Harley Quinn s2e8: Inner (Para) Demons

Air Date: May 22, 2020

Rating: 10/10

Harley Quinn travels to Apokolips to get a flying demon army from Darkseid. But everyone seems to think she’s overcompensating for something…

Something I really like about this show is that it’s like the exact opposite of the Batman Animated Series from the 90s. Where that always went back to the way things were before, this keeps every change no matter how tiny or how little you thought it affected the world in the actual episode.

Also this is a great episode to show a different side to Harley than we’ve really seen before, not just in she’s running from her problems so hard that she literally becomes a demigod halfway through. But in how the problem she’s running from is affecting her. And being that it’s Harley and she usually takes what she wants when she wants it, the fact that this is something she really can’t have creates an internal conflict so large she almost, but not quite, takes over the world. I’m interested to see how this changes her in the coming episodes…okay, she and Ivy made out. There, I said it.

SCORING:

+10: Really entertaining episode with some very funny moments

Harley Quinn s2e7: There’s No Where To Go But Down

Air Date: May 15, 2020

Rating: 11/10

Harley and Ivy are arrested by Two-Face, tried by Bane, and then locked into the Pit and have to figure out how to escape. Also, Batgirl and her father, Commissioner Gordon, are trying to take down Ratcatcher but Two-Face, along with Gordon’s drinking, get in the way.

This episode was amazing from start to finish. What starts off maybe a little slow with both the laughs and storylines, really ramps up by the end to turn into not only one of the funniest episodes yet but also one that causes all characters involved, even Bane, to have a moment to shine. It’s a story built like a ramp and the comedy comes with it, along with a bit of the ol’ ultra-violence along the way.

Also, this show needs even more “cameos” from DCs heroes and villains. Killer Croc is only in here for a few minutes but it’s enough to make him come off as his own person and not just an unstoppable killing machine like we usually see him as. I really wouldn’t mind seeing more “Harleyverse” DC characters around just to see what they do with them or at least how they would make them funny. Hmm, the Mad Hatter comes to mind…

SCORING:

+11: This episode goes to 11, what can I say?

The New Original Wonder Woman (1975)

Air Date: November 7, 1975

Rating: 10/10

In 1942, Pilot Steve Trevor crash lands on Paradise Island, home to the mythical Amazons including Diana Prince, aka Wonder Woman. Meanwhile, the Nazi’s are trying to find the leak at their secret air force base.

This was a game changer in the Wonder Woman mythos. At the time in the comics, she had lost her powers and instead became more of a spy with martial arts abilities and little else but DC was trying different things with the character. Fans didn’t like this change but thought they were stuck with it, but luckily this made-for-TV movie came along, put Wonder Woman back in her origins, along with back during WWII and gave her all her powers back. Also it quickly went from a one-shot movie into a multiple-seasons long TV show. The comics saw its popularity and quickly did the exact same thing, giving all of Wonder Woman’s powers back and setting her storyline back during the War.

Overall I felt this short movie was really good. It was just this side of being ridiculous and captured the essence of the comics very well. The original creation was a vision of a woman who was better than men, who could do things with ease that men had to try hard and, in this case, do everything with a smile on her face. Lynda Carter’s portrayal of the character is the personification of joy as she punches Nazis lights out.

Speaking of which, I like how the Nazis are portrayed in this. In most films and TV they’re usually shown as just pure evil with no other personality but here they’re more human than normal. I mean, they’re also characterized as being a group of foolish idiots which can be a bit hilariously stupid at points but it makes them feel like actual people. They are still a group doing things for the wrong reasons but it feels like Wonder Woman is stopping a misguided collection of people instead of the shadowy personification of evil with no actual characterization we usually get as villains. I don’t know if the whole show takes place during WWII or not but I wouldn’t mind seeing Wonder Woman fighting more Nazis in the future. Maybe I just like seeing them get punched in the face though…

SCORING:

+10: A very good made-for-TV movie that started something great

DC’s Legends of Tomorrow s1e7: Marooned

DC\’s Legends of Tomorrow — “Marooned” — Image LGN107A_0149b.jpg — Pictured (L-R): Caity Lotz as Sara Lance/White Canary and Wentworth Miller as Leonard Snart/Captain Cold — Photo: Bettina Strauss/The CW — © 2016 The CW Network, LLC. All Rights Reserved.

Air Date: March 3, 2016

Rating: 6/10

The Legends are hiding out in deep space when they’re attacked by Time Pirates. During the attack, Sara and Cold are stuck on the wrong side of they’re bulkhead doors and likely to freeze to death.

