Discussion! ‘The Man in the Yellow Suit’, Part 3

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What follows contains spoilers from season 1 of THE FLASH.

Jaw-dropping.

Brain-melting.

Unbelievable.

Holy (deity or curse word of your choice)

These were some of the online reactions to The Flash, Episode 15: “Out of Time”. Before we get started, let me leave a little spoiler space.

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Ok, here we go!

Let’s start with the prediction accuracy tracker:

  • Wells is not really his name – as a time traveler, he chose H. Wells as a reference to H.G. Wells’ The Time Machine  –  Status: Inconclusive 
  • Wells is really Eobard Thawne  – Status: Check
  • Barry and Thawne fight “through time” which ends with Thawne stranded in the past – Status:  Inconclusive but likely
  • Thawne needs Barry’s power to get back to his time – Status: Check
  • Wells caused the anomaly on purpose – Status: Inconclusive
  • Thawne’s “dead” wife (named Tess Morgan) is really Dr. Tina McGee of Mercury Labs– Status: Inconclusive
  • Barry will somehow become the very anomaly that causes the STAR Labs particle accelerator to melt down.  – Status: Inconclusive

Now, let’s talk about Episode 15, “Out of Time.”  The last 10 minutes of this had more “payoff” than any show I can remember.  Season finales – heck SERIES finales – have had less startling revelations (I’m looking at you, Sopranos!)   Starting at the 50 minute mark we got:

  • The final reveal that Wells is really Eobard Thawne, The Reverse Flash from the 25th century;
  • The “death” of Cisco (more on that later);
  • Iris finally admitting that she loved Barry;
  • Iris finding out Barry is the Flash; and
  • Barry travelling back in time.

Think about that for a minute. That all took place within 10 minutes of real time!  The image below accurately reflects what was going on at my house as I watched

Yellow Suit 3.1

Hat tip to Batman Memes for the pic!

So where does this leave us? Let’s start with the obvious. A lot of main characters are in bad shape – Singh, Joe, and Cisco are seriously injured or dead and a tidal wave is about to hit Central City

So, what happens next?

…..and then Barry travels back in time with most of the knowledge of what’s coming.  However, Barry does not know that Wells is Reverse Flash.  He cut Caitlyn off before she could tell him.  This is important.

The obvious story here is that Barry will change events such that Singh and Joe do not meet those fates and Mardon is captured before the tidal wave can be set off.

Cisco is another matter. His discovery about Wells/Thawne has been building for weeks – much earlier than where Barry is in time.  This time travel will not fully derail him.  Something may throw him off the scent for a while but like Thawne says, Cisco is clever.  He may get delayed (which saves his life in the short-term) but ultimately he will not be denied.  His current death will likely be undone by Barry but he’s still Thawne’s trail.  Eventually, he’ll figure it out again. I hope Barry is around when he does.

Now, why is it important that Barry doesn’t know about Wells true identity?  Let’s say the conversation between Caitlyn and Barry had gone like this:

Caitlyn:  “Barry, I need to tell you something important”

Barry:  “Not now, Mardon is causing a tidal wave that will flood the whole city!”

Caitlyn: “Barry, I just got back to STAR Labs. Cisco is dead and before he died, he convinced me that Wells is the bad guy. He’s in league with the Reverse Flash.  Now, go create a wind wall to sap the wave’s power”

Barry creates the wind wall and goes back in time.

Imagine what he would do with the information Catilyn gave him.  If he had found out about Wells before he travelled back in time.

Barry would have investigated and gone after him.  Especially if Cisco convinced Barry that Wells was really the Reverse Flash.  But Barry doesn’t know – and now Cisco / Catilyn are days away from discovering it.  I suspect the writers will enjoy throwing Thawne / Reverse Flash references at us whenever we see Wells for the next few episodes.  Barry, Cisco, Caitlyn and Joe will be blissfully unaware while we scream and shout at our TV sets.  Beautiful.

We have several weeks until the season finale.  I could see them throwing Cisco off the trail for the next few weeks only to have him re-discover the truth in time for the final couple of episodes.  Perhaps Thawne attacking Cisco is the fuse that ignites the “fight through time” battle that Barry and Thawne will have?  I could buy that.

Where does this leave Barry and Iris?

Barry went back in time but unlike the situation with Wells true identity, he knows that Iris loves him.  That will probably be true a few days back as well but Iris has apparently felt this way for a while.  Will she admit it to herself?  Will she allow herself to admit it to Barry?  That is definitely up in the air.  As the show is on the CW I’m going to go with “Soon” and “Eventually”.

