Crisis Management: Batwoman, Supergirl, Black Lightning & The Flash Week 3, Arrow Season 6

Batwoman Season 1: Episode 3: “Down Down Down”

TOMMY ELLIOT! Hush, we have Hush in this goddamned show already and we’re not even a month in. (thought since he’s fighting Kate and not Bruce, we don’t get my favorite Hush stuff, which is Tommy making oblique references to Jason’s fate.) And he’s being played by the always welcome Gabriel Mann (anyone from Revenge is always deeply welcome to be in other stuff. Have you not watched Revenge? If you like my blog, you should probably watch it, because it’s up your alley.) Anyway, Kate has another tete a tete with Alice, who she challenges to not kill for 24 hours, and she’ll release her boyfriend/lackey. An excellent call Kate.

It doesn’t work of course, since Alice wants to teach Kate that Beth Kane no longer exists. Kate is dubious, but at least is willing to now treat Alice like a real threat. She’s still fighting with Jacob about Alice’s true identity.

This all occurs around a party Tommy Elliot is throwing , that he coyly tells Kate to make sure Bruce gets invited. Because he’s Hush. He knows that Bruce is Batman, so if Batman is back, it must mean Bruce is too. Kate is shocked, Luke is less shocked. He also improves the suit, adds the red wig and symbol and Kate gets the name Batwoman, from Rachel Maddow’s Vesper Fairchild. We have not yet talked about Vesper, but her “voice of Gotham” broadcasts are pretty fun. It being Maddow is a nice touch too.

Sophie is now guarding Mary full time, which Mary finds annoying and Sophie is using as an excuse to ask about Kate, which, like dick movie, Sophie really. However, Kate’s new love interest, a bartender named Reagan seems great. (And in true CW Superhero tradition, Ruby Rose has infinitely more chemistry with her than her intended love interest. Hopefully they change course like Kara/James rather than force the issue like Barry/Iris or you know, MURDER SOPHIE like Oliver/Laurel. For sure though, Sophie’s husband is gonna die by the end of the season, he’s got that Tommy Merlyn/Eddie Thwan target on his bland handsome back.)

Kate is finally functioning as Batwoman, not being mistaken as Batman, which I think is good, because it will give the show somewhere to go.

Supergirl Season 5: Episode 3 “Blurred Lines”

SEAN ASTIN! I get the feeling I’m going to be doing a good chunk of that this week. We’ll get to good old Mikey/Rudy/Samwise/Bill and why he was perfect casting here in a minute.

Alex is worried that Kelly is too friendly as you know, they’re being targeted by a shape shifter and Kelly’s big heart and tendency to let people in is kind of a bad plan in that case. Of course, “Don’t trust people! ICK FEELINGS” is kinda Alex’s thing so Kelly shrugs this off and when an old friend, who happens to be a vet with PTSD shows up, and he’s played by Sean Astin so of course we trust him.

But we shouldn’t because he’s Malaf’ak. Obviously.

He traps Kelly and attacks her. And she and James agree to go into hiding. Fine whatever. The Olsens are kinda boring, even if they are dreamy.

J’onn and Nia go into his memories of his brother to figure out what’s causing him to be such a butt. Turns out he was quarantined for years because of a virus. So you know, when the white Martians offered him a way out he took it. J’onn feels this guilt (as he should) and is going to try to move forward, but his evil brother trying to kill them all is still bad.

Kara is trying to make up to Lena for lying and Lena uses that to get Lex’s old journals for something she and Robot Ms. Tessemacher are building. Also there’s like a thing at Catco, I don’t know. That storyline is even less important than ususal this year. Nia asks Brainy to stop being so extra all the time, and his little robot feelings get hurt, and it’s very sad.

Black Lightning Season 3: Episode 3: “The Book of Occupation: Chapter 3: Agent Odell’s Pipe Dream”

What is Agent Odell’s goal in this story? Is it, as Tobias says, to remove the metas from Freeland and dissolve responsibility of the US government? Is it as he tells the Pierce family, to protect our country from the Markovian incursion? (Albeit in wayyy more shady ways than he’s letting them know? Using both Jen and Khalil as weapons is awful.) (I told y’all last week, I’m so so so worried about them both. All the time.) I don’t know, but I want to.

