Arrow Review – “Draw Back Your Bow” S3E7

Last week’s episode of Arrow, Draw “Back Your Bow”, may not have looked too appealing, but was actually way more delightful than I expected. It had its faults, but overall it was a pretty fun watch. This week, Oliver finds himself up against yet another person in Starling City who uses a bow and arrow to kill people, but this time it’s a crazy lady who’s in love with him. Can I just say really quick, if every foe you face uses a bow and arrow, isn’t that kind of lame? It doesn’t really set him apart from anything if apparently Starling City is the capital of archery. Anyhow, while Oliver deals with his secret admirer, Felicity gets closer to Ray Palmer and a love triangle is born. Well actually it’s a love parallelogram if you count Barry Allen who is also pretty into Felicity. But then again, who isn’t?

“Draw Back Your Bow” begins in a flashback to six months ago on the night Starling City fell. The Arrow jumps out of his van to save a struggling adorable red head from one of the juiced up masked men. Her attacker falls, the Arrow takes off and the damsel in distress swoons while cuddling the arrow that saved her. Low and behold, in a very short six months time she transforms herself from a victim to a full-fledged martial artist, bomb expert and archer all to get attention and affection from the Arrow.

Arrow - Draw Back Your Bow
Carrie Cutter is crazy Cupid. Alliteration much?

 

Carrie Cutter is kind of a random villain to bring in from the comics, and a very new one but I personally thought she was a lot of fun. I also thoroughly enjoyed that during all of her scenes there was basically slow circus music playing in the background just to emphasize that this bitch is crazy. I will not waste time trying to figure out how she gained the knowledge she seems to have now, because if she was a martial artist or any kind of the badass she is as Cupid then she probably wouldn’t have been so easily bested by her in the streets the night Arrow saved her.

I appreciate that the show at least addressed that she used to be a police officer, which explains some of the knowledge she has of weapons and fighting techniques, but the pieces still don’t quite fit if you want to spend time thinking about it.

Oliver Queen defends his city against... a lot of other archers.
Oliver Queen defends his city against… a lot of other archers.

While Oliver grapples with crazy Cupid he also has to deal with the heartbreak of watching the girl he loves but refuses to be with move on with her life. With the man who now owns his family’s company no less. Burn. I’m not crazy about the Oliver-Felicity will they/won’t they love story in the first place, but I guess Oliver has to have a love interest and why not the only redeeming female character on the show? While it hurts him to do it, Oliver stays committed to not being able to be with anyone as long as he is the Arrow and he gives a moving little speech to Cupid that is really meant for Felicity about the pain of not being able to be with someone you love. It was sweet, but frustrating.

When Oliver returns to the Arrow cave after his battle with Cupid, Diggle, who has been playing the unlikely role of matchmaker for whatever reason, gives him yet another push to just throw caution to the wind and go be with Felicity. Ollie decides to take that chance and sadly witnesses the MOST AWKWARD KISS EVER between Felicity and Ray. Sad face, he walks away and the love triangle continues.

Cue awkward kiss in 3...2...1... disaster!
Cue awkward kiss in 3…2…1… disaster!

Honestly, that’s really about all that happened in last night’s episode. We got to see more of Oliver in Hong Kong, attempting to bond with the space alien that is Yamashiro’s wife. Obviously something is going to happen there, not romantically of course, but still the flashbacks this time around were less than compelling. Ray Palmer continued to be alluded to as up to no good as he looked over plans of the ATOM exo-suit, but he’s still pretty darn likable. Overall, “Draw Back Your Bow” may not have really pushed the overarching storyline forward, but it was a really good filler episode in the lead up to the Arrow/Flash crossover. So far I think this season has been off to a little bit of a slow start, but episode 7 was fun and enjoyable enough to help solidify Arrow as still one of the best shows out there.

Finally, here are some points I may have missed from the characters in episode 7 that contributed nothing:

  • Hi, my name is Roy and I’m sad all the time now.
  • Hi, my name is Thea and I just let random guys walk all over me and then kiss me because I’m worthless.
  • Hi, my name is Laurel and thank god I wasn’t in this episode.

Hush Comics gives “Draw Back Your Bow” an A- for making something really enjoyable out of a filler episode.

All images belong to the CW and DC Entertainment. They are credited to Cate Cameron and Diyah Pera.

Horns Movie Review

Genre – Horror/Fantasy, Drama, Book to movie adaptation

Director – Alexandre Aja (The Hills Have Eyes)

Cast – Daniel Radcliffe, Juno Temple, Max Minghella, Joe Anderson, Kelli Garner, Michael Adamthwaite

Alluring element – Daniel Radcliffe officially shaking off the remains of Harry Potter and turning into a devil, both literally and figuratively to avenge the murder of his girlfriend. I’m so in.