Flashbacks keep happening in the things I watch, but maybe that’s just a normal thing for any TV show and I haven’t really noticed until now. Anyway, the reason they don’t really work here is because I don’t think anyone cares enough about Rip Hunter to really know more about his origins than we already do. I mean, it’s every other character that’s been set up outside of this show that make this whole premise interesting. Rip’s more the guy who’s just there along for the ride. Also, he’s really one-note, all he cares about (and basically all he ever talks about) is how much he wants to save his family. He hasn’t deserved the amount of screen-time he eats up every episode, let alone deserving flashbacks so we can learn even more about someone with hardly a personality…

Ray Palmer shines light on every scene he’s in, but his relationship with Hawkgirl is so lacking of any chemistry I don’t think I’ve seen a relationship this forced outside of a B-movie. Part of me wonders if the writers just wanted these characters to have something to do so they threw them into a romance.

Outside of those things, I enjoyed everything else. I like the moments between Captain Cold and Heatwave as their partnership starts falling apart. I like Sara’s and Cold’s conversation when they think they’re dying, and the action, once it finally gets to it, is pretty exciting and great. Plus a space battle that surpasses most Star Trek dogfights.

SCORING:

+7.5: Despite a few cruddy moments, still a pretty entertaining episode

-0.5: Ray and Kendra’s “romantic moments” just makes me cringe

-1: Rip doesn’t deserve the part he’s given in this show

Daredevil s1e7: Stick

Air Date: April 10, 2015

Rating: 5/10

Stick, the man who trained him after Matt’s father died, comes back in order to recruit daredevil in a mission to get rid of a weapon being smuggled through New York he calls Black Sky. What Stick needs is a soldier, but he needs Daredevil to cross a line he can’t cross.

I like this as a character building episode, and I like learning about Stick, but I feel like I usually do when they spend too much time on flashbacks, that the episode is mostly unnecessary. I’m not sure if I like the side story involving the reporter, though it is interesting seeing how the public is slowly discovering Daredevil, him investigating Fisk feels like it was stolen straight from House of Cards. I mean, they’re both Netflix properties, so they can steal from themselves as they like, but it’s just a bit too close and goes on for too long to say they’re just referencing it or something.

The parts spent in the present are pretty cool though. The action is pretty solid and the martial arts are some of the best you’ll see on TV…or Netflix, whatever. I also really like Stick. He feels like a very dangerous person who you’re glad is on Daredevil’s side, or at least you hope that he is. The acting is great, even if more parts feel unnecessary than those that don’t.

SCORING:

+5: Somewhat lacking

-1: Too many unnecessary parts

+1: Good acting

Harley Quinn s2e6: All the Best Inmates Have Daddy Issues

Air Date: May 8, 2020

Rating: 6/10

When Harley and Ivy spot a normal looking Joker working at a bar, Harley remembers the time she first started working at Arkham Asylum and tried to stop Joker from blowing up a part of Gotham City.

I’m not really a fan of flashback episodes as they’re usually just there to distract us from the actual plot, and this really isn’t any different, but I think the origin story of Harley and Joker is interesting enough I’m surprised they haven’t turned it into a movie yet. But there’s no stakes to it, and that’s the other issue I have with flashback episodes, we already know that whatever else happens in the show, these characters won’t learn anything or grow in a way that affects them in the modern day. No matter what else happens, we’ll always arrive at the point we started yet so plotwise, everything is at a standstill. I mean, in this case, the whole episode was just to establish that Harley knows Joker is alive and “normalized,” which could have been established in a single sentence, or a short scene, like the one right at the beginning…

Okay, I think through the course of that last paragraph I went from enjoying the episode to realizing how pointless it was, I’m glad at least didn’t shoe-horn in Harvey Dent, who’s in the episode trying to run for mayor, turning into Two-Face. Though Two-Face does show up at the end of the episode somewhat randomly…

SCORING:

+5.5: I still enjoy the episode more than I don’t, but it’s in a “I know it’s pointless, but…” kind of way.

-1: There aren’t even a lot of funny moments

+1.5: I like seeing sane Harley talking to Joker for the first time, I feel like this could be a movie in itself, maybe even with Joaquin Phoenix’s Joker?

Daredevil s1e6: Condemned

Air Date: April 10, 2015

Rating: 10/10

After saving the surviving Russian brother from the corrupt police department, Daredevil has to save his life in order to get the information he needs to get closer to Fisk. However, Fisk has more power with the police than Daredevil could possibly imagine.

This is a very intense episode, one that feels almost like a horror movie with how you don’t know what’s going to happen next or what might be lurking around any corner. It only takes place in one location, an abandoned warehouse, which only adds to the feel of it being like a haunted house movie. Maybe with a dash of Die Hard as it does feel like the “one-man-against-many” action film like you would see with John McClane, but without Daredevil beating everyone back one at a time as he’s really only trying to get away with his life.

Stolen directly from Die Hard, the main villain, Fisk, talks to our hero, Daredevil, over a walkie-talkie. He also begins a “we’re not so different” speech, and all of it reeked of cliche but, after this initial dislike of it, it quickly became my favorite part of the episode. It shows that good actors can do great things with mediocre parts, and Die Hard was a pretty cool movie.