He also gives Jeff a badass new suit! Jefferson Pierce is a great character but he seems to retreating to the background this season. This seems purposeful, but also, the girls were forced to get by without their father (and mother, but Lynn’s still got a lot going on) for a bit so they’re less dependent on him for stability right now. Anyway, he frees some soldiers from the Markovians, at Odell’s behest, and again, I am very worried about the Pierce family is being used in this conflict.

Anissa’s girlfriend Grace is a shapeshifter. So, that should be interesting. Looking forward to how that’s going to shake out. Also, cops are being framed for using Green Light. And Khalil is continuing to assasinate people. Seriously. SO WORRIED.

There’s a lot going on on Black Lightning all the time, keeping track isn’t always the most straightforward of tasks. I continue to really love this show though. It really clicks well.

The Flash Season 6 Episode 3: “Dead Man Running”

TED KORD! Is not in this episode. He is mentioned though and that’s something. Look, if we’re getting Blue Beetle in The Arrowverse, I am very very excited about it. (Ted’s been name dropped a few times on Arrow as well. And our beloved Ray-Ray was supposed to be Ted, but WB said no.) Anyway, Dr. Mohinder Suresh/Bloodbourn got some dark matter from him. Barry and Frost learn this while questioning him about a zombie meta they’re hunting.

Meanwhile, Iris and Cisco go hunting for this year’s Harrison Wells. He goes by Nash and is a myth debunking Indiana Jones type. It’s fun. He’s uninterested in going through as Cisco calls it “The dance,” but is hunting for something on this Earth-1. I bet it’s crisis related.

Barry meanwhile is wondering how to tell his friends he’s going to die in the crisis. It’s winds up being through the POWER OF CO DEPENDENCE!

Oh and Cecile and Ralph clear his Mom’s name. And it’s adorable. I love Ralph and Cecile, they’re great together.

Arrow Season 6

Ooooh, so this is why everyone at The AV Club hates New Team Arrow. And also Felicity. They really suck this season. Diggle’s kind of a whiny bitch too. This is not a good season of television.

(Seriously, if you can make me not like John Diggle…something’s not right…)

Anyway, the first half of the season super hacker Cayden James, played by the always welcome Michael Emerson. (He even refers to himself as Benjamin Gale at one point and my Lost lovin’ heart went pitter pat.) That’s OK, he blames Oliver for the death of his son. (It wasn’t Oliver) So he decides to destroy his life. He succeeds largely. His machinations alienate Oliver from his team, put Felicity and William (Oliver’s son William is the worst character in the show’s history, he’s really really badly written, and written wayyy too young for the actor. It’s bizarre.) in danger and gets him ousted as mayor.

Also, Roy and Nhyssa come back for a few episodes and Thea leaves with them to go hunt Lazarus pits and why isn’t that a spin off? That sounds amazing.

Anyway, the second half is the rise of Ricardo Diaz, a drug dealer turned crime lord who is also impossible to kill for plot reasons. If The AV Club folks, which is how I was keeping up with Arrow for the past few years hate New Team Arrow and Felicity, they really really really can’t stand Diaz. And at first I didn’t understand why, as Kirk Acevedo’s hammy performance is a lot of fun, but by the end of the season, I too, was just kind of done with this character, who apparently goes nowhere.

This season is held together by the really great Crisis On Earth X crossover though, which I watched all of when I reached it. Also Lance and alternate Laurel bond, but then he dies. Which kind of sucks. I like alternate Laurel though, because she gives Katie Cassidy something more to do.

I should be caught up next week! Hooray! I actually had to take a break from everything this weekend and just watched Legends Of Tomorrow’s first two seasons. Season 1 is both better and worse than I remembered? The Hawkpeople are AWFUL. Really terrible. Just so bad. Everything else in season 1 though is pure gold, the only thing missing is the cheeky wink at the camera tone the show picked up later, much to it’s benefit. Especially great is Snart. I really miss Snart. Do we know if Wentworth Miller is going to be in Crisis? I sure hope so. And Season 2 is pure delight. John Barrowman should be in everything forever. Thank you for coming to my Ted Talk.

Zombie Kill Of The Century

I love the movie Zombieland. I just like zombie movies in general, actually, and Zombieland also has other things that I like, sarcastic quips, Woody Harrelson and Emma Stone among them.

So, I knew I was going to at the very least enjoy Zombieland: Double Tap. And I did. It also includes a few other things that I really like, love triangles and Rosario Dawson. HOORAY!