 

Scorecard:
Plot – 8
Acting – 10
Representation of Genre – 6
Cinematography – 9
Effects/Environment – 8
Captivity – 7
Logical consistency – 7
Originality/Creativity – 9
Soundtrack/Music – 8
Overall awesomeness – 8
 
 

I think the only fair way to start my review of Horns is with a disclaimer. Well, two disclaimers really. First, I read the book Horns and thoroughly enjoyed it, but because of that I spent a lot of time watching the movie waiting for elements of the book to appear, and then trying to figure out if I liked the book or the movie. Or both. Second, I love Daniel Radcliffe. LOVE HIM. To me, he can do no wrong. However, I worked really hard to separate myself from that so I can give Horns a fair review. So, with that being said, I’ll get to it.

_DSC6508.NEF

Horns is the story of Iggy Perish (Daniel Radcliffe) and his journey to find the person who killed the girl he loves. All the while he is the number one suspect and, for whatever reason, he woke up one morning with horns growing out of his head a la Satan. Of course the horns are not merely cosmetic, they cause the people Iggy comes in contact with to reveal their most horrible truths to him, as well as their darkest secrets and desires and then ask his permission to act on them. And naturally they give Ig the inclination to give in to his more evil urges as well which enables him to find his beloved’s killer all the more easily.

Horns 3

Joe Hill’s Horns is honestly my type of love story, and I’m really not a fan of love stories. It’s dark, the love is overpowering and insecure, and the happy ending is definitely one side of a double edged sword. The story takes place in our universe, but with a fantastical twist. Granted, there is a strong basis of Christianity in the story, but as opposed to taking a side on religion, it merely uses its elements for fantasy’s sake. A cross necklace does play an important role, but so does the devil and frankly he’s portrayed in a pretty favorable light.

Horns 6

The movie really tells a great story, but unfortunately it stutters in its flow and spends too much time on some less crucial elements which causes important plot points to suffer. A lot of energy was spent flashing back to the love story between Iggy and his dearly departed Merrin (Juno Temple), and while those scenes are beautifully shot and full of heart they may have sucked up too much time. Iggy is the only character in the movie who is really fully developed, everyone else has very little screen time and their introductions and explanations are rushed. This might not be a problem in a full on romance about the gooey love between just two people, but it does cause Horns to suffer a little because it’s a murder mystery. By the time the reveal of the real killer came around, it felt a little weak because as little as each of the side characters were shown it basically could have been anyone, as there was no motive or background given for anyone.

Horns 4

At times, the dialogue feels unnatural and the actors have to say things it seems no person would ever say in real life, but other than those moments the movie is extremely well acted. I assure you it is not my bias talking when I say that Daniel Radcliffe was captivating. I love Harry Potter more than the next guy, but so far this is the best performance I’ve seen from Radcliffe. He’s vulnerable, angry, scared and downright wicked. Anything that the movie Horns itself may have lacked, he single-handedly made up for.

Horns 1

Overall, Horns is absolutely worth seeing. It’s really beautifully shot and the scenery is just gorgeous. The love story is sweet and cruel, the fantasy and comedy elements hit hard and leave a lasting impression. I left the theater unsure about what to think about it but the movie stuck with me, which I think is a mark of what makes it good. I wasn’t sure at certain points while I was watching it, but I kept thinking about it and picturing it after it was over and it left me with one of those beautiful melancholy feelings. The more I relive it, the more I want to go and see it again.

The 25 Horror Movies You Have To Watch THIS Weekend

It’s that time of year: Halloween weekend is upon us! Everything is at the peak of awesome-ness. I know most people love their Jingle Bells and wrapping paper, but I’ll take haunted houses and skulls over that merry crap any day.

All year round I seek out the best of the best (and the worst of the worst) in horror movies and what better time for me to make some recommendations to all you lovely dears out there than Halloween? Now, you must bear in mind that choosing a horror movie is no easy task.

One does not simply choose a horror movie, there are so many different options out there for a person in need of a good scare. Are you looking for blood and guts?

Do you want something psychologically scary? Are you looking for ghosts? Monsters? Zombies? People? Cats? Laugh if you want but at least three movies starring evil cats come to mind (Sleepwalkers, Cat People, Pet Sematary).

Lucky for you, I’ve composed a relatively short list of the best options in five easy categories just in time for our most sacred of holidays. Behold! My top 25 picks for the best of the best movies to watch this Halloween weekend..

First, let’s start with movies that have come out in the last 20 years that are classics in the making AND, in my humble super hard to scare opinion, were either genuinely creepy or downright scary.