Due to Barry’s time travel, Iris will also never have learned that Barry is the Flash.  Eventually, we get to see that reveal again.  If it’s like the comic books it’ll be slightly more….cozy.

So where are we headed?

Time for some more predictions!

Barry will study the pictures from the mirror and “change” how he fights Thawne 

We know now that Barry and Thawne will fight. They will travel back to the night Nora was killed and Thawne was stranded in the past. The question is, will it happen the same way again?

We’ve seen Barry look at the pictures from the night Nora Allen died.  During that conversation with Joe he says the pictures tell him what not to do. Barry works under the assumption that if he does something different, he’ll save his mother.  While that’s possible, it’s likely that saving his mother could lead to his father dying instead or to Thawne keeping his powers  or to…any number of things.  This screams “Law of unintended consequences” to me. In short, Barry will save Nora.  Hilarity will ensue.

Reverse Flash – Murderer  

We’ve already seen this: Yellow Suit 3.2

How long before we see this?
Yellow Suit 3.3

Who is that underneath that Batgirl mask? That’s Iris Allen.  The way she dies at the hands of the Reverse Flash looks familiar, doesn’t it?  I do not think this is imminent but down the road?  Definitely. Why else show Thawne kill Cisco that way?

We will find out that everything Wells/Thawne has done – built STAR Labs, built the particle accelerator and created the anomaly which caused the explosion – is for one reason and one reason only:  To create the Flash.

We now know that Thawne is from centuries ahead in time (the 25th century if the lore is a guide). While living in the 25th century, before he ever time travelled, it’s possible that he’d know someone named Harrison Wells created STAR Labs back in 2001.  At some point, Thawne’s 25th century technology allows him to mimic The Flash’s powers. Fast forward to now.

Barry and Thawne fight and Barry figures out how to remove Thawne’s powers.  Barry travels back to the future leaving Thawne marooned in 2001.  Thawne assumes the identity of Harrison Wells.  With no immediate way to create time travel he does the only thing he can do:  Begin the steps needed to bring the Flash into existence so he can mimic Flash’s powers and time travel again.

Think about it. This is Eobard Thawne, one of the great villains in DC comic history.  He’s not the altruistic type.  There is no logical reason for a marooned-in-the-past supervillain like Thawne to create STAR Labs EXCEPT to allow him to get what he wants. In this case that is a return trip to the 25th century.  In Thawne’s own words, the Flash’s power is the only thing that can help him do it. Bank on it.  Everything Thawne has done while using the name Harrison Wells was to create The Flash.

Like the man said, it’s a means to an end.

–  Vrin

A side note:  I’ve watched the Thawne reveal a dozen times now. I still get chills when I see it.  They did an absolutely MASTERFUL job setting it up.  Masterful.

Discussion! ‘The Man in the Yellow Suit,’ Part 2

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What follows contains spoilers for season 1 of THE FLASH.

Before we get to the spoiler-y stuff let me say:

In my previous post I predicted that Wells would be shown as the Reverse Flash.  That’s one in a row!

The Weather Wizard is the star of an upcoming episode.  When they killed Clyde Mardon in the pilot episode I said Clyde was not the Weather Wizard.  The true Weather Wizard was either Mark or Marco depending on your Flash and that we’d eventually he’d try to avenge his brother.  Welcome aboard, Liam McIntyre, THE WEATHER WIZARD!

I have no idea what they plan to do with Grodd, but I hope it centers on his controlling General Eiling, all the toys he brings with him, and a war of domination on Central City.

Eventually someone in authority will find out STAR Labs has a super powered jail cell beneath it holding a number of people who’ve never stood trial.  Hilarity will ensue.  It’ll be even better if a Grodd-controlled Eiling orders the release of the super criminals and wages war on the Flash.  Season 2 beckons!

Ok, enough spoiler space.  Time to talk about what’s really important…

Yellow Suit 2.1

Oh. Yeah.

