Season Premiere Review Round-Up – Numero Dos: 10/3 -10/16

Okay, so, this is kind of late because I was busy last week. Also, I only just managed to watch the season premiere of The Walking Dead last Saturday, so, whatever. I’m sorry, okay? I have failed this blog, and this city.

Unfortunately, my failure means that some of my comments (like on Arrow) have already been proven wrong. I said to hell with it and posted them anyway. Please keep in mind the usual warning for SPOILERS.

iZombie

izombie

All in all, this was a pretty solid premiere. I can’t pretend I’m terribly interested in Liv’s family storyline, like, at all, but everything else was great. Blaine as a funeral director, I mean, oh my GOD. He’s so good. Everything about Blaine is awesome. And Liv as a super cranky and racist old man was surprisingly hilarious. I thought that gag would give out early, but Rose McIver just nails it. I’m really glad they managed to get a lead actress with such strong comedic range for this show.

Major’s story, meanwhile, is interesting. I never quite know where they’re going with Major, which is exciting in and of itself. I don’t know if I want this Blackmail Zombie Hunting to be an all-season thing, but I’m curious enough for now. Also, I was happy to see that my immediate suspicions about the supposedly boring IRS roommate were correct, as well as the fact that talking zombie shop on a cell phone might be a bad idea.

I’m curious to see where Peyton has run off to — surely, she’s coming back at some point? — and I really want Ravi to have a little more to do this season because I just love that man, but overall, iZombie looks pretty good so far. (Although, seriously. Would it kill Liv to just tell Clive that she’s always acting so weird as a side effect of her psychic visions? It’s not actually that big of a stretch and might cut down a bit on all the understandable side-eye.)

FAVORITE PART:

Hard to say. Everything about Blaine is pretty awesome. Maybe just that whole scene. Especially Liv’s line: “Are you eating that or impregnating it?”

TENTATIVE GRADE:

B+

The Walking Dead

w dead

This is the thing: my interest in The Walking Dead has dropped considerably lately. And it’s not because the show’s gotten worse; actually, I generally enjoyed the last season overall. But there’s a limit to how long I can watch a show like this, I think, without everything just feeling a little repetitive. We’re going into our sixth season now, and if things went my way, we’d be ending the show this year.

Unfortunately, someone recently pointed me in the direction of this entirely depressing article where the creators talked about how they had plans for the series going up to twelve seasons, and once I read that, my excitement for the season premiere fell flat. But I made myself watch it anyway, and to be fair, “First Time Again” is a pretty decent episode. The ending was a great “Oh shit” moment and also a great setup for the season. I can’t help but wonder if the writers came up with this whole plot after hearing criticism about how Alexandria and its total noob residents hadn’t all been overrun and killed before Rick’s people showed up.

The thing about The Walking Dead is that so much of it’s about Rick’s questionable morality, and my interest in that is pretty minimal. Right now, I’m okay with it, mostly because I’m assuming he’s going to turn Chief Antagonist by the end of the season, or at least should. But I’m not really excited about the idea of Rick returning to Idealistic Rick again. Ideally, I think we should have a big civil war in Alexandria at some point, preferably this year . . . and then maybe we could finally kill off Rick. (I swear, I don’t hate the guy, but I’m just kind of over his moral dilemmas at this point. I could probably go at least eight seasons of The Walking Dead if we focused primarily on Daryl, Carol, and Glenn instead.)

A few last minute random things:

A. I might feel like Rick is going the route of Evil, but the moment he killed Ethan Embry? Yeah, that didn’t seem particularly disturbing to me, like, I didn’t quite take it as the sign of Dark Rick that Morgan and Michonne apparently thought it was. I mean, you can’t really amputate a cheek. (Also, Ethan Embry didn’t last very long, did he? Poor man.)

B. Morgan totally sees through Carol’s happy homemaker act. Heh.

C. I didn’t much care for Jessie last season, but I really liked the moment here where she tells Rick that he can’t put his hands on her son or expect him to listen to the dude who killed his dad. You know, stuff that really shouldn’t need to be said? Good on you, Jessie, for having a brain and possible character development.