Insidious (2010)

James Wan and Leigh Whannell are horror geniuses. Insidious is subtle at the right times and is basically the Poltergiest for our modern generation. This movie stuck with me, when I hear sounds in the night I think of Insidious and go check my son’s room to make sure no red faced demons have come to take him. Also, Tiny Tim’s Tiptoe Through The Tulips is now the creepiest song ever.

FilmDistrict
FilmDistrict

The Conjuring (2013)

Based on the true stories of one of demonologist and one my most favorite interesting people ever, Lorraine Warren, The Conjuring is downright chilling. It will make you jump and probably want to sleep with the lights on, as if that would help.

Warner Brothers Entertainment Inc.
Warner Brothers Entertainment Inc.

Paranormal Activity 1 and 2 (2007 and 2010)

I know I’m cheating by doing a two for one, but in my opinion Paranormal Activity 2 is far better than the first, but you have to have the first to get to the second I suppose.

Solana Films
Solana Films

The Blair Witch Project (1999)

If this movie doesn’t scare you you may not have a soul. No offense. This movie changed people and it changed horror movies as we know them. It may be overdone as hell now, but The Blair Witch Project is found footage at its origin and at its best. No lie, after I saw this movie when I was 13 I absolutely stole a butcher knife from our kitchen and slept with it in my room. For a week. And then I started making the creepy little stick people from the movie and leaving them in my sister’s rooms.

Artisan Entertainment
Artisan Entertainment

28 Days Later (2002)

Modern day social commentary by way of a zombie movie. It’s gruesome, it’s dark, and it’s got rage zombies that come at you at full speed.

Fox Searchlight
Fox Searchlight

Second, for you younglings out there, the CLASSICS. I’m not going OLD old school classics here, Frankenstein and Nosferatu are amazing movies but I understand that in this day and age that shit isn’t scary. I still highly recommend you all check out the real classics though, especially if you find yourself with a strange affection for all things horror, like myself.

A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984)

Yes it came out in 1984 but believe me, this movie is timeless. Freddy Krueger IS the boogie man. Note: Do NOT watch the remake. JUST DON’T DO IT. It tried it’s best to ruin one of the best horror movies of all time and frankly it should burn for it. (Ha! You see what I did there)

New Line Cinema Entertainment Inc.
New Line Cinema Entertainment Inc.

Poltergeist (1982)

This movie redefined haunted houses for a whole new generation and there still haven’t been many movies that compare to it. Also, clown toys will come to life and they will come for you in the night.

Warner Brothers Entertainment Inc.
Warner Brothers Entertainment Inc.

The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974)

Southern hospitality at its worst, horror and gore at its best.

Vortex
Vortex

Hellraiser (1987)

Horrifying. One of the bloodiest and most evil movies to come out of the 80’s. If you like this one you should absolutely check out the sequel, it might be even better. But do yourself a favor and stop there.

Cinemarque Entertainment
Cinemarque Entertainment

Night of the Living Dead (1968)

If you don’t know why this is on the list, I don’t want to know you. Again, no offense.

Market Square Productions
Market Square Productions

Third, here are your underrated movies. You’ve probably never heard of them, and maybe they get a bad rap, but just because they weren’t box office hits doesn’t mean they’re bad.

Dead Silence (2007)

No, this movie is not the greatest, but it isn’t the worst. The acting isn’t great, but it has Ryan Kwanten from True Blood in possibly the only other place we’ll ever see him. It’s got ventriloquist dummies that kill people and honestly tell me someone who isn’t freaked out by those little bastards.

Universal Pictures
Universal Pictures

Altered (2006)

I’d never heard of this movie, my husband and I saw it on Netflix and I said let’s give it a go. It’s well acted, gory, and pretty scary. Granted I have an unhealthy fear of aliens, like seriously unhealthy, like I need therapy, but my husband who is a normal person thought it was creepy too so I say it’s worth a watch.

Rogue Pictures
Rogue Pictures

Carriers (2009)

More suspenseful than it is scary, but it’s absolutely one of the best apocalyptic movies that’s come out that focuses on the people. It may not have the blood and guts, but it’s scary on the psychological level of what the hell happens to people and your family when the world gets wiped out.

Paramount Vantage
Paramount Vantage

Silent Hill (2006)

This movie got horrible reviews but I don’t understand why. You don’t even have to be a fan of the games to like it, it’s just terrifying. Anytime I hear that siren sound my blood runs cold and I wait for pyramid head to come and tear my skin off. Too much?

Davis-Films
Davis-Films

Splinter (2008)

All I can say is cutting off an arm with a box cutter then using a cinderblock to break the bone and sever the limb. Saw, eat your heart out.