In The Matrix: Revolutions (go with me here), Agent Smith – a computer program – leaves the Matrix and inhabits the real world body of “Bane”, one of the other people freed from the Matrix.  While Bane’s body remained the same his consciousness was different – the original man was replaced by the consciousness of Agent Smith. To look at him you’d never know the difference but once Neo looks at him – looks through the meat and bone – he sees that it’s Agent Smith on the inside.  When defining “who” someone is, the shell is irrelevant. It’s the consciousness that matters

We know that shell of Harrison Wells is the Reverse Flash.  Despite this reveal – and it was a great reveal – we still don’t know who Harrison Wells truly is on the inside.  Here are some of the internet’s best guesses as to who is Harrison Wells on the inside?  Is Harrison Wells:

  • Eobard Thawne (Reverse Flash) time travelled back to the past?
  • Hunter Zolomon (Zoom) time travelled back to the past?
  • A future version of Barry Allen travelled back to the past?
  • Barry Allen from an alternate Earth?
  • Metron of the New Gods?
  • Abra Kadabra come back from the 64th century?

See what I mean?  Even though we know Harrison Wells is the Reverse Flash WE STILL DON’T KNOW WHO HE IS.

I’ll list what we do know about Wells and see if that helps. We know that Wells:

  • has the powers of the Flash while in the Reverse Flash suit;
  • super-speed powers are spotty while not in the Reverse Flash suit;
  • uses the tachyon device to collect the Speed Force;
  • will kill (Simon Stagg);
  • will remove Barry’s enemies who know Flash’s secret identity – Girder (freed by Wells, killed by Blackout), General Wade Eiling (hand-delivered to Grodd);
  • has access to advanced technology including a sentient computer (Gideon) and a newspaper from 2024;
  • is a widower. His wife was named Tess Morgan and she died in a car crash several years ago; and
  • knew Barry was destined to be the Flash (watched the video of Barry being struck by lightning).

Summed up what we know for sure that Wells

  • will do anything to protect the Flash;
  • drove Barry into becoming a hero;
  • convinced Joe that Barry being a hero is for the best;
  • is driving Barry to get faster and faster; and
  • is concerned with a future “Crisis”.

Sum it up and what does it mean?  A driven scientist who will do anything knows an accident creates a hero.  I do not think it’s a stretch to say that Harrison Wells caused the accident that created the Flash on purpose. Now, we know for 100% sure Wells is the Reverse Flash but we are not 100% sure that Wells killed Nora Allen.  I will go on the assumption that Wells is the Reverse Flash who killed Nora.  We won’t know for sure until that scene is shown at Flash speed in its entirety. If it turns out that he didn’t, I’ll do another post about it.

So why? Why would Wells go back in time and kill Nora Allen?  Because to create the Flash two things need to happen:  Barry’s mother needs to die (giving him the lifetime of motivation) and the and the lightning bolt needed to strike him and bathe him in the chemicals (giving him the powers).  Wells almost certainly caused the STAR labs events. It makes sense that he caused the other as well.

But why? Why is Wells so insistent on creating the Flash?  I think the answer lies in two things:  The “Crisis” in the future newspaper and the fate of his wife, Tess Morgan. For the record, I come up with my own theories but the idea of Wells’ wife being a driving force was not my idea – a tip of the hat to Blaine Pardoe for that lead.  I expanded on what we talked about, Blaine.

What motivates Harrison Wells?

From the future newspaper we know that on April 25th 2024 the Crisis ends and the Flash goes missing. From Wells reaction to the future newspaper having no references to the Flash when Blackout steals Flash’s powers we know that the Crisis – and a successful outcome – is important to Wells. But as I laid out above, Wells is a “bad guy”.  What would make Wells care so much about the Crisis? His wife could.  I think Wells stake in the Crisis is tied to Tess Morgan.

The simplest theory is that during the Crisis, Flash was one second too slow in saving Wells wife and that’s why Wells went back in time  – to push the Flash to be better so he’d save Tess. That’s possible but I have another theory.

I don’t think Wells wife died in the early 2000s as he claimed.  I don’t think she died in the Crisis either.  In fact, I don’t think she died at all.

I think Harrison Wells wife is really Dr. Tina McGee, the scientist at Mercury Labs who built the tachyon device stolen by Reverse Flash / Wells.  When you see them in their police station scene they clearly know each other but more than that – they talk like they have a long history.  In fact, when Barry threatens to expose some things going on at Mercury labs, McGee responds by saying Barry is very much like Harrison.  The disdain in her voice is EXACTLY how a ticked off wife would talk to her husband.  Bank on it. She’s Tess Morgan.

Something happened during the Crisis – perhaps Harrison somehow causes the Crisis – but somehow Tess Morgan is thrown into the past.  She assumed the name Tina McGee (conveniently using her same initials).  “Harrison” (whoever he truly is in the year 2024) taps into the Speed Force.  He travels into the past to rescue Tess but they exist now before the Speed Force has been created.

