The Gifted’s first season wrapped up, so I belatedly powered my way through the last half of Inhumans. (Surely more readers are interested in how that ended now than ever before!) Now I can accurately contrast their conclusions in my follow up to the comparison of their premieres. If you don’t like reading words, you can scroll all the way down for a summary GIF. SPOILERS & legitimutantly bonkers fan theories away!
Our long Inhumans nightmare is finally over (I still haven’t mustered the willpower to view its final four episodes.) because Agents of SHIELD is back! I’ve missed these spies! Thanks to Disney for mandating ABC renew it! The two-part season five premiere was so enjoyable that it opened with a Talking Heads music video! SPOILERS IN SPAAAACE!!!
I couldn’t afford to watch Star Trek Discovery. (I’ve never seen so many people eager to catch STD!) So against my better judgment, I watched both of the new TV series about Marvel Comics’ genetic superhumans, Inhumans & The Gifted. So strap in for an extra long spoilerific double review!
The best part of discount Thor featuring lunar muties was that my cat tried to ensnuggle me for 3/4 of it. Brought to you by the man who gifted the world with lumberjack Dexter & dragon-free Iron Fist, Inhumans shows glimpses of cool stuff only to yank them away. I may have some controversial views on the state of Lucasfilm, but I think we can all agree that Marvel Studios letting Scott Buck helm two series was a mistake. Did it lose a contractual bet with Sony or Fox to make Inhumans’ cinematic demotion as underwhelming as possible? It’s a pity this is set when when the Agents of SHIELD are indisposed because it could desperately use some charismatic protagonists (not to mention their writers). None of the visuals justified IMAX cameras. ABC can’t make this miniseries look as good as even one of The CW’s four DC series. It takes itself way too seriously without the necessary prerequisite of actuality being quality.
Agents of SHIELD has been on fire this fourth season, which I shall SPOIL for you. One of its strengths has been splitting its narrative into discrete yet interlocking thirds to keep the momentum wound tight. I’ve complained that the show feels like the MCU’s redheaded stepchild, but ironically this season may be its strongest for having the least direct interconnectivity with Marvel’s movies. The series has built itself up enough that it can now stand on its own.
Remember when Captain America: The Winter Soldier excitingly set-up HYDRA as a major force of modern day villainy? Then how disappointing, albeit believable, it was that the Avengers flattened them out like tortillas under a steamroller in the prologue to Avengers: Age of Ultron? Then recall how HYDRA’s leftovers were somehow even more pathetic in the third season of Agents of SHIELD? Well the Framework’s VR simulation has HYDRA back to being a formidable foe. Not only is this a clever way to reintroduce HYDRA without rolling back the MCU’s stance that it’s been utterly destroyed for real this time, having them in charge feels eerily topical. The HYDRA propaganda posters are a nice touch. I love how the start this arc was named “What If…?” just like the comic series. This is the closest the MCU has come to doing an alternate reality since they’re not ready to dip their toes into an official multiverse like The Flash. It had plenty of callbacks to past seasons including a Bill Paxton tribute. Quit teasing us about Griffin!
Remember when I asked them not to make AIDA evil or seduce Fitz? Well the writers did both! Thankfully it’s executed much more deftly than I’d feared. Then this LMD 3-D prints herself a real human body to acquire free will & unsimulated sensations. She wisely gave herself all the inhuman powers because not only is she Madame HYDRA (unlike AIDA, it’s not actually an acronym), she’s also Super-Adaptoid! After being repressed all season, Mallory Jansen let out all the emotions like a fire hydrant! She honestly deserves an Emmy for doing the most acting!
AIDA as Ophelia as Madame Hydra may be the show’s first costumed supervillain. (That’s kind of sad, albeit less so than giving that honor to Deathlok.) Just like Dr. Strange’s training outfit, her shirt has weird elbow gaps before the cuffs. She even wears a cape in one scene like Veronica Lodge! While far superior to Polaris’s hair in the generic The Gifted, it’s too bad they didn’t dye her hair completely green like
Fire Green Fury on Powerless. (Please get Natalie Morales to reprise that role on a CW show!) Sadly the color grading makes her outfit look practically gray most of the time. Of course she’s also not really Viper as Madame Hydra, but she’s closer than The Wolverine’s version. Whatever her name is, she’s one of the most compelling foes in the MCU.