ContentFilm International
ContentFilm International

Fourth, for those of you that love a good laugh with your carnage I give you the awesomely bad category. Most of these are from the 70’s and 80’s and they are so bad they’re AMAZING. These are ideal picks to watch with a group or to have on in the background at a party.

Friday the 13th (so many years…)

Any of them really, but specifically part 2 and part 9. That’s right, PART 9, and that wasn’t even the last one. But I think more people get killed in this one than all the others combined.

Georgetown Productions Inc.
Georgetown Productions Inc.

Pumpkinhead II: Blood Wings (1993)

Quite possibly the worst acting I’ve ever seen, but the monster is pretty creepy.

Motion Picture Corporation of America
Motion Picture Corporation of America

976-EVIL (1988)

What happens when a nerd in the 80’s wants to be cool so he calls a random hotline to learn how to be? He becomes a murderous demon, naturally.

Cinetel Films
Cinetel Films

The Howling (1981)

Okay I love this movie so I feel bad putting it in this category, but I know it’s bad. There are so few good werewolf movies…

AVCO Embassy Pictures
AVCO Embassy Pictures

They Live (1988)

Keith David and Rowdy Roddy Piper get in a 30 minute fist fight that starts in an alley and travels from there. It just never stops. I think it’s a good 1/3 of the movie.

Alive Films
Alive Films

And finally, I present to you the wild card, WTF group. These are not what you would expect, but worth the watch. However, enter at your own risk:

The Island of Doctor Moreau (1996 remake)

Seriously so fucking weird it just gives me a gross feeling in my stomach but I love it so much. It’s so freaking weird. And gross.

New Line Cinema
New Line Cinema

Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer (1986)

Really, this one is an enter at your own risk kind of thing. This movie is DARK, and sickening to most. It’s on par with A Clockwork Orange, as in its scary because people are far more terrifying than any monster under your bed.

Maijack Productions
Maijack Productions

Bug (2006)

People pulling out their own teeth with pliers to make sure the government can’t spy on them. ‘Nuff said.

Lions Gate Films
Lions Gate Films

The Fly (1986 Remake)

Jeff Goldblum at his finest. The original The Fly is a classic, this one is too in that really gross stomach churning kind of way. Remember hearing as a kid that when flies land on you they throw up acid and then eat the mess? Well picture Jeff Goldblum as a fly monster doing that to a dude. Or don’t. /shudder.

SLM Production Group
SLM Production Group

House of 1000 Corpses (2003)

I LOVE this movie, for me it could fit in more than one category. Rob Zombie is a master of the fucked up, and Dr. Satan is freaking horrifying, even if his existence raises A LOT of questions. Besides, Chris Hardwick with his head cut open getting his brain poked at while he’s still alive, you can’t miss!

Spectacle Entertainment Group
Spectacle Entertainment Group

There you are my lovelies, I do hope you’ve enjoyed my list. Now go forth and watch, love the gore, love the horror, and always check under your bed before going to sleep.

 

 

 

Conquering Cosplay: Tips and Tricks for Daryl Dixon and Sally

Conquering Cosplay is a monthly article written by Cosplay enthusiast Keriann McNamara-McCauliffe.  She shares her tips and tricks for Cosplay of various characters in the land of the nerd.

Halloween is here! It’s the best time of year for any Cosplayer, new or novice to try your hand at Cosplay. It’s also the best time to stock up on supplies you might need throughout the year. Halloween is a great opportunity to try new tricks with makeup and fabrication because luckily if you get it wrong most people won’t notice and you’re all the richer for the experience

Follow along with me here to learn some tips and tricks from someone who’s been in your shoes. I’ve been making my own costumes since I was a kid, and I’ve screwed them up pretty royally at times, but I’ve also learned and created great tips and tricks to look awesome last minute while saving money.

If you are anything like me you probably realized that Halloween is on tomorrow and, holy crap, you don’t have a costume. Maybe you got caught up in work, school, or the return of The Walking Dead. Never fear!

First things first, and in my opinion this is the hardest part, you need to select a character. It can be ANYBODY. If you’re a last minute person this year, don’t select anything too ambitious. There simply isn’t time to buy and mold craft foam or anything involving airbrushing. Think simple but still great. For this article’s sake let’s pretend for the ladies you’re creating a do it yourself Sally from The Nightmare Before Christmas. For all you guys out there, let’s pretend you’re going to be The Walking Dead’s Daryl Dixon (swoon).

Sally:

Sally has a lot of little details. Her skin is very white with stitches in it, she wears orange socks, black shoes, and her hair is very red.