Yellow Suit 2.2

Nice to meet you, Mrs. Wells.

She blames Harrison for this predicament.  Neither of them can get home because travelling forward requires more power than they have available. The only person capable of creating the power levels they need is Barry.  Harrison creates STAR Labs and engineers the events that lead to the “anomaly”. Harrison realizes that the lightning bolt is only half of the “Flash Creation Equation”. He uses what little speed force he has collected to travel back in time again and kills Nora Allen, setting Barry on his fateful path.

In my last post I posited that Barry and Reverse Flash would fight “through time” and that part of that fight would take place on the night Nora is killed.  Barry now knows he will time travel and fight the Reverse Flash when Nora is killed.

I could see Barry figuring out it’s Wells that murdered Nora and attacking him setting off the very events that lead to her death.

I can also see a Flash / Reverse Flash fight – a fight engineered by Wells – in the particle accelerator causing the very anomaly that creates the “accident”

Geez but this time travel stuff is fun, isn’t it?

Now that I’ve laid out what I think is going on let’s go back to the beginning:  Who is Harrison Wells?

It may be easier to describe who does not fit this story:

Metron is a New God.  Wife problems are beneath him. It was a nice theory for a moment, but no.

Abra Kadabra seeks adulation and applause.  Wells hasn’t sought anything like that since STAR Labs blew up.  He’s out

An Alternate Earth Barry and a Future Barry would likely still have some semblance of Barry’s big heart and heroic streak.  Wells has shown himself to be conniving and manipulating.  Not big hearted and heroic. They are both out.

That leaves Hunter Zolomon and Eobard Thawne.

As I said in my last Flash post, I think they have merged the two attitudes into the body we call Harrison Wells.  The question is which personality is the dominant one. WHO IS HARRISON WELLS?

The answer is Thawne.

Zolomon was a cop with a troubled past who gains powers by accident. Thawne is a future scientist who gains his powers on purpose by replicating the events that create the original Flash.  A scientist who gains powers on purpose?

While my new thoughts on the role of his wife and the Crisis change Wells’ motivation, I think the core of my original thought remains true.  Harrison Wells is really Eobard Thawne.  He recreates the Flash’s powers but something goes wrong (The Crisis???) and he winds up in the past having to create his greatest enemy in order to save his wife and return to the future. The story elements of insert Hunter Zolomon’s “Make Flash a better hero” characteristics are worked into his personality as Wells needs to create and build the Flash but underneath…under the meat and bone…lurks Eobard Thawne.  The Reverse Flash.

What do you think fans? I’m willing to listen to any argument for or against.  Lets hear it!

–  Vrin

Discussion! ‘The Man in the Yellow Suit’

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What follows contains spoilers for the first half of Season 1 of THE FLASH.

The mid-season finale of the Flash introduced his arch-nemesis, the Man In the Yellow Suit, aka the Reverse Flash.  Many questions sprung up about who he was under the mask, which version of the Reverse Flash was he?  What use is the tachyon device to Harrison Wells?  I welcome you to read my stab at answering these questions and some other predictions below!

Let’s start with this:  Harrison Wells is not a real name.  Well, it’s a real name but it’s not HIS real name.  He chose it purposely.  H. Wells who happens to be a time traveler?  Like HG Wells who wrote The Time Machine?  At some point he will reveal this delicious play on names and half the audience will say “WHY DIDN’T I SEE THAT???”  But not you – you heard it here first!

With regard to “Who is the Reverse Flash”? Let’s look at what we know from the mid-season finale:

  • The Reverse Flash wants a Tachyon device for reasons unknown
  • The Reverse Flash and Barry “Have been at this [fight] for a long time” (Reverse Flash quote)
  • Wells is abducted and beaten up by the Reverse Flash
  • Wells has the Reverse Flash suit, the stolen tachyon device and displays the voice trick Barry uses

So it seems clear to me:  Wells cannot be the Reverse Flash (because Wells was beaten up by him).  He also has to be the Reverse Flash (because he has the suit, the device stolen by Reverse Flash and can do the voice trick).  Oy!

To sort out this conundrum I’ll work on the assumption that Wells IS the Reverse Flash.  It’s possible that he’s not and if he’s shown not to be, I’ll do another post about it.

The first question I have is “In Flash lore, there are two Reverse Flashes.  Eobard Thawne and Hunter Zolomon.  One hated everything about the Flash (Thawne).  The other wanted Flash to be a hero worthy of fighting him (Zolomon).  Which Reverse Flash is Wells? Thawne or Zolomon?”