D. The black-and-white flashbacks didn’t do much for me. I mean, the shots themselves looked great, but . . . we’re sixth season here? At this point, a sudden switch to black-and-white just feels a completely unnecessary gimmick. (Although, with all those bandages on Rick’s face, I couldn’t help wonder if we were doing a Sin City homage.)

E. I’m interested in Heath for purely superficial reasons. I’m not ashamed of this at all.

FAVORITE MOMENT:

Hm. The mystery of Morgan’s disappearing peanut butter protein bar, perhaps?

TENTATIVE GRADE:

B+

Arrow

arrow

Last season of Arrow was . . . challenging. Very challenging, and not the good kind of challenging, either, but the kind that turned your favorite character into the absolute worst character and made you want to tear your hair out in frustration. But “Green Arrow” was a pretty solid start to Season Four.

I really enjoy Oliver and Felicity being a happy couple and would like them to remain that way for sometime. Preferably, they won’t have any actual fights until Season 5, but they’re absolutely not allowed to have any (or, obviously, break up) before 2016. This isn’t even coming from an Oliver/Felicity shipping standpoint, either — it’s about keeping the show moving in interesting ways. Oliver/Felicity angst has been done to death, not to mention turned Felicity just awful last season. I don’t want another storyline about how Oliver can’t be with a woman if he’s still a vigilante. This episode looks like we’re moving on from that, and I would very much like that to be the case.

Diggle’s still whining and he’s got a stupid helmet, but I didn’t think it looked as terrible in motion as it did in the promo shots, at least. Thea suffering side effects from the Lazarus Pit could be awesome, as long as she sticks to super violent and cheerful instead of occasionally violent and petulant. (Also, I think she needs a voice changer too. Her voice at the train station sounded . . . I don’t know, weird.) Lance’s possible turn to the Dark Side is kind of interesting, depending on how they play it. (I’m really hoping this is how Sara gets brought back to life and that it has nothing to do with protecting Laurel or some bullshit.)

Also — and this isn’t really related to much — but when are people going to realize that putting engagement rings inside food is a terrible idea? You know Felicity would just accidentally swallow it. I certainly would. Probably for the best, she didn’t get to eat that soufflé.

Finally, the big question: whose name is on the tombstone? I was pretty excited about this — I just assumed the camera would spin to reveal Felicity’s name, and the whole season would be about how she supposedly died before coming back. (I did automatically assume it was a fake-out, which apparently it’s not . . . but I’ve heard that before.) Anyway, making “Who Died?” the big mystery of the season is a really fun way to start the TV year, but my enthusiasm just decreased by, like, a thousand because apparently the producers don’t necessarily know who’s going to die.

And that? That is a terrible way to begin a season, or a mystery. That does not give me a lot of confidence about how this is all going to shake out.

FAVORITE PART:

Probably when Felicity admitted how bored she was in their giant house in the suburbs and how much she missed crime fighting. It’s good to have you back, Felicity! (Oliver’s reaction to the friendly neighbors bringing up kids was pretty great too. I really enjoyed both of them in this episode.)

Oh, also, that no one wants to be the mayor. Good call, Walter Steele. I miss you and your amazing voice, but I don’t want you to come back just to die, either.

TENTATIVE GRADE:

B+

The Flash

flash

So, this was okay, though nothing particularly exciting. Barry’s decision to Go It Alone happens a lot, a lot, in superhero shows — which doesn’t mean you can’t do your own version, of course, but this was a pretty generic way to go about it, and with not very much heart, either. It doesn’t help that I don’t believe Ronnie’s really dead, either, like, not for a second, mostly because it’s such an amazingly lame character exit. Usually when you kill off a semi-important character, you know, you devote more than four seconds to the scene. Although that would hardly be the most questionable character exit in this episode, but we’ll get back to that in a second.