For Sally’s skin, don’t use the grease make-up sold at Halloween stores. 1. It will not stay in place and will rub off on you and everyone you hold dear, 2. It’s a pore clogging disaster that is really no fun to get off. Most of them require full on makeup removers which are just more oil. In the past when I’ve needed to change my skin color to look dead or something like that I’ve just gone to my local drug store and bought a cheap foundation and mixed it with color myself. Just look for a shade that will correspond with what you are trying to achieve, typically a lightest ivory white works best. Then, I know this sounds crazy, but look for an eye shadow or blush in the color you’re going for. For Sally, you’ll want a very light purple, white, and maybe some very light greens for accent.

When you’re ready to apply to your skin, or to do a test run, pour some of the foundation on a plastic tray or in a bowl and grind up the eye shadow or blush and start adding it to the foundation. Mix it until you get your desired color and apply to your skin with a makeup sponge or your fingers. This way your skin color will not run when you sweat, it won’t rub off if you touch it, and just regular soap and water will get it off in a jiff. Plus, if you choose a slightly metallic shade it adds a great opaqueness for zombie or dead skin. For the finishing touch of stitches you’ll just need a black eyeliner pencil. You can just draw them on top of your base face color.

For her hair, you have two options: a wig, or hair dye. Many times though, a wig is expensive. One tip I’ve learned in my travels is that food coloring makes a good temporary dye. The application can be very tricky, so I don’t recommend it for all over color, especially with long hair, but if you’re looking for washout streaks food coloring works really well. The easiest way to apply it is with q-tips for very small streaks or a sponge brush for larger pieces or all over color. Food coloring does stain, so take precautions and be careful.

Going to your local costume shop, you can look at the costume that is pre-made for her, and then don’t do that costume… Sally costumes for whatever reason are a solid piece with a print on the front of what looks like sewn together patches, but the back is a solid piece of fabric in bright yellow. For the manufacturer that is cheap and lazy, for someone wanting to do the character just that is a big no-no.

For the Sally costume you can either buy a few garments on the cheap in the right color or pull stuff from your own supply of things you no longer wear. Cut the clothes into large pieces that you will then sew back together. If hand sewing isn’t something you’re totally comfortable with I’d recommend picking up a dress that fits you and then just sewing your costume pieces to it so you don’t have to worry about making something from scratch. As a Cosplayer, you will ALWAYS want to have a hot glue gun and an abundance of glue sticks on hand. If you don’t want to sew anything you can piece what you want together and use glue. For the stitched together look of Sally’s dress you can just glue black yarn in place to give the appearance that your dress was stitched together. Luckily, your stitch job can be as sloppy and lazy as you want and you will only make your outfit look better.

You should look exactly like her now... except don't actually stitch your skin up.
You should look exactly like her now… except don’t actually stitch your skin up.

Daryl Dixon:

Daryl’s details include his bow and arrows, his angel winged vest and his zombie ear necklace. You can also add some wounds to make yourself look beat up.

For a Daryl costume, you could look for a crossbow and arrows that you can paint. You can also find bags of small body parts that people use for decoration at parties. If you can find a bag of ears you can pick them up to make Daryl’s zombie kill ear necklace.

Also, Halloween stores are a great place for FX makeup essentials like silicone and latex, and the do it yourself wound kits they sell are pretty good. I’d recommend stocking up on liquid latex for the year ahead, and if you see any wound kits that interest you go ahead and pick them up because you’ll never know when you need them or just want to test them out for fun. For the Daryl costume you can just pick up general latex wound kit to give your face a little wear and tear. Red food coloring always makes a great blood substitute, especially when paired with liquid latex. The zombie apocalypse is a scary place, after all.

Your final stop will be to a thrift store or your own closet. Look for various items that you can cut up or piece together to get what you need. Daryl is an easy one in this case, a pair of your own jeans and a black shirt will work. You’ll just want to pick up a leather jacket (because a leather vest is probably a lot harder to find) at a thrift store and cut the sleeves off to make it a vest. For his trademark angel wings on the back you can use a variety of things, you can buy patches from a craft store, paint them on yourself if you like, or fashion some from extra fabric and glue them on.

Your costume is together, but it's hard to be as badass as this guy.
Your costume is together, but it’s hard to be as badass as this guy.

When you put all these things together, ta-da! You’ll have a pretty spot on version of your favorite character and you will have done it yourself. Don’t fret if it’s not perfect, at least now you’ve gotten your feet wet, and your next attempt you’ll do even better!

The picture of Norman Reedus as Daryl Dixon belongs to AMC.  The picture of Sally from Nightmare Before Christmas belongs to Touchstone Pictures and Skellington Productions Inc.

