Been awhile since I wrote one of these.
And yes, there will be a post-season review of Supergirl, The Flash, and Legends of Tomorrow, to fill in the gaps in episodes I have not reviewed yet.
Because, boy, is there a lot of disappointment to go around.
“The Boy Born with Everything.” My Hero Academia Episode 19
Trigger warnings: There will be discussion of representations of domestic violence and rape.
Spoiler warnings: This review will cover content up to Episode 21 of the anime. Spoilers are not marked.
Is my title too mean? I don’t intend to beat up on the narrative structure, as I see where the story is going, and given the result I know as occurs in the manga, all of this makes sense. I’m just gobsmacked at how so many characters, all at once, can act so foolishly.
- Why do the girls listen to Mineta, a known pervert, to put on the obviously fetishistic cheerleader uniforms?
- Why did Izuku and Todoroki reveal so much about themselves and risk giving their opponent ammunition to use against them in their inevitable face-off?
- Why did Shinso press his luck by trying to hypnotize Izuku earlier than necessary?
- Why did Izuku talk when Ojiro told him not to?
- Why did Ojiro decide honor was more important than accepting his advancement?
- And why is Endeavor making it obvious he is a wife-beater–and why hasn’t anyone thrown his ass in prison?!
Let’s break down each problem separately before acknowledging what the episode does very well. And I think it will help lend some clarity about the characterization of, at least, Momo, Ochaco, and Izuku.
“Cavalry Battle Finale.” My Hero Academia Episode 18
I analyze stories for a living. I like knowing the beginning, middle, and end so I can look at the story as a whole. That means I tend to jump ahead in a book or read spoilers before seeing the completed work.
I don’t like sports. Unlike literary analysis, the rules of the game are much more restrictive. This is not like Derrida, Foucault, and others talking about the game-like nature of wordplay in literature: if you break a rule in a sport, then you expect the referee will hold you accountable. There is less room for interpretation. But most of all, sports are not predictable. I’m not as big a fan of the excitement of the score changing moment by moment as I am knowing what the outcome will be. I like reaching a stable ending rather than being held in suspense.
I know how this arc to My Hero Academia ends, and this episode’s attention to the goals and methods of Izuku, Bakugo, and Todoroki–the three characters with the most change upon the completion of this arc–has me cringing knowing how this story will wrap up. That’s not to ignore how this arc also develops the other main characters, Ochaco and Iida, but when it comes to this storyline, the focus on those three characters.
My heart goes out to Izuku, as he is the one learning the most how to acclimate to a new set of abilities while holding onto his optimism and using his knowledge and intelligence to solve problems. But as Todoroki says (in the subtitled version of this episode), “Things don’t always go as you wish.” With sports, you got that right.
It kind of leaves you feeling like this.
“Strategy Strategy Strategy.” My Hero Academia Episode 17 (Season 2 Episode 4)
After the excellence set by the previous episode, what came after, by comparison, would be less interesting in My Hero Academia. This is a reality, not a flaw: you can’t have that kind of an explosive climax with Izuku’s victory in the Obstacle Course and follow it with another over-the-top moment, lest you exhaust the audience. Moving to the more stable ground of the Cavalry Competition allows “Strategy Strategy Strategy” to focus on the abilities of the other characters, while forcing the show to draw upon its other strength: comedy.
And hey, we learn Izuku had a Quirk all along: drowning his enemies with his tears!
“In Their Own Quirky Ways.” My Hero Academia Episode 16 (Season 2 Episode 3)
This is the best episode of the series so far, combining excellent animation, good use of Season 1 music, and pulling much more out of the actors, as Izuku finally gets his chance to shine this season.
“Luthors.” Supergirl, Season 2, Episode 12. Directed by Tawnia McKiernan. Written by Robert Rovner and Cindy Lichtman.
No Lucifer, no Flash, no Legends, no Gotham, no Preacher–and I don’t care about Powerless or Arrow.
So time to talk Supergirl. And the word for this episode is “Reruns.”
In Peanuts, Charles Shultz introduced a new sibling for Lucy: a younger brother who looks like a miniature version of her brother Linus. So, she called the boy Rerun.
Rerun was on my mind when comparing this episode’s ending, because we’ve been here before: having spent a season debating whether she wants a relationship with a man whom she thinks is already involved with another woman, Kara (Melissa Benoist) confesses her love to him, only to be interrupted by someone at the very end of the episode.
The difference is which man is picked. It’s repetitive–like how Lena Luthor’s (Katie McGrath) potential fall into the dark side was already done before.
Speaking of monsters: the election is next week, so there is no new Flash–and you get to be a superhero by voting Clinton so that monster Trump does not get elected. Find your voting place, and enjoy telling Trump to go away.