Zombieland isn’t the best movie ever, but it’s a good one, so obviously it’s sequel is also not a great movie, but an adequate one. It’s fun, funny, the kills are good and it’s final set piece is reasonably impressive, for a midlevel zombie comedy.

There’s also a bunch of Elvis jokes, a dumb hippy kid who tries to convince Abigail Breslin’s Little Rock that he wrote, “Like A Rolling Stone,” which is genuinely hilarious, especially once she reveals that she was only hanging out with him to get away from her suffocating family and because he had weed. “I know who Bob Dylan is you idiot!”

Also, that final set piece? It involes Rosario Dawson running over a bunch of zombies with a monster truck.

I’m sorry, I’m human, that’s just plain wonderful.

Rankings

  1. Once Upon A Time…In Hollywood
  2. Spider-Man: Far From Home
  3. Avengers: Endgame
  4. Rocketman
  5. Detective Pikachu
  6. Zombieland: Double Tap
  7. Godzilla: King Of The Monsters
  8. Downton Abbey
  9. Joker

Trailers

Knive’s Out: My level of hype for this movie is astronomical. It looks so so so so so so good.

Doctor Sleep: After finishing the book, I’m even more excited for this. I like that they’re making Dan and Abra’s first contact seem a little bit creepy.

Charlie’s Angels: This is going to be the gayest lady movie ever isn’t it? Whatever, I’m in for the wigs alone, but the action looks pretty sweet too and is Patrick Stewart Charlie?

The Turning: YOU GIVE ME ALL OF THE GOTHIC HORROR. ALL OF IT. We wants it. The precious. (Evil demon children. Also is this literally a modern take on The Turning Of The Screw? Because that’s awesome. I should read that. I like the James I have read…)

Bad Boys For Life: I am glad Will Smith is back. I’ve missed him. I didn’t see Aladdin and I still haven’t seen Gemini Man, so I get that my excitement may seem less than wholehearted, but it isn’t.

Countdown: No. I mean, it looks fine, just, not for me.

Fangirl Loves Star Wars Special: The Rise Of Skywalker Trailer

The Rise Of Skywalker is coming.

We’re two months out and it’s coming and we can all take deep breaths and accept that we’re going to be fine.

I mean, like humanity is going to be fine.

Me personally?

Jury’s out on my level of fine-ness.

Anyway we’ll circle back on December 21. I have my tickets for opening night. (It was an ordeal. Why is it that AMC always always has issues when Star Wars tickets come out?)

Anyway, there’s stuff here that I find intriguing. I think we’re finally going to get that glut of Force Ghosts that I’ve wanted every since JJ Abrams took the wheel. (JJ loves ghosts almost as much as he loves time travel. ) I’m here for Space Horses and Finn turning Poe’s jacket into a vest, and the probably redemption of Kylo Ren. I’m here for the death of C-3PO being the emotional lynchpin of this thing. I’m here for Lando. (But if you’ve been following me the past few months you can probably guess that.)

I’m her for Star Wars. Also, I know season 2 of Resistance has started. We’ll talk about it soon, I promise.

Crisis Management:Batwoman, Supergirl, The Flash & Black Lightning Weeks 1 & 2; Arrow Season 5

I remember back in the winter that I realized a new era was coming to The Fangirl’s Dilemma this year, as four very very big nerd culture moments were happening in 2019

Avengers: Endgame (I loved it!)

Game Of Thrones Season 8 (I did not love it!)

Star Wars: Episode IX: The Rise Of Skywalker (We shall see!)

And, last and probably least in the minds of the greater public.

CW’s Arrowverse taking on of Crisis On Infinite Earths. 

The Arrowverse, so named for it’s flagship show, which I haven’t watched in years, but is wrapping up this year, so I’m gonna do my darndest to catch up on it…is approaching critical mass. It has (at least) 3 mainstream universes where it’s shows take place. (I have my theories about Doom Patrol and Titans…) Not to mention the others that jump to on The Flash semi-regularly.

The crossover is promising to bring back almost every single actor to ever play a DC character on television. (There are a few conspicuous absences, MESSRS. ROSENBAUM AND CAIN.) Including things none of us ever thought we were going to see, like Brandon Routh as Superman again, or Kevin Conroy as Bruce Wayne.

Anyway, as I have a tendency to let myself get behind on these shows, I figured that a good way to keep up would be to give the Arrowverse the Monday slot for now. I may move it when The Mandolorian hits (to Thursday, likely) but for now, this most constant place in my schedule goes to The Arrowverse.