Arrow Review – “The Magician” S3E4

After a relatively slow start, Arrow has decided to pick up some momentum. Finally. Don’t get me wrong, the season three premiere was action-y and great, but episodes two and three in all honesty had me struggling to pay attention at times. Alas, episode four, “The Magician” (also Arrow’s 50th episode) really picked up with an interesting, action-packed story.

Sara’s death in episode 1 was sad, I’ll give you that. But since it happened, it has been weighing on the show in a melodramatic way I’ve been having trouble getting behind. I get enough of that on weekly basis from Oliver’s turmoil over the fact that he used to kill people, but now he’s reformed. Did you know that, by the way? He doesn’t kill people anymore. I think they may have mentioned it once or twice… But I digress.

By this point I suppose the Arrow team has spent enough time moping over Sara’s death and they decide maybe it’s time for revenge. Although that decision is single handedly forged by the reappearance of a super pissed off Nyssa al-Ghul. She shows up demanding to know where Sara is and deduces that she has been killed through a series of questions that no one actually answers. After a visit to Sara’s grave and a butting of heads with Laurel, Nyssa decides she’s off to confirm her suspicions of who killed Sara. That’s right, Malcolm Merlyn (aka, The Magician). Oliver follows her, learns what she’s up to and after dealing with the brief shock that a man he killed is still alive, they decide to seek him out and exact revenge. Without killing though. Ollie doesn’t kill anymore, remember?

Who wouldn't fall in love with a chick like Nyssa?
Who wouldn’t fall in love with a chick like Nyssa?

Naturally they find Malcolm, and after tagging him with an arrow that was laced with nanotechnology to track that didn’t actually work, there is a meeting in the middle of a crowded street where Mr. Merlyn begins to convince the dear Arrow that he did not kill Sara. Not that he wouldn’t have because he kills lots of people. But this one time he didn’t kill somebody because it wouldn’t make sense. The hundreds of people he killed before though, those made sense. The League of Assassins is displeased with Malcolm (codename The Magician) so there is no way he would have killed Sara so that he could be even more on their bad side. While this is a pivotal and interesting scene, that is really well shot, its whole point is to build up Ra’s al-Ghul as this season’s new bad guy. We’ve heard of him before and we’ve all known to expect his appearance this season. I get what they’re going for here, but it kind of raises more bad questions than good for me. As in how does an assassin get on The League of Assassins bad side for killing people? Did he kill too many people? Was an earthquake not stylish enough? Or, more likely than not, will we be finding out more about how Merlyn wronged his group of killers? And in all honesty, does it even matter or will things just become unnecessarily convoluted?

My name is Malcolm Merlyn.  I'm conniving and I scream a lot.
My name is Malcolm Merlyn. I’m conniving and I scream a lot.

Ollie begins to believe Malcolm and more action takes off from there. Mostly because Laurel and Nyssa don’t buy it, and Nyssa has had it with this nonsense and takes matters into her own hands. Thea is involved, against her will of course, a smoke signal is sent up and an awesome battle of the three archers ensues. Oliver decides that Malcolm did not kill Sara, The Magician escapes and the Arrow made a powerful enemy in Nyssa al-Ghul. It was a predictable battle, albeit a fun one. But seriously, Oliver just decides he believes Malcolm Merlyn? Of all he knows about him and the fact the he knows he’s already killed a crap ton of people he’s just going to take him at his word this time? I know Malcolm didn’t kill Sara, but the characters don’t, so this seems kind of unbelievable. Either Malcolm is most convincing guy ever or Oliver is getting soft in the face of having to kill someone, even if they have it coming.

Overall, nothing in the episode was shocking, there were no plot points that made me gasp but I really enjoyed it. Merlyn implies that Ra’s al-Ghul might be Sara’s actual murderer, which I suspected from day one but at least now it’s established. The action in this episode was balanced well with some background business noise with Thea attempting to reopen her club and there was added intrigue to the relationship between her and Malcolm but it didn’t steal the show as was the case in episode three. No offense to Thea, but she’s just too weak and uninteresting to carry much of the show on her own, I was relieved to see her back in her place this week. It does seem strange, though, that she was so strong last week, and this week is easily kidnapped. I get that she is being built up to become something bigger and honestly I’m excited to see what that is, but again, it was nice to have more of the story action focused on Oliver and his upcoming struggles with The League of Assassins.

Laurel was the female anchor of the group this week in Felicity's absence.  And that sucked.
Laurel was the female anchor of the group this week in Felicity’s absence. And that sucked.