Remember when I complained about there being too much TV on Tuesdays? Now Wednesday is vying to top it with (Green) Arrow, The 100, The Magicians, The Expanse, & Legion. Why is it always feast or famine with quality genre shows? And why can’t they spread themselves out on different days better? I haven’t even gotten around to binging Luke Cage, Stranger Things, The OA (strangely not about the Green Lantern Corps homeworld), or A Series of Unfortunate Events yet! Have an early blog this week so I can focus on watching more TV instead of writing my next novel!
Gotham’s second winter finale of the season, “The Gentle Art of Making Enemies,” was so awesome it literally punched a dude’s face off! (Jerome should get the Dollmaker to fix that afore he gets kicked into a vat of chemicals.) Why was the carnival the only place with electricity during the blackout? I don’t care because I finally saw someone be devoured by piranhas in a dunk tank! Bruce goading Jerome to shoot staples into his arm to use as (highly improbable) lock-picks then pretending to be pained so he wouldn’t catch on was the most Batman thing he’s done since he tricked Silver St. Cloud into confessing. (He loses points for neither hiding the Court of Owls’ statue in the
BatCave two episodes ago nor splurging for decent security despite stately Wayne Manor being attacked like six times already.)
Edward “I don’t believe in no ghosts!”Nygma’s getting a legitimutant Riddler costume! Will Query & Echo debut? Might as well have master Bruce suit up as Batboy too. How many episodes until Hugo Strange un-kills Oswald? If only the Court of Owls could replace Gordon with a clone that’s not an insufferable prat…
Last week I reviewed the entire
four-part three-part “Invasion!” crossover on the CW. You should go check that out since I went to the trouble of making five non-memetic pictures for it. Its sneakiest Easter Egg is the Hall of Justice hangar existing to construct the Justice League’s Watchtower satellite headquarters! Stagg Industries is a partner on the project, but nobody wants to avenge its CEO’s timeline-corrupting murder.
This week, I start talking about the genre shows going into hibernation. Didn’t the fall season just start two months ago? It doesn’t feel like any have aired a half season’s worth of episodes to warrant going on mid-season hiatuses yet. One-third season finales sounds more accurate. That means I’ll have to start blogging about books again soon.
So The Flash‘s
Bayformers Megatron Savitar is the first metahuman with a grudge against Barry for trapping him into the Speed Force in the future (distinct from Barry throwing the Philosopher’s Stone into the Speed Force in the present)? Or he may be a resurrected Zoom since he’s familiar with the STAR Labs gang. Maybe they’ll tack Max Mercury’s name onto Savitar’s true identity to double down on divinity? It still doesn’t explain where he got all those human cultists from or how they enhance the narrative. I don’t buy that Savitar the stabby speedster is going to kill Iris, especially after all the heat (Green) Arrow took for killing both its Black Canaries.
Everybody was on the money predicting Dr. Julian Albert, who apparently got the same mail order archaeology degree as Dr. June Moon, was Dr. Alchemy before the season even began. Never trust anyone with two first names! Julian made some salient points about how Barry Allen sucks, so I’m glad they didn’t undercut them by making Julian intentionally evil. He’s more like Savitar’s ventriloquist dummy, which makes all those times Dr. Alchemy talked about how awesome Savitar is narcissistic. I dig Dr. Alchemy’s steampunk plague doctor mask. Unlike his comic book counterpart, Dr. Alchemy hasn’t actually done any alchemy unless you consider giving away metahuman powers an update on alchemy as a metaphor for self-actualization. I now ship Caitlin (who really needs psychiatric help for that dissociative Killer Frost identity she’s been manifesting) with Julian so she can get the hat trick for doomed boyfriends.
Guess what I made this year for pumpkin carving?
It’s a jackal lantern! (Curse your spoiler, you dumb headline!) Get it? Sometimes puns are sight gags too! I was considering giving it a Wedjat Eye to decrease the resemblance to an aardvark until I noticed Anubis isn’t usually depicted with one. Learning that real jackals don’t look as classy as ancient Egyptians led me to believe may be the biggest disappointment of my life since I discovered pumpkin pie doesn’t taste anywhere near as good as I imagined pumpkins ought to taste. (Reality never meets my great expectations!) My cat is too scaredy to eat in the same room as the Jack-o-lantern. She was fine with my Ewok-o-lantern, but she draws a line in the litter at canines.