Batwoman: Season 1: Episodes 1 &2: Pilot & The Rabbit Hole

We, the CW superhero loving public met Kate Kane last year when Kara Danvers, Oliver Queen and Barry Allen (Body swapped at the time) wandered their heroic leather clad booties into her city in search of a secret book that would rewrite reality.

Kate, it was established was Bruce Wayne’s cousin, (Kara did not reveal the secret, partially I think because she finds it hilarious.) and that since Bruce left Gotham for oblique Bruce-ish reasons I’m sure, she’s taken up the mantle of Batwoman. The pilot brings us back to Kate’s earliest days as a vigilante.

After being kicked out of the army for homosexuality. (It was pointed out that this backstory for Kate would not be applicable if she were even 5 years younger. Which is INSANELY COOL AND GREAT!) Kate travelled the world training to join her father’s private security firm, The Crows, who are defending Gotham in Batman’s absence.

Kate resents the Caped Crusader, who she doesn’t know is her beloved cousin, as he saved her as a child but didn’t manage to save her mother and sister. OR SO SHE THOUGHT.

Kate teams up with Luke Fox (Dare I dream of Batwing on my TeeVee, Oh friends, I dream, I dream big time) and becomes Batwoman, evading her dad, and fighting the mysterious Alice, who it is revealed is in fact Beth Kane, Kate’s supposedly dead sister. Oh also, Kate’s ex girlfriend is working for her dad and is now married to a man, and also her dad is remarried to a scheming socialite type and her step sister Mary is a med student who’s running an illegal free clinic for Gotham’s downtrodden.

It seems like family and sisterhood are going to be major themes for this show and since these are both themes that these shows handle incredibly well.

The show is good so far. I like Ruby Rose far more than most as Kate Kane. She’s already got a pretty good supporting cast around her. (LUKE MOTHER FUCKING FOX CHILDREN!) I think the show could grow into something special.

Supergirl: Season 5: Episodes 1 & 2: Event Horizon & Stranger Beside Me

After exposing Lex Luthor and getting a Pulitzer Prize for her trouble, Kara Danvers is ready to take on the world, of course there’s all kinds complications. Lena knows her secret and is being made to feel like she was betrayed. (Because of course she sort of was.) Also Lena sold Catco to Andrea Rojas, who wants to paper to like, make money? Or something? Anyway, she’s very into getting clicks, so Jimmy quits in protest, and now might be running for senator.

OK, Jimmy, you go do that. (I know Mehcad Brooks is leaving the show, which I think is for the best. I think he’s gifted and quite good looking, but the writing’s never been there for James Olsen, dreamy boy photographer/late in life helmetted superhero, especially once Jeremy Jordan left the show.)

Alex, meanwhile continues to rock fabulous queer lady haircuts and is dating James’s cool sister Kelly, who is a scientist and a badass, and also works for Andrea. (If the Crisis does not net a queer lady power shot like the “She’s got help” moment where Alex, Sarah Lance, Kate Kane and Anissa Jefferson kick some butts, we will have WORDS BERLANTI) That’s twisted and also Alex is mega awkward and bad at relationships, but otherwise, this is a story I am enjoying.

J’onn’s evil brother M’al’a’falak is on the scene, transported in by The Monitor, presumably to test team Supergirl. This is not good for J’onn but is great for me, because I love Martian shit.

The Flash Season 6: Episodes 1 & 2: “Into The Void” & “A Flash Of Lightning”

The Flash is probably going to be doing most of the heavy lifting for pre Crisis prep which is a good call, since Barry’s going to die and all, plus they hop between universes on that show like the Arrow folks go through bar bells, or Jefferson Pierce does inspirational quotes.

Barry and Iris are morning Nora, who they know will be born. (Or not, since Barry is going to die) but they still miss her. Of course this is Barry and Iris, so they’re dealing with it by gazing soulfully at one another, and Barry working too much. But they’re dealing. Killer Frost has decided that she wants a life, and Ralph and Caitlin are determined to give it to her, which is completely adorable. Cisco is now power free and loving life with his new girlfriend, but I miss vibe, y’all, I miss him a lot.

Our villain this year is Bloodborne, who is being played by Sendhil Rammamurthy and all I can think of when he and Caitlin were talking was about how well Caitlin and Dr. Mohinder Suresh would have gotten along. Anyway, he turned himself into a cancer monster oh no! (Remember when he turned himself into a bug dude? Oh, you didn’t watch Heroes after season 2? Anyway that’s a thing he did. He stuck to the ceiling it was really gross.) 