We got to see more of Laurel whining, which I’m sorry, I’m so over. For whatever reason it seems the writers have been trying harder and harder each episode to make her unlikeable and it’s working. I feel bad for her, in the last few years she’s gained back so much and lost possibly even more but for some reason I just don’t want to hear her talk about or act out because of it. And her poor dad is just the saddest guy ever. If these two are supposed to be enriching the story with family drama it must be lost on me because it feels more like they’re just draining.

Obviously, the biggest plot point to touch on from last night was the introduction of Ra’s al-Ghul in the final moments of the episode. Maybe it’s because I knew it was coming, maybe it’s because so far I’m not thrilled with the casting, but my response to the reveal was “Meh”. I really hope as the season continues that Ra’s grows on me. I think the battle with The League could easily shape up to be the most exciting season yet.

Hush Comics gives “The Magician” a B, for the much welcome return of action and revisiting of what I hope will be a great overarching plot for the season. It was a good episode and it gave me hope, but it wasn’t necessarily a return to the Arrow greatness that got me so hooked in the first place. However, there is still one glaring question: WHY did Nyssa wait until they had gotten all the way back to the Arrowcave to punch Oliver in the face for letting Merlyn go? Wouldn’t she have done that like directly after it happened? That one should have been thought through.

All pictures belong to The CW and DC Entertainment.  They are credited to Cate Cameron

Easter Egg Hunt:

Ferris Air…again: The Flash and Arrow have certainly made plenty of references to Ferris Air this season.  This time, it was the flight that Amanda Waller tried to blow up.  This could still be a hint that the Green Lantern is coming soon to the small screen.

China WhiteThe flight Amanda Waller tried to blow up was an attempt to kill China White aka Chien Na Wei.  Chien is a major player in the drug cartel in SouthEast Asia, and a major adversary to the Green Arrow.

Jansen:   The notes that Sara was taking before her death included a note about “Jansen.”  Master Jansen was Oliver’s son’s martial arts teacher.  If Jansen is a code name for Merlyn, will he wind up teaching Ollie’s son years from now?

Lazarus Pit: Mentioned in episode two, we now get to see the Lazarus Pits.  Ra’s emerged out of the healing water before finally revealing his face at the end of the episode.  It will be interesting to see if the Lazarus Pits become a bigger plot point as Ra’s becomes the main bad guy of the season.

 

 

