So a lot of television happened. Here’s some assorted season two SPOILERS for Cloak & Dagger, DuckTales, & Happy! (I had to shuffle the order around to ensure the punctuated title is last.) Those are all things you should watch. Then I talk more about Return of the King of the Monsters because SKREE-ONK!!!!
Cloak & Dagger took all the great stuff about season one & made it better! (I could really say the same about all these programs.) The titular characters are more active & use their powers more impressively to vanquish a supervillain.
Emma Lahana gets a chance to shine via Brigid O’Reily’s violent tendencies being split off into Mayhem, who sadly lacks green hair. Instead of becoming an even better person, getting her personality halved makes Brigid less successful. The series raises good ethical quandaries by showing murderous Mayhem is more effective at stopping sex traffickers than the eponymous duo & the NOPD. Unlike the Punisher or Ronin, she remains sympathetic because her rage stems from real compassion for the victims. Brigid & Mayhem appear to integrate by the finale.
Being trapped for months in Loa-World via Cloak has made crooked cop Connors remorseful over his crimes against the Johnsons. He volunteers to exonerate Tyrone, but his tip doesn’t pan out. Mrs. Johnson decides that his value to Tyrone doesn’t outweigh his killing Billy & murders him. Gloria Reuben & JD Evermore nail their scenes.
I predicted the trauma counselors would be the baddies, but I’m not sure if I like being vindicated about this. Nefarious therapists are such a prevalent trope, I appreciated the series seemingly having compassionate & competent one at the outset. While it’s an effective (if foreseeable) twist, I’m worried this further scares off people genuinely in need of counseling. The series is handles forced prostitution respectfully, however, even as it depressingly shows its victims being penalized by police. Tyrone & Tandy did wreck that sex slavery motel though! (I’m happy this trend carried over from Black Lightning.)
Rather than being a primordial fear demon, D’Spayre is a former jazz trumpeter turned trauma counselor named Andre using the parasitic powers he acquired from the Roxxon meltdown to ascend to a Loa. (The supernatural logistics are vague.) His tragic backstory is that he’s had debilitating migraines since prematurely trying to play a “blue note.” His bandmates are so intimidated by the fabled “blue note” that the flashback could be parody of the ambition-shaming Icarus myth. (Air gets colder & thinner as you rise so flying closer to the sun has a greater risk of asphyxiation than wax wing melting.) How is Tandy’s ability to steal hope distinct from Andre’s to instill despair?
The Loa-World mall, especially the record store, is a great psychopomp. (I also like the neon gator sign, which is not in an alternate spirit realm.) I’m glad the video game included radioactive heroin. We never find out whether the key to getting Tyrone back is to finish the sidescroller or just leave because Evita intervenes. Why can’t Evita be a doctor if she marries Baron Samedi? This whole situation is under-explained & is just a plot contrivance to break her & Tyrone up. She sacrifices her future to save him & then is sidelined. Evita deserves better.
This series manages to reference both the MCU films & TV shows. Unfortunately Avengers: Endgame retroactively makes it appear that it’s out of continuity with the movies. (Agents of SHIELD’s sixth season is also a prime example of this.) C & D has a personalized equivalent of The Snappening where D’Spayre levels up to absorb people into his pocket dimension. I particularly liked how it ruined a robbery for both sides of the law while a cover of “Take On Me” plays in the finale’s intro.
It’s going to be a slow boil on costumes. Hopefully that doesn’t mean by the time they get them it’ll be the series finale. They did get costumes in Loa-World for “Level Up,” but they were not breathtaking.
Luckily it had all the cool action! They made a map of Ty’s & Tandy’s despair! Tandy Bowen & Jeremiah Valeska are both Zorro fans! Tandy teleported out of Tyrone’s cloak to impale D’Spayre with a light sword! Then they inception him to give him a taste of his own medicine. The end montage shows he died, but his victims get released from Loa-World.
Tyrone gets exonerated. He also convinces the local gangs not to sell drugs to anyone who’ll use them to enslave others as opposed to personal recreational use. That’s probably hard to verify, but it’s a reasonable compromise compared to Mayhem’s plan of just murdering everyone tangentially related to sex trafficking.
I’m pleased Tandy & Tyrone are an item now. They respect each other so much! Tyrandy is either the best argument for or against couples names. Olivia Holt & Aubrey Joseph play such a perfect duo.
Did the finale also foreshadow a Runaways crossover? (I don’t have Hulu, so I’m genuinely asking.) Now that we’ve got Mayhem & D’Spayre, when do we officially meet Mr. Jip in all his grody albino hunchback glory?
After two months of nothing, Disney decided to drop eight new DuckTales episodes over ten days! Then they say new episodes won’t be back until September? Maybe spacing these out over eight weeks would’ve been more ideal in that case. Cartoon scheduling never makes sense.
DELLA DUCK IS THE BEST PERSON ALIVE! She’s is an excellent self-rescuing princess. She made her own prosthetic leg whilst being forced to live off Oxy-Chew gum! She befriends an alien culture. (I kind of wish Penumbra becomes more villainous, but it looks more likely she’ll be redeemed.) Upon returning from the moon, her new struggle is how she fits into her sons’ lives again. She ironically just misses her brother, but we did get Donald Duck as Ash.
Scrooge instantly knows eighty-seven cents is missing from his Money Bin because he’s the best capitalist! Him offering an exorbitant ransom for them was fantastic. Punking Scrooge with a time machine is Glomgold’s greatest evil scheme.