The best part about Barry’s totally by-the-numbers crisis is how Iris is like, “Dude, we care about you, but we also care about protecting the city and you don’t get to keep shutting us out.” That was pretty awesome. Let’s keep this upward trend for Iris West, please. (I also liked the flashback with Joe and Barry, less because it was truly necessary and more because Jesse L. Martin is awesome and his reaction face when Little Barry suddenly hugs him is fantastic.)

I was also pleased with Cisco’s brief vision of an alternate timeline. There wasn’t much to it, but I’m really into this storyline and can’t wait to watch as it unfolds.

But guys. GUYS. That bullshit with Henry Allen at the end — I mean what the shit was that? Hands down, I think that was one of the most unrealistic things I’ve seen on television ever, and yeah, I know I’m talking about a show where a guy traveled back in time AND stopped a singularity by running super fast. Sure, I get the supposed concept behind it — you can’t be the hero you need to be if I stick around, blah blah — but even if I completely bought that (which I don’t), no one, I mean, NO ONE makes that decision ONE DAY after a 15-year stint in prison. That is just not a decision a person makes. That is only a decision a character makes, and it drives me absolutely bonkers. Did John Wesley Shipp really hate working on the show or something? Could they not have found any less ludicrous reason to get rid of him?

Honestly, I would’ve taken, “You know, son, I’ve been stuck in a tiny gray cell for half of my adult life, and there are things I need to do now. Like Vegas. I definitely need to go to Vegas” over this. I still don’t know if I would have quite bought it, but I’d sure take “Central City Claustrophobia/Want to See The World” over “I’m Going to Leave You, My Only Son, Because You Can’t Be A Hero Without Me, Even Though We Haven’t Even Taken, Like, a WEEK To Test That Asinine Theory, And May I Just Remind Everyone I’ve Been in Jail And Have Barely Been Allowed to Hug You For the Past 15 YEARS.”

I know this is a small scene to get hung up on, but I almost knocked The Flash down a whole letter grade for it. Because it shouldn’t have been a small scene — Henry Allen getting out of prison and leaving Central City is HUGE — and it’s been a while since I so completely didn’t buy a character’s gigantic life choice. I mean, what is this, Arrow?

FAVORITE MOMENT:

Cisco’s quick flash to the other timeline. Seriously, I’m all about this storyline.

TENTATIVE GRADE:

B-

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5 Responses to Season Premiere Review Round-Up – Numero Dos: 10/3 -10/16

  1. Teacups says:

    The Flash: My thoughts thus far have been mixed.

    I get that for Caitlin, it’s been six months since Ronnie died, which is after she already spent over a year grieving and then waiting for him. So I’m not judging her, but as a viewer, it’s sort of tonally jarring to see her go from marrying the dude to mourning his lame four-second death to having a lighthearted romance plot with AltFlash in the space of three episodes, you know? Couldn’t they at least have had them bonding as friends before they start having the more love interest-y scenes? Or are this rushing this shit because Ronnie’s coming back quite soon, and they need to set up a love triangle? I think that’s where this is headed, which is super annoying. Would it kill the writers to give Caitlin an arc that isn’t about a love interest?

    Patty felt kind of forced in her first episode, but more natural in her second, so that’s okay. I’m worried we’re going to get more love triangle bullshit between her, Barry, and Iris though.

    I didn’t really buy Barry’s emotional arc in either of the first two episodes. The Working Alone thing was pretty generic, as you said, and then I just felt he was going way too far with Jay. Like, not trusting him doesn’t mean you have to actually lock him up – and if you *don’t* trust him, you shouldn’t completely change your mind and let him onto Team Flash just because he helps you out one time. That’s like, the first move in the Mole Handbook.

    I’m hoping AltWells is a red herring for Zoom, who already seems like a retread of the Reverse Flash. I’d find it more interesting if AltWells wasn’t a villain – whether a good guy, or morally grey.