Let’s start with some observations: What attitude do we see from Wells with regard to Barry?

Yellow Suit 1We see Wells protect Barry by killing Stagg, we see him encouraging, coaxing, demanding Barry be faster (several times),  and we see him manipulate Barry into being a hero (negative reinforcement followed by “believing in him”, getting Detective West to support Barry as the Flash etc…).  All of these actions can be summed up as “Making Barry into a better hero”.  That, plus the red eyes while in the Reverse Flash suit, describes Hunter Zolomon.

In the comics, Eobard Thawne gains his powers by using 25th century science to recreate the Flash’s powers but only when he wears the Reverse Flash suit.  Eventually Thawne gains the powers on his own by tapping into the Speed Force created Barry creates when he runs.  The faster he runs, the more Speed Force is generated. Sound familiar?  I believe the tachyon device is Wells’ way of capturing that speed force.  This is something akin to what Eobard Thawne would do and is another reason why Wells wants more speed from Barry.  More speed = more speed force = more power for Wells.  As we know Wells is a time traveler and he’s from the future, I think he wants to use this power to get back to his own time.   Wait…what? Here’s why:

In the lore, Barry and Thawne have fought “through time”.  By that I mean if the fight took 5 minutes – 2 minutes took place in 1988, 50 seconds took place in 1975, one minute in prehistoric era etc…the fight was an 5 minutes long to them but it was spread through different time periods.  If I’m right, in the show story, part of that fight took place was when Nora was killed.  At the end of the “through the time stream” fight Barry will strand Thawne “in the time stream.”

Yellow Suit 2

CONCLUSION:
I suspect they have merged Zolomon’s attitude (Make Barry a worthy hero) and Thawne’s story (stranded in the past by Barry) to create one Reverse Flash in the body we know as Harrison Wells. I think the show will eventually have that “through the time stream” fight and at the end of their fight, Barry will strand Thawne/Zolomon/Wells in the recent past where he recognizes that he can only get home by creating “The Flash”. He will assume the identity of “Harrison Wells” and use his knowledge of the future / technology to build STAR labs and the particle accelerator.

I also think this is why Wells keeps checking on “the future” – to see if his presence in the past has altered anything (and also why he became so upset in the episode where the future newspaper showed The Flash never existed – if Flash never exists, Reverse Flash cannot exist and Thawne/Zolomon/Wells can’t go home).

Lastly, I suspect that at the end of that fight, Barry will somehow become the very anomaly that causes the STAR Labs particle accelerator to melt down.  In essence, he will create the very accident that gives him powers in the first place.  Chew on that one a while, internet!

While I’m not quite sure how that will work yet, I am sure that “the anomaly” wasn’t an accident.

New episodes return on January 20th.  What do you think will happen?

– Vrin

Review! The Strain, Ep. 1.12: ‘Last Rites’ [Spoilers]

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We open at the Stoneheart group with Eichorst visits a dying Eldritch Palmer who’s demanding the Master change him into a leader level vamp.  “He’s the Master. He does or he does not

The Crew (Setrakian, Eph, Nora and Fet) return the pawn shop after unsuccessfully attacking the Master.   Setrakian regroups next to his vampiric heart-in-a-glass and we flash back to Young Abraham buying a horse in Albania, 1967.   He returns home to his wife Miriam excited that he’s found the Master.  He rides his new horse to the ruined castle where he believes the Master resides. Lowering himself down a well, he finds a vampiric hidey hole similar to the one he’ll find 37 years later in the NYC subway. Exploring, Setrakian finds a vampire nest! The Master speaks through a vampire telling Setrakian that the sun is setting and he is far from home. Setrakian bolts and finds Eichorst has taken the rope he’d used to lower himself into the well.  Setrakian climbing out of the well only to find his horse disemboweled.  He runs home and arrives to find it empty.  Later, in the darkness, his vampiric wife and kids return and Setrakian is forced to kill them. He “keeps her alive” by taking her bloodworm infected heart with him.  That’s disgusting.  Dutch returns to the pawn shop, surprisingly un-vamped, and she’s brought “a win” with her.  She can hijack the Emergency Alert System to put Eph on every TV and radio station for 30-40 seconds.

