the other and saving themselves. I am truly, deeply grateful it didn’t. And even the idea of her sacrifice could have been a brilliant one, really, in the right circumstances. The way it played out here, however? Just after it is implied her first has a low chances of survival, without any particular indication that she is in serious trouble herself? It just feels very much like, “all right, the brown chick was the captain for a bit too long, time to give it to a white guy.”

The scene between them was acted excellently though, I have to grant them that much. Naomi was very good this episode as well, and were her Rocinante boys.

The one character who continues to be a disappointment is Anna. Her very last intervention was badass to be sure, but it’s not the kind of strength I expect from Anna. She’s not there to beat people over their heads. And until that moment, she was as insufferable as before. The most ridiculous moment was shouting after Clarissa. I understand she was meant to be upset, but it just looked stupid. Tilly repeating Anna was “very good at this,” meaning her pastoral duties, only made me roll my eyes once more. Show, don’t tell, please. At this point, such assertions about Anna are about as convincing as all the characters telling Tyrion he was clever on Game of Thrones.

The season finale next week is a double episode. At this point, I feel like it can go in many different directions, and I am all impatience to see which one it goes for.


All images courtesy of SyFy

Continue Reading

Television

Reverie Sows the Seeds of Doubt

Published

on

By

From NBC

Last week’s episode of Reverie ended on a cliffhanger. Mara realized that she wasn’t actually at her late sister’s house, talking to her late niece (she was actually pretty sure on that last one). This leads to an obvious question: where was Mara, really. Unfortunately for her, she was in the middle of a road, with a car on its way. Before the car runs her over, Mara is saved by a mysterious man who knows her name. Turns out Mara’s savior is Oliver Hill, who claims to be suffering from de-realization as well. Hill has been following Mara, out of supposed worry. Before Oliver was a concerned stalker, he was a founding partner of Onira-Tech. He has something to explain to her, but he needs food first.

From NBC/screenshot

Oliver Hill V. Onira-Tech

Reverie spends about half of the episode providing two arguments for what’s really going on. Oliver argues that Reverie 2.0 is inherently flawed. He claims that he and Mara, being the two people who have spent the most time in Reverie 2.0, will be representative of the general population. In his version, Charlie is Onira-Tech’s unthinking bodyguard who hates Oliver. The medication that Mara has been given is supposedly useless (which is not a great message, especially when paired with Mara’s previous trashing of her meds). Oliver tells Mara not to tell Onira-Tech about their conversation, but that lasts for about 3 minutes. Mara is scared and she needs answers, and she tries to test Oliver’s claims against Onira-Tech’s personnel.

On the other hand, Onira-Tech claims that Oliver Hill was unstable. Charlie claims that Oliver is dangerous. Paul shows Mara Oliver’s brain activity, explaining that he had issues before Reverie 2.0. Alexis tells Mara that her partnership with Oliver was founded in a romantic relationship. That relationship went badly, and Alexis doesn’t want to be defined by that failure, hence his erasure from the company. 

By the end of the episode, Mara agrees with the latter form of events. She seems to be finally persuaded by Alexis’ detailing of her and Oliver’s romantic partnership. However, it’s not clear that the narrative agrees with Mara. Mara doesn’t know where to turn, and Reverie loves drawing tension from that. It thrives off of Mara’s (and the viewer’s) disorientation.

It’s certainly clear that Oliver has other plans, since he offers to buy a Reverie system at the end of the episode.

Episodic Woes

This episode also included a client of the week. Part of the reason the Onira-Tech team started out the episode on edge was a theft within the building. Someone stole a copy of Reverie, and modified it into a form of “Dark Reverie.” The “Dark” version doesn’t have restrictions. Our client of the week, Glenn, is using it to plan a heist. Since last week’s episode involved a bank robber, it’s likely Glenn needed the jailbroken version for the detailed specifications.

Glenn is a man with a stereotypical form of OCD. He avoids daylight, and hates the color blue. In a twist that should not surprise the viewer, Glenn doesn’t want to commit the heist for himself. He’s been watching the single mother and son across the street. The son has a rare disease, and Glenn wants to save his life with a trial drug. Despite mostly living inside, Glenn’s motivation is that he feels like part of the pair’s family. This entire plot feels like a math problem. Sick kid + adult with stereotypical OCD + moral heist = episodic plot.

Glenn offers to sell out “Dark Reverie” sellers and give his system back on one condition: help him do the heist. Mara complies, but Charlie and Monica have other ideas. Instead of letting Glenn steal the medication, they make a deal with the medicine company CEO. The heist goes through, but is spinned as a test of the company’s security system. Glenn gets the meds for the kid, and doesn’t get a felony on his record. Smiles all around.

Conclusion

Reverie‘s season arc plot wildly outstrips its episodic plots. This week’s episodic plot was probably the worst so far. However, the arc’s plot twists easily, without feeling gimmicky.


Images courtesy of NBC

Continue Reading

Trending