I was expecting Boarway to be filled with pigs like Thembria. Will they ever visit there? Ludwig Von Drake mentioned werewolves are colorblind. Does that mean its humanoid dogs are colorblind too? Can you be a dog & a werewolf simultaneously?
Lena being suspicious of Webby new pal & being rescued from the shadow realm was satisfying. Launchpad infects Mrs. Beakley with his adoration of Darkwing Duck.
As a fan of Darkwing Duck but not Nolan’s Batman, I feel like “The Duck Knight Returns!” by Frank Angones was made just for me! Tad Stones, DW’s creator, voiced the gate guard. I loved Launchpad instantly blinding himself with the disc-launching hat. This episode took the “Beware the Gray Ghost” route with a twist. While Alaistair Boorswan (voiced by real director Edgar Wright) is the wrong choice for directing the Darkwing Duck movie (Scrooge should’ve hired Tuskernini), it doesn’t depict reboots as innately awful either. Without a daughter or sidekick to keep him humble, has-been actor Jim Starling epitomizes classic Darkwing at his most narcissistic. By absorbing the moral of the original show, his replacement is proves himself worthier & decides to become a real vigilante after the film is axed. After Starling is driven mad & becomes Negaduck, we learn the new actor’s name is Drake Mallard! Will fanboy Drake fight crime in his movie suit or switch to the classic? Has he already adopted Gosalyn yet, & when does she meet Webby? I would watch the Hell out of a full Darkwing Duck spinoff series!
I feared Happy! had no where to go after its inaugural season appeared to wrap nearly everything up in a bow. I was pleased to be proven wrong. It manages to become even zanier! Its guest stars (Ann Margaret, Curtis Armstrong, Paul Wight, Daniel Sunjata, Weird Al Yankovic, Amanda Palmer, & Jeff Goldblum) are an embarrassment of riches. Whereas season one was Christmas themed, this one is about Easter. (It actually kicks off with Passover.) Smoothie returns from his presumed death with a red glass eye so he can become the Easter Bunny, the latest corrupted mascot.
Chris Meloni gets to do all the violent Bruce Campbell-style physical comedy like battling a gelatinous pink blob in the loo. There’s a taser-dance sequence. A random video diagrams him being shot in the bum. He also dresses as the Mock Turtle at an orgy. GIVE HAPPY! ALL THE AWARDS FOR THE GERIATRIC NAZI MASSACRE!
Amanda Hansen has the most fascinating arc. She struggles a variety of addictions as she copes with PTSD from last season. Medina Senghore gets to be both poignant & guano mad. Upon unwillingly birthing a slew of Wishie eggs, she slays them all with an improvised flamethrower! “C U Next Tuesday!” She beats a crimester to death with an exit sign! She prevents her daughter from killing Sonny Shine by whacking the bastard herself. (Hailey inadvertently kills her dad instead, which seems like it’d be much more traumatic for her.) Amanda spent most of last season a passive victim of his machinations, so it’s only fitting she’s the parent to get revenge. How’s Hailey gonna spring her from the slammer?
Although Hailey didn’t kill him during his six hour Easter Eggstavaganza, Orcus’s plan to assassinate Sonny on live television succeeds. Millions of traumatized kids’ imaginary friends are extinguished as a result. Happy, on the other hand, becomes even more tangible even though he’s lost his connection to the two people who believed in him. (Orcus implied he’s really a love deity countering his death power. Merry gets conscripted into a coven that appears Happy adjacent. Meanwhile existentialist God is everyone’s imaginary friend.) Nick Sax makes a bum deal to work for Orcus & his delightfully waxed moustache as a zombified hitman so he can kill Smootie for good. The coda shows he’s thematically on point for Halloween unlike the prior seasonal avatars he battled.
These Pyrrhic victories are are an intriguing set up for a third season. Naturally Syfy didn’t renew it, so I have become the opposite of its title. (It is kind of a miracle that it aired the series at all.) Maybe something else can resurrect it ala The Expanse?
I’m baffled by the amount of reviews panning the excellent Godzilla: King of the Monsters for having underwritten humans. People are never the stars of Godzilla movies! Dr. Serizawa is the franchise’s only memorable human protagonist! It’d be great if the people were equally compelling, but I don’t care since they got the monsters right! Whereas the Toho films had a revolving door for interchangeable stock characters, most of MONARCH will carry over into the sequels. So this will have a greater likelihood of the humans getting developed than the originals. Regardless, quit being so anthropocentric & enjoy the monster mash!
For Kyle Chandler, the day Godzilla graced San Francisco with his presence was the most important day of his life. But for Godzilla, it was Tuesday.
MONARCH’s website is helpful for tracking titans like they’re Pokemon. My hunch that classic kaiju had to be additionally licensed was accurate. The identity of the tusked titan has been revealed: BIGGLES, the HEFFALUMP-DUMPALOON. (Gail Simone sure tweets a lot about Godzilla for someone who claimed to lack deep emotional feelings about his taint. She previously held The Twitter at nunchuck-point & made it tweet about Black Canary.)
Michael Dougherty is right that any movie can be improved by adding Godzilla. (Fixer was doing this when Baron Zemo recruited him for Thunderbolts.) His film proves this even applies to Godzilla (2014) & Godzilla (1998).
Do I hate myself enough to see Dark Phoenix in theaters?