The second episode, begins Barry’s inevitable march toward Crisis death. (Can’t have a Crisis without a dead Flash) with a visit to Jay Garrick of Earth 3. John Wesley Shipp is always a welcome presence on any show, but especially this one. He lets Barry know that his decision to look into what’s happening with The Monitor is legit is a good one, and introduces his wife Joan. I squeed and clapped at Joan’s inclusion.

Killer Frost’s attempt at a life is going OK, Cisco and Ray Palmer (RAY RAY! We’re not getting Legends until after post-Crisis, which is both sad and something we’re all going to have to deal with) created a way for her to modulate her voice and make her eyes more normal, so she can go around in normal society. Of course she’s still Killer Frost, so she’s pretty rude, but she wants to be an artist.

Cecile and Joe are on a meta case, and Cecile’s empathy powers are working overdrive on the young woman she’s supposed to be prosecuting. The girl is clearly terrified and has been failed by the system and Cecile wants to give her a chance. Joe wants to follow the book. (Once trained by Anita Van Buren, always so trained)  Anyway, turns out the meta girl was in fact framed by her former foster sister, who has become Ultra Violet, and attacks everyone. After the defeat, Joe and Cecile decide to commit themselves to making the justice system more fair to metas.

Flash is crucial to the Crisis. Especially since we’re not getting a Harrison Wells this year, with Tom Cavanaugh playing Pariah. I miss his energy on the show, but totally get it.

Black Lightning Season 3: Episodes 1 & 2: The Book Of Occupation: Chapters 1 & 2: Birth Of Blackbird & Maryam’s Tomash

A lot is happening on this, the most socially conscious of the Arrowverse, but the most important part to me, is that Anissa names her AI Shonda and gets ready for a night out of supeheroing by listening to Chaka Khan, because she is a grade A badass and the best character in possibly this whole universe. (Did I ever think I would love like I loved Sara again? No. But I love Anissa.) (And frankly Chaka Khan is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the amazingness that is the Black Lightning soundtrack)

Jeff and Lynn are being held by Agent Odell, as Jeff is Meta Patient 0, as it were, and the Markovians are looking for metas. (The fact that both Young Justice and Black Lightning the two best DC Adaptations of this century IMO use Markovia is to be noted) (Also can we talk about how much I love that Lynn is continued to be referred to as Doctor Stewart rather than Mrs. Pierce RULES) (Seriously, this show is so good. I can’t believe it took me two seasons to catch on) Jen has to hide her powers, as does Anissa, though Anissa cannot be contained, and as it turns out not using her powers causes Jen actual physical pain. (Also, Jen’s new haircut is a very good look for her. In later weeks, when I have less ground to cover, I may talk about how the fashion and styling of the women of The Arrowverse is incredible.) Anissa is living up to Jen’s nickname for her by spiriting metas out of Freeland to the woods, and while the city lives under lockdown things are just getting worse.

Markovia is getting ready to invade the US, and war won’t be good for this community.

Also, I’m so so worried about Khalil. I do not like him being used as a weapon.This show just makes me worry about it’s children. Which is why I both resent and am relieved that they haven’t scraped the budget and story together to introduce us to Virgil Hawkins. (I know it’s going to happen and I really cannot expend the emotional energy to worry about Static to the extent that I worry about Jen and Khalil each week.) (But also like, when are we going introduce him?)

Arrow: Season 5

I gave up on Arrow when they killed Laurel Lance and her last words were about how Oliver now had her full dead ex girlfriend permission to marry Felicity. But since I’m a crazy person, and kind of a masochist, I’ve decided to jump back in.

In season 5, Oliver is mayor! Yay? Thea isn’t Speedy any more! Definitely not yay! Diggle is back in the army. Interesting. Felicity has a new boyfriend. Eh? There’s a new team Arrow in town (I like them, but I recall from recaps, they are wildly unpopular.)

Also, the big bad is Prometheus, the son of one of the corrupt businessmen Oliver murdered in season 1. He’s out to show Oliver that his quest has A) failed and B) destroyed everyone he loves.

So, anyway, that’s the story. Also, Black Siren shows up a few times, so killing Laurel was even more pointless?