    I’m also seriously hoping that not all of Zoom’s minions are going to follow his orders to kill Barry. Zoom’s not looking over their shoulders (as far as they know, anyway) and it stands to reason that some of them would object, whether for ethical reasons, self-preservation, or if they just didn’t like their life on Earth 2 that much. I’d love to see some of the would-be minions trying to find a way home on their own, or contacting The Flash for help, or trying to build a new life on Earth 1. Or even giving up during the middle of a fight because Barry tells them he can help them get home – and I’m going to be annoyed if he doesn’t do that, by the way.

    Er, most of this has been complaining – and I could go on with that – but I am mostly enjoying it, regardless. Also, can I just say how glad I am that Iris is now in on the secret and a member of Team Flash. God damn. (Although seriously – if you’re chasing a dangerous lead and might need Barry to provide backup, you should tell him BEFORE you go in, yeah?)

  2. Teacups says:

    Arrow: So far I’m finding this to be a big improvement over Season 3. And Felicity has largely gotten back on track – I was especially a big fan of her in the Tattooed Papa Argent episode. Taking down TPA (I liked that she just sprayed-and-prayed without worrying about keeping TPA alive, given she didn’t have the skills or equipment to survive with Team Arrow’s usual handicap), making sure to protect Curtis, and chewing out Oliver and Diggle. That was a nice reversal from similar scenes in Season 3, since now they were the ones whose judgement was being clouded by their feelings, and she was the one being pragmatic and doing what’s necessary to keep everyone alive.

    I would like to see more of her interacting with the rest of Team Arrow instead of just Ollie – especially Laurel and Thea.

    I think Damien Darhk is a more promising villain than Ra’s Al Ghul. I’m liking Thea’s storyline and her new role as Speedy, Laurel’s continued to be tolerable, and while I don’t think there’s been any really stand-out episodes, I’ve largely found them enjoyable. All the same, something feels kind of off to me sometimes? I don’t know whether I’m just imagining it though.

    I haven’t always found Digg’s writing on point this season – most especially in the last episode? I get that they didn’t want to rehash Laurel’s storyline with Sara, but I thought they took it too far in the other direction. Having Diggle see Darhk’s file and continuously argue that Andy was a monster who deserved to die rang very false for me, especially given he doesn’t have context for the file’s contents, AND he knows there’s some kind of compliance drug in play.

    I’m really curious about the new lack of a mayor, though, because I think they’d still regularly be fielding calls from people volunteering for the job. Not suitable candidates – I mean the ones who are too crazy, stupid, or blinded by the position’s power to acknowledge that it’s a death sentence. Like some dudebro who wants to use the position to make beer free, and then gives up when he realises he can’t. I wish I could see some of those people, although admittedly such scenes would be more suited to Parks and Recreation than Arrow.

    • I really enjoy all of Felicity’s interactions with Oliver–they’re kind of adorable–but yeah, it’d be cool to see her and one of the girls have some kind of relationship. I DEFINITELY think Darhk is a more promising villain than Ra’s, although that’s not unbiased at all, considering how much I love the actor. Diggle (stop autocorrecting to Wiggle, damn it!) is probably my least favorite part of this season so far, for the exact reasons you said–his interactions with Andy have made zero sense to me. Also, Oliver’s Secret Baby Drama, which I was trying so hard to give the benefit of the doubt to, and then Oliver decided to keep it a secret from Felicity because his ex GF made him swear to, which I didn’t buy for a godamn minute. It’s SUCH a plot device for unnecessary drama and annoys the shit out of me.

      Other than that, though, I’ve definitely liked this season better. I’m trying to decide who I want to be dead. I don’t think it’s Felicity. Of course, I could be wrong, but if she was dead, I think we’d have found out definitively last night, like, we’d have seen her name on the tombstone. Honestly, and I never thought I’d say this, but I think I kind of want it to be Diggle. I’d be pretty surprised if it was Laurel. Lance feels too easy. Thea is unlikely, considering we still haven’t gotten into her thing with Darhk. But not only is Diggle annoying me this season, I feel like they haven’t quite known what to do with him for a while now. I did think it could be the ex-GF or the kid, and I guess I would surprisingly be okay with them killing off the kid. The ex-GF would just annoy me, though. That seems too cheap, like, who would even care?