“Monster.” The Flash Season 3 Episode 5. Directed by C. Kim Miles. Written by Zack Stentz.
As with other episodes I’ve been watching, the trend seems to be multiple storylines that may or may not overlap or complement each other, instead being disparate. The title “Monster” can refer to both the named monster Barry (Grant Gustin) and Julian (Tom Felton) are hunting, and Julian’s realization he behaves monstrously, as well as Caitlin’s (Danielle Panabaker) fear she is becoming one with the development of these ice powers. I’m a bit surprised the latter story was not given more attention to that idea of monstrosity, and I am a bit grateful after the problems in using that word “monster” as associated with Natasha Romanoff in Age of Ultron. The title “Monster” does not quite refer to the subplot with Cisco (Carlos Valdes) seeking to uncover the truth about HR (Tom Cavanagh), the new Harrison Wells they pulled from another timeline, although Cisco wearing the Jaws shirt while hunting down the truth about HR could be a “search for the monster” plotline, I guess.
Oh, and Joe is still not dating the DA. Because that needed a few minutes of attention to give Iris (Candice Patton) and Wally (Keiynan Lonsdale) something to do in the episode as well. Because why not.
As Ellak Roach said when we watched, this episode feels like it’s “spinning its wheels.” There is setup without payoff. HR is revealed to not be a scientist, so he may have some redemption moment in which he proves himself. (What is it this season with newbie-superheroes like James in Supergirl and Nate in Legends wanting to prove themselves?) Caitlin has her first moments of wanting to kill, so she may become Killer Frost and fall into villainy. (What’re the odds she kills her mother [Susan Walters]?) And Joe is still avoiding dating the DA. (Because evidently that’s the subplot we’re getting this season for Joe.)
Overall, then, I don’t know what the individual parts of this episode contributed.
“The New Rogues.” The Flash Season 3 Episode 4. Directed by Stefan Pleszczynski. Written by Benjamin Raab and Deric A. Hughes.
I’m at a loss how to write a review of this episode, because I have not encountered a television episode this frustrating since the last time I watched Agents of SHIELD–so, about two weeks ago.
To summarize the problems, I have to look at the individual narrative threads, which are not interwoven so much as parallel to each other. Each narrative thread, if given more time in this or a later episode could be entertaining; however, each is rushed to the point that the plot occurs not because this is how the characters we have known for more than two seasons would act, but because, as someone else says, the plot says so.
With early voting started, let’s have an episode that has a political message that then goes sideways.
And let’s expand the world of Supergirl to show an extraterrestrial bar that is less bouncy and more grungy than the Star Wars cantina.
Oh, and let’s start shipping Alex with Maggie Sawyer. We just need a name for it. “MagLex”? Would that work?
“Welcome to Earth.” Supergirl Season 2 episode 3. Directed by Rachel Talalay. Written by Jessica Queller and Derek Simon.
Supergirl has not been subtle in its political allegory. Last season, a senator wanted to build a wall around the Earth to keep out extraterrestrials–and it made about as much sense as the fool running for office right now. (Vote early against Trump: vote Clinton.) “Welcome to Earth” seems to persist with that same storyline, as President Olivia Marsdin (Wonder Woman herself, Lynda Carter), is about to sign an extraterrestrial amnesty bill that leads to United States citizenship.
Ignore, for a moment, the fiction of all of this: that a President could get that done, when our real-life Congress couldn’t fund Zika treatment quickly, let alone immigration reform for humans.
And ignore, for a moment, the weirdness that it is the United States making itself an asylum for extraterrestrials: I would think the United Nations would be more involved, a la the Superhero Registration Act in Captain America: Civil War–but, then again, Agents of SHIELD had nations lining up to be asylums for Inhumans, so that detail is not that weird.
The surprise to this episode for me is how it is so obvious that Marsdin is a stand-in for Hillary Clinton–and then how this episode undermines that expectation. Or, if you think Clinton is two-faced, reaffirms your views about her.
“What have I done?”
“Weaponizer.” Lucifer Season 2 Episode 5. Directed by Karen Gaviola. Written by Jason Ning
This review contains spoilers.
“Weaponizer” eschews the typical plot structure to other episodes of Lucifer, and to many other procedural shows, and to many other DC on TV shows. The seasonal arc is the focus to the last ten minutes, in which significant action happens, leaving on a cliffhanger in multiple ways that have the audience desiring more. On the one hand, I cannot judge this episode fairly until seeing what happens next week. On the other hand, the anticipation I have indicates that this was a well-done conclusion. Given how funny this episode is, the contrast in the humor and the drama heightens both, creating one of the best episodes so far this season.