But it does lead to some fun stuff, flashbacks to Oliver’s time in the Russian mob, Thalia Al Ghul, and a thrilling finale where we get Nyssa, Malcolm Merlyn and Slade Wilson back into the fray! Overall I’m glad I decided to catch up. Next week we’ll talk about season 6. I need to push through quickly so that I don’t lose access to the first few episodes of season 8.

This post is very long. In the future they will be less long, as they’ll only cover one episode per show instead of 2!

I did consider giving this spot to Watchmen or His Dark Materials,but until I know for sure that those shows are going to be worth analyzing (this doesn’t mean good. Which is why I never handed the spot over to Westworld despite really liking the show.) that’s a no go. Also, still a few weeks before HDM and I needed something in the meantime. I will cover both shows, if they prove to be the worthy successors that HBO wants them to be. But Arrowverse is having it’s biggest year ever. So, that’s where we’re at.

60 Books in 2019 #55: Doctor Sleep By Stephen King

Like just about every Stephen King book I’ve read. (I think we’re up to 11 now? 5 Dark Towers plus The Wind In The Keyhole, The Stand, Different Seasons, On Writing, The Shining, It, Needful Things, and Doctor Sleep, so yes, 11!) Doctor Sleep has a lot going on.

In addition to being a sequel to The Shining (Danny Torrance is all grown up!) it’s a love letter to Alcoholics Anonymous, and about psychic kids and the things in this world and others. (GUYS! REMEMBER THAT TIME THAT I READ THE SHINING  AND I COMPARED DANNY TO JAKE CHAMBERS? IN DOCTOR SLEEP HE TURNS TO SOMEONE AND SAYS “THERE ARE OTHER WORLDS THAN THESE” AND I LITERALLY BURST INTO TEARS BECAUSE I LOVE JAKE SO MUCH. Danny, or Dan as he’s known as a grownup is cool too.)

Dan Torrance inherited a lot of things from his Dad, his temper and alcoholism paramount, but also the ghosts. The metaphorical ghosts of that most traumatic winter at The Overlook, but also the literal ghosts of The Overlook which followed Danny and Wendy around for a few years until Dick Halloran taught Danny to lock them away in a Shining constructed lock box.

The True Knot are a nomadic band of energy vampires who drive around the US in RV’s hunting kids who shine, though they call it “the steam.” They’re immortal and nasty and great. I’m sure on a different level of the Tower they’d have found good work with The Sombra Corporation. Their leader, Rose The Hat is ancient, powerful and terrible.

Abra Stone is the most powerful Shining kid ever, and The True want her. When Dan crosses her path by coincidence (or is it?) they become entwined on an adventure. Danny and Abra’s parallells are obvious. Her father is also a writer attempting to finish a book. (He’s not a violent drunk, however…so that’s different) They’re both gifted, affable, kind and empathetic.

In his adulthood, Danny finds a talent for helping people cross over from life to death, which is where the name Doctor Sleep comes from.

Anyway, Dan and Abra fight Rose and The True Knot, and also, Dan goes to a lot of AA meetings. Also Danny releases all his ghosts. Both the metaphorical trauma of his past, and also you know the literal ghosts that tried to kill him when he was five.

Like I said, there’s a lot going on. There’s stuff about 9/11 (which again, in The Song Of Susannah I think? There are advertisements letting the Tahine know that they should be in New York that day. I’m sure The True are related, like It and The Dandelo.) (LOOK, I JUST WANT TO TALK ABOUT THE DARK TOWER ALL THE TIME OK?)

Book’s good. Looking forward to the movie.

Up next is Sorcerer To The Crown by Zen Cho, which was actually recommended to be way back last year when I was asking friends for non white, non male writers who’s work I might like.

 

60 Books In 2019 #53 & 54: The Adventure Zone: Here There Be Gerblins & Murder On The Rockport Limited by Clint, Griffin, Justin & Travis McElroy & Carey Pietsch

I’ve got a new (ish) Shibboleth when I’m around fellow nerdy people. Once you get past your standards (What’s your house? Marvel or DC? Wars or Trek?), you suss out if someone is a podcast person, and then, “Do you McElroy at all?”

I’ve decided to turn McElroy into a verb because it’s easier than running down the list of the good good podcasts, from these good nice boys and their various relatives. I McElroy pretty hard, I listen to all the podcasts, and have watched the TV show a few times and I listen to the spin off Smirl Girl podcasts. I was late to The Adventure Zone even by my standards and I’m still making my way through the Balance arc, but I decided to pick up the two (so far) graphic novels based on the podcast which is just the boys playing Dungeons And Dragons with their dad.