Meanwhile, Gus abducts Creem at gunpoint looking for guns and ammo.  They retrieve Creem’s weapons cache from his dockside office where Gus finds out about an interesting “special container” of Creem’s.  Surprise! It houses a bunch of vamps!   Gus gives Creem a gun and though they’re under attack, Creem immediately fires at Gus!   They fight each other and the vamps simultaneously until Gus gets the drop on Creem and knocks him out.  They’re saved from the attack by the Vampire Assassination Squad who kill the attackers, kidnap Gus and leave Creem alone with a vampiric bad-guy pile.

1.12A

“What the hell just happened?”

Fet and Dutch resume their flirtmance as she sets up the broadcast equipment on the roof where we learn that Dutch’s father got her into hacking. Also, she specializes in passionate, destructive relationships.  Fet thinks these are the best kind.  Is there any way this ends well?  Any way at all?

Eph nervously begins his speech.  He’s from the CDC and he warns of the plague, “this Strain” while he shows Redfern’s autopsy pictures, warns that infected loved ones return to hunt their families and advises that sunlight kills them before being cut off.

1.12B

The More You Know, starring Dr. Ephraim Goodweather.

As the broadcast finishes, vampires attack the pawn shop!  Rushing into the apartment, the crew finds Gabriel Bolivar stinging MarielaI knew he’d be back!  Fet and Eph attack Bolivar, trapping him as vamps led by Eichorst break through the windows and doors!  The crew retreats to the basement with Fet carrying Mariela!  They gather their guns, knives, swords as the vamps break into the secret lair.  Nora cries over her mother but somehow summons the strength to kill her before she turns. This is incredible! Setrakian leaves his wife’s infected heart behind as they flee.

At Stoneheart, the Master finally visits Palmer and rewards the old man by turning him.  The episode ends with Palmer dancing in the rain….

CONCLUSION
That was an amazing episode.  They nailed Dutch/Fet’s flirting, Eph’s nervous, over-wordy speech and Setrakian’s loss and resulting passion.  However, the star of the episode was the complexity of Mariela.  The unspoken parallel between last week’s memory disease being treatable and the Strain virus demanding death was simply outstanding and difficult to watch.

What does this week’s parallel between Setrakian’s flashback killing of his wife and Nora’s killing of her mother mean for Eph and Kelly?

BACKLOG PRIORITY
This episode:  10/10 – It’s so rare that TV writers get things right.  This episode got EVERYTHING right.  Brilliant.
The Strain:  10/10 – If you’ve missed it up until now binge watch it before next week’s season finale.

Vrin

Review! Sleepy Hollow, Ep. 2.2: ‘The Hatewatch Continues’ [Spoilers]

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We open with CraneSTILL WEARING HIS CLOTHES FROM 1787 – recalling an obscure wedding ritual in which the Horseman will marry his Katrina.  That would be…bad.  Immediately, we get a “man-out-of-time” joke about “the wedding industry”.  Sigh… Crane believes the ritual’s possible location may be where the Horseman holds Katrina.  He researches it while Abbie goes to meet the new Sherriff

The new Sherriff (Reyes) is tough! She kicked the Cartels around!  She won’t take any crap!  Lets see how that attitude holds up when a headless guy starts swinging an axe at her

Crane uses his photographic memory / instant recall to figure out where Abraham / Horseman has Katrina.  They’re in Dobbs Ferry. I always knew that place was evil!  The pair arrives at the location, confirming the Horseman’s there by making a noise outside his hideout, The Horseman appears, scans the area looking for intruders but doesn’t notice them.  But…but…He doesn’t have eyes so he can’t “see”.  Why doesn’t he notice them in the bushes 10 feet away? Sigh…. Katrina’s there but it’s too dangerous to rescue her now.

Searching for a weapon against the Horseman, they find Benjamin Franklin’s plan to build a Frankenstein’s Monster / Super Soldier called “The Kindred” which “…is the equal of the Horseman of Death.”  The plan requires a body part from the Horseman himself.  It’s always something…Luckily (?), they still have the Horseman’s skull.  From last season. You don’t care. Trust me.  Franklin already had a body, Crane will find it.  It’s 15 minutes into the show and credits are still rolling.  WTF??

Crane and Abbie retrieve the Horseman’s head from a safe deposit box (you don’t care, trust me.).  While they’re there, a bank worker approaches Crane and doesn’t comment on his clothes from 1787???  Seriously?  Then they make another Man-out-of-time joke this time it’s about credit cards. They retrieve the head and leave.

2.2A

“A credit card, you say? Can it be used at Old Navy?”