      If Roy comes back into the show just to get killed off for realsies, I will be forced to hurt somebody. That would annoy me almost as much as killing off the ex-GF.

      • Teacups says:

        Yeah, I actually really like them as a couple, stupid-ass unnecessary baby drama aside. Domestic Oliver is pretty adorable.

        I was kind of glad when Felicity got shot, because I too figured it meant that she WASN’T going to be the mystery corpse, much as the show and the promos tried to convince us otherwise. What do you think of the wheelchair storyline? The whole hallucinating-Goth-Felicity plot device annoyed the hell out of me, especially since in the previous flashbacks, Goth Felicity didn’t actually seem that different personality-wise to S1 Felicity. Not enough that she would feel tormented over it, anyway. And uh, I didn’t really buy the pain meds as an explanation. Or that Felicity wouldn’t immediately stop taking them and call a goddamn doctor.

        Otherwise, I can see where Felicity’s disability would limit story options for the character in certain ways – like, Felicity won’t be able to do that much in the way of field work anymore. So I’m pretty sure they’re going to come up with some sort of quick-fix sci-fi cure at some point, which is annoying. (Although I’m glad Oliver lampshaded such a possibility, at least.) Couldn’t they just have made her condition less permanent to begin with – like, where she’d be able to get a lot of her mobility back with time and rehab?

        I’m not sure who’s going to be in the grave, although at the moment, my money is on Oliver’s kid, his baby mama, or Roy. I’d think it was Lance, except if Barry’s showing up in Starling, he’s probably met the dead person – or, the funeral was in Central City anyway. It could well be Diggle, but I don’t know, I feel like Oliver and Felicity would be more upset if it was.

        And yes, the secrecy around Oliver’s kid is ridiculous and super contrived. Gah.

        • I ADORE Domestic Oliver. Oliver the Cook is quite possibly my favorite flavor of Oliver to-date. It amuses me to no end, and I think there needs to be more scenes of him forcing the team into superhero brunches.

          I am (stupidly, optimistically) still hoping that they don’t fix Felicity’s disability. Although they probably will cause, yeah, lampshade. Plus, just TV in general. Still, I like that a character suffered a permanent injury. I think characters should do that more often. Interestingly, I don’t think her paralysis needs to limit her story lines at all; for one, her role in the field was always kind of minor, anyway, but also, I’d kind of like to see them show her adapting to circumstance if she does need to be in the field. I don’t think I’d want the show to have made it a less permanent condition, though, mostly because for TV “hard rehab” is walking on crutches for two episodes, maybe. I think there’s a lot of potential here. I am . . . uncertain . . . to how they will handle it.

          Though hopefully better than they handled the Goth Felicity Hallucinations because I HATED THOSE SO MUCH. For basically the same reasons you said, too. Like, one, if my meds make me hallucinate, I stop taking them immediately and get my doctor to find me new meds. But especially because yeah, Past Goth Felicity wasn’t this angry, hateful person that they suddenly made her into. It’s an annoying and unnecessary retcon, and it would be really awesome if we could have one positive goth character on TV besides Abby Scuito. I am seriously frustrated by this.

          Also, Oliver the Cook is adorable, but Oliver the Conservative Prep makes me roll my eyes. Dude, your girlfriend is hot in both goth and executive mode, okay? Shut your damn mouth.

          For some reason, I got the timeline mixed up, so I thought we were going to find out who died halfway through the season, not at the end. Felicity’s reaction in the car, though, makes me feel like Oliver’s kid and the baby mama are less likely. I actually felt the opposite, when it came to Diggle: it seems like it has to be someone pretty important, or their grief would feel too much. Particularly on Felicity’s part, who’s been pretty No Killing, Oliver! for a while now, even in ridiculous circumstances. (Like when she’s worried about Oliver killing Ra’s and not the other way around.) For her to change her stance on that, I’d think it really ought to be someone like Diggle or Thea or somebody else that’s a major player.

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