It’s not for everyone. I mean, if you’re allergic to JOY you might not enjoy the McElroy brand. Not but really, it’s absurdly silly stuff, where Taako, The Elf Wizard (from TV), Merle The Dwarf Cleric (Devotee of Pan), and Magnus The Human Fighter (Rushes in), go on magical adventures for The Bureau of Balance retrieving artifacts of great power.

But mostly they mess it up, and make dumb jokes, and make Griffin, their dungeon master and best friend sigh in exasperation. I was nervous if the graphic novel would live up to the slightly structured silliness of the podcast and it really did. It’s also so correct that Carey Pietsch’s art seems almost childlike, or at least like a children’s book, brightly colored and thick lined and full of whimsy.

Seriously, if you like the podcast (or want a slightly less time consuming introduction to those Good Nice McElroy boys) check it out.

I know I was supposed to be reading Cavendon Hall but here’s the deal, the book was not particularly well written and had a rape in the first 20 pages. I got too much stuff I want to read to be subjecting myself to poorly written historical fiction with rapes in it!

Up next is Doctor Sleep because we’re halfway through October and I want some ghosts damn it!

Fangirl Loves Star Wars: Episode VIII: The Last Jedi

So, I’m one of those people that gave a hearty shrug to The Last Jedi. I absolutely understood the movie. I got what Rian Johnson was going for, and applaud him for the attempt. Deconstruction of something as woven into the culture as Star Wars is a bold thing to swing for.

And here’s the thing with The Last Jedi, I don’t think he quite pulled it off. Which isn’t to say I don’t admire the attempt, I do. Some of the stuff, well, some of it I absolutely adore, I think it’s wonderful. I really enjoy Vice Admiral Holdo, and the way the movie plays with Luke and Leia’s connection. (Mirroring it in Kylo and Rey.) I think it’s visually stunning. I think Luke’s ultimate fate was brilliant and lovely and deeply in line with what we know of him as a man and his Jedi training.

I do think the movie tries to do too much. Insisting that we have to move forward but doing so at the expense of stories that had been built up in it’s predecessor feels arrogant. It’s also hypocritcal to say “we’re burning down the past” while transforming the more underground Resistance into the outright Rebellion of the original trilogy. (You can’t have both, Johnson!)

Some things that I didn’t like initially have grown on me. I initially didn’t love Benecio Del Toro’s DJ, who I now think is kind of delightful. (Still think he should have been Lando…but ya know…beggars and choosers.) My anger at how Poe became a more cliched “I know better” hothead this time around has cooled so I was able to see what Johnson and Isaac were actually going for with this performance. Poe’s given it all to the Resistance, he’s exhausted and frustrated. His mentor may be dying. His boyfriend (STORMPILOT LIVES!) is off on a dangerous spy mission. He has no information about how this is going to end. He snaps.

One thing that’s held up every time I’ve watched the movie is John Boyega’s performance. It’s mind blowingly charismatic and fun. Finn’s transformation from selfish survivor to team player/leader is beautiful executed. It’s the part of the movie I always liked best.

Which brings us to Kylo and Rey. I think Kylo Ren is a brilliantly rendered villain, and Adam Driver plays him well. He’s all raw emotion and easily triggered anger, with the power to back that up. It’s so different for this series. Rey is desperate here, she just wants answers. And while I’ve had so much fun in the past six years playing with “who is Rey?” theories. While I’ve always been fond of “Kenobi” as a theory, watching The Last Jedi this time, brought me around a bit to  “clone.” (I don’t think she’s a gender swapped clone of Anakin of Palpatine, but I think she might be a clone.) Her lack of answers about her past, her overall competence (almost as if she’d been programmed, like a Kamino Clone), and that scene where she sees herself reflected over and over again in a line while communing in the cave.

Not to mention the “Dark Rey” images from the Rise of Skywalker trailer.

There’s a lot going on in this movie, which is part of why I think it doesn’t work quite as well as it could. Rian Johnson is trying to do a lot here and some of it therefore comes out a little bit half baked. I’m also immensely gratified that J.J. Abrams has insisted he’s not going to walk back Johnson’s decision in The Last Jedi. He could have, but he’s happy with the status quo he’s got to work with.

We shall see in a few months how this all shakes out.

We’re still a few weeks from The Mandolorian so I’m not sure what will go in this spot quite yet. Taking suggestions!