The Walking Dead Review – “Strangers” S5E2

I should have known when last week’s episode of The Walking Dead concluded that the happiness I felt would be short lived. In all honesty, I knew the peace and serenity would be short lived for the characters I love so much, maybe I just didn’t want to admit it. At least last night’s episode, “Strangers”, was able to snap me out of my delusions.
First of all, let’s talk about Father Gabriel. Is he good? Is he evil? Like basically every single other person they’ve come across? I’m no fool, I know how this works, and clearly that man has some darkness in his past that he is trying to hide. Something is up with him and it’s very obvious, from the knife carvings on the outside of his oddly intact forest church to how clean his clothes are. I don’t trust him, but I feel bad for him. The man is terrified, regardless of what he was up to before he met our group. Yet, it was still sad to watch him panic.
Am I good? Am I bad?  Does it matter since I was on The Wire?
Am I good? Am I bad? Does it matter since I was on The Wire?
For fans of the comics, the small screen adaptation of the Priest is spot on.  I was impressed with his skiddish-ness, his deer-in-the-headlghts looks, and fear of being “found out.”  So what did Father Gabriel do?  Well technically, he didn’t lie to Rick, answering the three interrogation questions as honestly as he could, but leaving out one major detail.  No, he hasn’t killed anyone; instead SPOILER, he just refused to let anyone in the congregation into the church because he wanted to save himself and all the food.  Is this just as bad as killing them himself?  It could be, but for a man of God, I think he really doesn’t care what others think, because only God can judge him, despite the ominous etching on the church that reads “You will burn for this.”
It is clear, though, that Father Gabriel judges himself.  He is very guilty about his actions, and this comes across flawlessly in this episode.  As fleeting as his character may seem right now, he is still around in the comics series.  He may be a character the audience will have to learn to love.  As a side note, Seth Gilliam, who plays Father Gabriel and is another alum of The Wire (Ellis Carver) is a fantastic actor.  This role is a total 180 from what I was used to from him.
“Strangers” was the good old The Walking Dead we all know and love, it was intense, gut-wrenching, and when it ended, all I could think about is how the hell am I going to make it to next week?! Not only that, but it was very aptly titled. The group doesn’t just meet a new stranger, who doesn’t repent to strangers, but in many ways they realize how they are strangers to themselves and each other at this point.
Do we really know any of these people?
Do we really know any of these people?
The beginning of the episode spent a lot of time on Carol and her “strangerness.”  There are things she has done that parts of the group don’t know she did: David, Karen and Lizzie.  Carol is a stranger to the group, and frankly to herself.  If this was the Carol who was around when her husband was beating her up or when Sophia ran off, she may have been never gotten beat and never lost Sophia.  But it was all that, and her acts of murder, that changed Carol from abused housewife to full-on Linda Hamilton.  Unrecognizable.
Even Carl is a stranger.  He is not the kid who runs out of the house foolishly, but he still has a glimmer of humanity left in him.  He innately wants to help people.  He always is the one to run towards screams in the woods.  Carl is the man Rick was before the apocalypse.  He doesn’t torment walkers anymore, now he investigates.  Carl will continue to change drastically, at least I would guess so.  He is a teenage boy growing up in a very dangerous landscape.  The things that happen to him now will shape what kind of man he will become, and that could go one way, or the other, if he survives.  With that being said, in the comic series, at this exact point Carl is a murderer.  He killed a kid his age.  I doubt they will show this in the series, but it is the definitive moment of the books for Carl, in my opinion.
And then there is Rick.  Between his wife being a whore (yeah, I said it), having to kill his best friend, battling The Governor, losing people he loves, and losing not-his-baby, Rick is the best stranger; he has nearly lost all of his old humanity.  But we still trust his judgement.  And by we, I mean the audience (I assume) and his group.  They even say so by agreeing to go into the church in the first place.  Let’s face it: Rick is a murderer.  But he is loyal to people who don’t screw him over, and for the most part, he keeps them alive.
And now, for some rapid fire thoughts:
  • From an outsider’s prospective, who doesn’t have to eat cesspool beanie weenies, it seems obvious that Eugene is a fraud. But I suppose that in a moment of “We almost got slaughtered” that he seems like their only hope, but he is no Obi-Wan for sure.
  • Would you get in a cesspool of zombies and water leakage that have been cooking together for about two years?
  • Would you eat the food that has been sitting in that cesspool whether it was canned or not?
  • Michonne doesn’t miss her sword? Well I do.  She does explain that she found it in the first place, just like she did in the comics.
  • Beth! Beth!  Carol and Daryl go after her!  Will they be in the next ep?  And so much for that whole, “we are sticking with Rick from now on” theory.
  • The amount of religious symbolism was beautiful.  Father Gabriel has been copying the Bible word for word.  The carvings and quotes around the church are particularly poignant.  Especially “He who eats my flesh and drinks my blood has Eternal Life” from John 6:54, in reference to Jesus’ promise of heaven on the last day.
  • Episodes written by The Walking Dead daddy are always great.  Thank you, Robert Kirkman for being so deliberate with your attention to detail.
At the end of last week’s episode we were shown how the “Termites” were once people, too, if you will, and that at one point all the survivors had their humanity intact, begging the question how much could a person take before they break? When Gareth comforted his poor mother in the train car I thought, “Okay, I might feel some sympathy for this guy. Maybe he’ll grow on me!” But after seeing what institutionalized evil becomes when it’s in the wild, I know that Gareth will only make the Governor look like the fat kid from Stand By Me.
Hey Beth.  I'm bringing my last girlfriend with me to come rescue you.  Hope that's ok.
Hey Beth. I’m bringing my last girlfriend with me to come rescue you. Hope that’s ok.
But what about Bob? (Yeah that was an intentional reference to the Bill Murray movie) Ever since Bob was introduced, I have been watching week after week, biting (ha!) my nails, waiting for the terrible inevitable death that awaits him. He’s a moral compass for the group, but more than that, he is their ray of sunshine. Yes, baby Judith gives us all hope simply by surviving, but Bob tries every day to find the beauty in the life he has, which was clear in the game he and Sasha play. When Bob got pulled down by the sewer walker, my heart stopped, but then he rose up and seemingly triumphed. But that doesn’t mean I wasn’t sitting there for the rest of the episode waiting for the reveal that he had in fact been bitten.
It is clear that Bob is the new Dale.  Not only for the show but a stand in for the comic book version.  The moral compass never stays around too long. And even though we have no official confirmation he was bitten down in the flood water, if he is in fact replacing the Dale of the comics, he was.  Will we get the famed line, “Tainted Meat!”?  I certainly hope so; it is one of the hallmarks of the entire comics series.
Will our group meet Gareth’s group again? Will there be a battle a la the comics?  Will Gareth’s group die because they are eating someone who is about to turn?  And what the hell happened to Beth?  There are so many questions still looming! How exciting!  Hush Comics gives “Strangers” an A- because it gave viewers exactly what we look for; a major cliffhanger, intense moments of stress, and reminders of why we love these characters so much and we tune in to root for them week after week.
All pictures belong to AMC.  They are credited to Gene Page.