SCORING:

+10: Perhaps not entirely faultless but so intense and enjoyable it more than makes up for it

Daredevil s1e5: World on Fire

Air Date: April 10, 2015

Rating: 7.5/10

While Matt Murdock takes on a case to help an old woman being evicted by a Fisk’s company, Daredevil does his best to discover who Fisk really is while being set up as the man who killed the Russian brother. Meanwhile, Foggy and Karen go on a date.

This episode was good but not nearly as mind-blowingly amazing as the one previous. In fact, it was such a step back that I feel I might end up being a bit too harsh on this one. The last episode felt like a short movie, it had a full story arch for every character, and though it ended on a cliffhanger it still was as if we had a complete picture of the whole thing. It was like a chapter in a book, setting up what comes in the next chapter while telling us the full spectrum of just one part of the story.

Then this comes out and it’s just another episode of a TV show. It’s fine, overall. I mean, I think the beginning of this episode is very slow, and even with both Fisk and Wesley being around to be threatening the meeting with all the current bad guys is just boring and too long. The action is great but too few or far between to be enough to make up for the mostly unnecessary scenes like these that permeate this episode.

Also, this episode ends on a cliffhanger which just bugs me because there were many scenes that feel they could at least be cut down to make room for what was probably the rest of a pretty good episode. Again, this is probably just by comparison to the last episode as if this was just another episode of Arrow, I don’t think I would mind so much some of these creative decisions for this episode, but I also feel you can’t start feeding me the world’s best chicken soup and then expect me to be satisfied with store-bought Ramen after that.

There are two sections I feel work in this show, and this is probably a bit strange coming from me since my heart is a black as night, but I really liked the dates with both Foggy and Karen and with Fisk and Vanessa, less so the small part with Claire and Matt (there was a lot of “romance” in this one, now that I’m thinking about it…) but these were good, character-building, and different from other scenes like it. I suppose the originality I expect from this show comes out in these moments but not really anywhere else in this episode.

SCORING:

+6.5: Pretty good, just not as good as it could have been

+1: Some great date scenes

Spider-Man s1e4: Curiosity Killed the Spider-Man

Air Date: October 3, 1981

Rating: 10/10

After foiling a cat burglary, Spider-Man may have met his match as the Black Cat challenges him to stop her from stealing the Maltese Mouse! Meanwhile, can Peter Parker take a long enough break from being Spider-Man to go on a date with Betty Brant?

I don’t know much about the Black Cat to really comment on how accurate she is to the comic books, but she feels like the Marvel version of Adam West’s Catwoman. She even has cat-based puns in practically every line she says! This is one of those things that if she were a bigger villain with actual superpowers I’d probably be a bit more annoyed than I am amused by it. But as it stands, it fits “purr-fectly” with her zero powers (except maybe being able to control cats later? hard to tell, she could just train them?) and over-the-top performance. I also like seeing her reverse spider-man’s plans with every step with considerable ease. She has enough of a character and some good nemesis-style chemistry with ol’ Webhead himself that I wouldn’t mind seeing her again, even if she is an obvious ripoff of Catwoman, but DC and Marvel used to “steal” from each other all the time.

I thought this one was pretty funny as well. The comedy in previous episodes has been a little lacking, probably okay for kids but a little childish for me. Here, the comedy fits a lot more with the show and almost becomes the driving force of the whole thing. Truthfully, if they wanted to shift from superhero stuff and made it more of a comedy show, that might just work…

SCORING:

+10: A very entertaining half-hour

Spider-Man s1e3: Lizards, Lizards, Everywhere

Air Date: September 26, 1981

Rating: 6/10

The Lizard Attacks the New York Zoo releasing all the reptiles, but when Spider-Man stops him, he creates a train wreck to raise an army of lizards underground. Spider-Man is trying to get to the bottom of this, but he also seems to have a nasty cold.

This was a decent episode with good action sequences, though some of it is a bit silly with the Lizard using other reptiles in the same way most villains would use goons. Though things like crocodiles can be pretty frightening, a few snakes coming at you are just alarming at best and you can get rid of them easily. Speaking of which, they decided the Lizard also needed to have one of his super-powers be that he can psychically communicate with lizards along with mentally control them. In other words, they made him the Aquaman of reptiles…

Okay, well, I’m going to consider the “just make stuff up” mentality of adaptation in the 80s as a form of Deus Ex Machina. You see, if you’re choosing to have a series that takes place in a world with clear-cut rules, then start giving people new powers or having them use their already established powers in a way that they can’t in any other media, then you’re breaking said rules because you think your plotline is more important than the pre-established confines from which you’re adapting. In other words, the characters should use the powers they already have to solve their problems, not have to Deus Ex Machina up some new powers….for no reason at all, actually.

SCORING:

+8: Pretty good, especially compared to the last one

-2: Deus Ex Machinas