Jenny meets Sherriff Reyes who arrests her for possessing firearms. But..but..you don’t understand! I can’t fight the Horseman without them!! Crane, Abbie, Reyes and Jenny meet in the jail. Reyes doesn’t like Crane. I think Reyes understands just fine. I’ll bet anything she’s one of Moloch’s servants.

Crane and Abbie use Ben Franklin’s directions to find the Franklin-stein Monster in the caverns, making another “Man out of time joke” about Crane not asking for directions along the way.  That’s 3.  Ugh, I hate this show. They bring Franklin-stein’s Monster to the Horseman’s hideout.

The plan is to raise the monster, use him to lure the Horseman out while Crane sneaks in to save Katrina.  They don’t know about that Moloch gave Henry’s (the Horseman of War) automated armor. Uh-oh.  The Raise Dead spell finishes just as the Horseman arrives and I feel like I’m watching Monday Night Raw’s Main Event! Franklin-stein’s Monster vs. the Headless Horseman! Oh but the Horseman of War jumps in! It’s 2-1 until Abbie shows up, shooting War with an ineffective shotgun. Just like a cop to bring a gun to an undead, immortal warrior fight…  Franklin-stein’s monster impales the Horseman and is about to finish him when he sees Abbie about to be run down by War. The Monster engages War in combat, saving Abbie.

2.2B

“It’s a 2-1 and the Horseman of War is going for a chair! The only thing missing is the Steel Cage!”

Crane rescues Katrina but she won’t go with him.  She thinks she’s better off convincing the Horseman to delay his plans while feeding Crane information rather than flee.  This is an Idiotic plot device to keep them apart. Does she REALLY think this will work?  REALLY? UGH! Crane and Abbie leave Katrina there and Franklin-stein’s monster rides off into the sunset leaving both Horsemen wondering what just happened. Crane and Abbie return to their hideout but find no signs of Franklin-stein’s Monster.

CONCLUSION
This show is so ridiculous that I can hardly watch it without laughing.  Sadly, it’s not trying to be funny.

BACKLOG PRIORITY
2/10:  I’d watch this ahead of HGTV, Lifetime or anything Kardashian related….but that’s about it.

– Vrin

Review! Doctor Who, Ep. 8.6: ‘The Caretaker’ [No Spoilers]

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8.6B

“What did I tell you about sparkly shirts, John?”

One of the the practices that the Doctor Who showrunners have done in most of the seasons since 2005 is introduce a few stories that feature more than one companion.  “The Caretaker” is that kind of story, and while the action of the episode takes place around the Coal Hill Secondary School–place of employment for both Clara and Daniel Pink–the main focus is on Clara’s management of the two most important relationships in her life.  This focus isn’t handled that well, and what we get at the end of the hour is Clara on the receiving end of a pair of emotionally-intense ultimatums that just don’t bring the wonder that the first five episodes of the season do.

It’s not that the story lacks suspense or intensity; it’s that for every attempt to bring the Big Bad Universe to Coal Hill, the writers feel the need to undercut it with some kind of reminder that Clara is leading a double life.  An alien robot that looks like the awesome turian Garrus Vakarian (from the Mass Effect franchise of role-playing games) has become stuck near Coal Hill and is endangering not only the school, but also the entire planet.  Check that with the Doctor’s internship as the caretaker of the school–a decision that is never clarified–and the fact that he spends half of the episode trying to guess who Clara’s boyfriend is.  The murderous robot, a really cool-looking and Cyberman-like sort of killing machine that I found myself wanting to know more about, drifts benignly in and out of the plot, never mustering much suspense in its threat, while Clara lies and fights and glares at the two men, the centerpiece of a weird sort of love triangle that I found off-putting after the great, threat-responsive team-ups of the past few weeks.  Basically, I wanted more of what wasn’t going on and less of what was.

8.6A

Problem. Solution…can it wait for a bit? I’m in the middle of some calibrations.

Daniel Pink and the Doctor kind of hate each other for no reason, both functionally unaware of this emotion until a striking scene in the TARDIS.  As good and dramatic as this scene is, it makes no real sense as neither character has ever behaved this way before.  A robot is threatening to destroy the planet, but hey, that’s okay: let’s air our grievances about the chain of command and let that threat get ever closer.  The solution, and the final confrontation with the robot, is super cool and really exciting, but watch for the slight of hand: the writers once again trick you into thinking that the Doctor and his two human charges are interested in saving the planet, but really what they’re doing is communicating wordlessly about how to relate to Clara best.  There’s also a tangential subplot involving a disruptive student from the school that makes no real sense, either.

BACKLOG PRIORITY
6.5/10 – A weird focus on Clara’s dating practices and guessing other people’s motives water down some really good-looking action pieces and a cool freak-of-the-weak villain.   Muddy storytelling bogs this episode down to the point at which it’s the weakest episode we’ve seen in season 8, but it’s by no means a severe regression.  Still, I get the feeling that what we’ve seen here will come into play again later, hopefully without all of the melodrama this script suggested.  Next week: spiders, space suits, and the moon!

– Vandal

Review! Sleepy Hollow, Ep. 2.1: ‘This Is War’ [Spoilers, but you shouldn’t care. Trust me here. You shouldn’t.]

Standard

I’m hatewatching Sleepy Hollow.  I wanted to like it.  Really, I did.  It’s got many elements that I normally find enjoyable.  It tells a story of a secret war between good and evil which took place during the American Revolution.  Washington, Franklin, Adams, Jefferson and, yes, Ichabod Crane were all involved.  According to this show the war between evil (personified by the demon Moloch) and the American Founding Fathers, not freedom from the tyranny of King George, was the true reason for the Revolution.  This should be an easy sell to me given my love both legend / myth stories and of Dan Brown style conspiracy stories.  In fact, I’m probably this story’s exact target.

So why do I hate it?

First, I think they tried to do too much.  The first season crammed together a number of legends / myths / secret societies / stories in such a way that it felt like they were being boiled in a cauldron “Take every idea we can think of and put it in the plot!” style. They include (but are not limited to):

  • 2.1A

    “Why do I hate thee? Let me count the ways…”

    Ichabod Crane and the Headless Horseman

  • The Four Horseman of the Apocalypse 
  • The myth of the “Sin Eater” 
  • The mysterious bible of George Washington 
  • Ghenna / Purgatory 
  • Witchcraft 
  • The Sandman 
  • That ever-present boogeyman, The Freemasons 

Secondly, the plot details are so convoluted that – as I’m writing this – I can barely describe them. The Headless Horseman is Cranes wife’s former suitor – and he’s also Death – one of the Four Horseman of the Apocalypse.  Crane’s wife Katrina is a witch who’s trapped in Purgatory.  His son is a Sin Eater (Google it) who pretended to help the side of good but was secretly the Horseman of War. As children, the cop who helps Crane (Abbie Mills) along with her sister Jenny saw the demon Moloch.  Coincidentally, the exact same demon that the Revolution was secretly fought to stop!  This drove Jenny insane while Abbie repressed the memory – until Crane helped her remember it.  Conveniently, Crane is a genius with a photographic memory which allows him to instantly recall any anciently arcane detail.

If it sounds confusing that’s because it is.

Thirdly, the “man-out-of-time” jokes.  EVERY. SINGLE. EPISODE.  They don’t go 5 minutes without reminding the viewer that Crane doesn’t know anything about the modern world.  Cell phones, cars, guns, the internet, modern traditions (i.e. Making a wish while blowing out a birthday candle)…that Crane doesn’t understand any of it.  Probably 25% of the dialog is dedicated to these jokes.  Abbie says something modern (“It’s all about the Benjamins”)  which Crane doesn’t  get.  She explains it and Crane disdainfully responds in his “My era was better because…” way.  I’d say those jokes are old but it might encourage the writers…

2.1B

“Raise your hand if you think Crane should make a trip to Old Navy.”

Lastly, but far from leastly, as Season 2 begins Crane has been in modern times for quite some time yet he’s still wearing his 1776 attire.  Did he come back with a suitcase full of clothes?  Does he wash them every night?  Are his clothes dry clean only?  HOW ABOUT GETTING HIM SOME MODERN CLOTHES?

I have no issue with the actors or the setting.  Mison (Crane) and Beharie (Mills) play off each other well and make an enjoyable odd couple.  They both do a more-than-credible job with the subject matter and scripts they’re given. The show’s setting, autumn in Sleepy Hollow New York, makes for a perfectly safe-yet-creepy backdrop.   This shows problems begin and end with the writers.  They’ve created such a ridiculously complex and unbelievable plot that it’s hard to enjoy the show

I’ll continue to watch this show as changing my DVR recording preferences requires more occult knowledge than opening the gateway to Purgatory….but I won’t like it.

BACKLOG PRIORITY
3/10 – Irritating anachronisms, played out jokes, and a convoluted plot render this show barely watchable. There has to be something better you can do with your time.

– Vrin