SDCC 2016 ‘Lucifer’: The Devil has a Mother

by Agent Alicia Glass (a.k.a. Pandora the Punctuation Horror)

It just wouldn’t be a complete Comic-Con without a visit to Hell! Or rather, a re-visit with the Devil on vacation and his pals, both human and divine, as we dive into the panel for FOX’s Lucifer!

The panel included Tom Ellis (Lucifer), D.B. Woodside (Amenadiel), Tricia Helfer (Mom), Lesley-Ann Brandt (Maze), Aimee Garcia (Ella Lopez), and Executive Producers Joe Henderson and Ildy Modrovich.

For those of you who may not recall, season one of Lucifer ended with some feuding angelic brothers teaming up to take on some bad humans, a potential death and return from Hell, and, oh hey, the news that, someone escaped from Hell and Luci’s been tasked to go get them. Who escaped, you ask? The one person/entity/whatever that Lucifer, Amenadiel, even God himself apparently, is afraid of – Mom.

We all wondered, because at the end of season one, Henderson didn’t have an actress to play her: Someone who would end up with the previously unheard-of role of Mother of the Devil. Wonder no more, Comic-Con fans, for famed sci-fi maven, Tricia Helfer joined the cast of Lucifer on stage in role as Mom!

Helfer was gleeful and playful about her role, pointing out, “The ‘Mom’ chapter was left out of the Bible,” so the show had tons of wiggle-room to write that chapter themselves.

Lesley-Ann Brandt was eager to explain that her character, Maze, would have her own version of emancipation in season two, being forced to remain on Earth  with Lucifer more or less as she is now. And of course, there is no love lost between Maze and Mom, who know each other pretty well, since, “Mom was in Hell and Maze was a prime torturer there, so their meeting again up on Earth is … tense.”

Aimee Garcia plays a new character on the show, forensic scientist Ella Lopez, who inevitably gets involved with Lucifer and Decker’s crime fighting. Garcia related an amusing little story where she surprise-hugged Tom Ellis in their first real scene together on the show. “I’m a hugger in real life and, apparently, so is Lopez; I just gave Tom a big hug and he was like, ‘Hey, go with it!’”

The audience was assured that Lucifer is still in therapy in season two, which is great because his therapy sessions are arguably some of the best scenes on the show. Woodside, who plays Amenadiel, Lucifer’s brother on the show, related that it was important to continue that aspect of Lucifer’s journey, “It’s always interesting to see a character be fragile, especially this character.”

Henderson happily explained that season one of Lucifer had most of the characters establishing their own roles on the show, so season two will have a lot more of the characters playing off each other and being much more together. He also gleefully explained to curious fans that the very reason Chloe Decker affects Lucifer in that way, will be explained in season two as well.

Lucifer will be back to set our everything a-boiling September 19, 2016 on FOX @9:00 p.m./8:00 p.m., Central!

https://youtu.be/urBQ1a00xbE

‘Powers’ Season Two Premiere: Who Really Killed Retro Girl?

by Agent Alicia Glass (a.k.a. Pandora the Punctuation Horror)

Welcome back to the continuation of the finale from the previous season, the hunt for the killer of Retro Girl, already in progress. Powers is the show about people with extraordinary powers, their long-reaching consequences, and the ordinary folk trying to live with, and occasionally police, the powers among them!

Walker (Sharlto Copley) is still keeping very much himself, despite having just defeated the psychotic murderer, Wolf, and coming off seeing the throat-slit corpse of Retro Girl laid out in a glaring statement of hate – he curses, he rages, and he absolutely fucking refuses to sit still. The Captain, of course, wants Christian off the Retro Girl case right now, considering the FBI just walked in to breathe down his neck and Walker is far too close to her death. Walker’s partner, Pilgrim got assigned to the case with Kutter, which makes no one happy, but at least someone familiar is on it in some kind of official capacity.

Did I mention the FBI? Yeah. In walks Agents Lange (Tricia Helfer) and Schlag (Timothy Douglas Perez), a dynamic duo that are giant pain in the asses as far as Captain Cross is concerned. Schlag is very obviously some kind of Power, he looks like a walking piece of granite and never speaks. And Lange, well, she has the Helfer magic to give her that give-zero-fucks attitude, which, since she’s a season two regular apparently, is just going to piss everyone at Powers Division off.

Actually, how long the Powers Division will last in the wake of the death of Retro Girl, is debatable. I still don’t get how shutting down the PD is going to help catch the murderer, but when has logic ever held sway in this grand country of ours? Zora is still laid up in the hospital after her bout with Wolf, but when she gets wind of Retro Girl’s demise, she takes off determinedly out a window. Good thing she’d been practicing her powers quietly before trying that. Speaking of practicing, our dear little wannabe, Calista, is all grown up, mostly sorta kinda, and practicing her newborn powers out there in the desert. Where, presumably, she won’t kill anyone or flatten anything of importance, as she tries so very hard to fly like Iron Man and bench press a truck.

Everyone is trying to use the aftermath of RG’s death to push forward some kind of platform or statement. Even, amazingly, the former Cobalt Knight of the UNITY trio that Retro Girl formed to fight crime way back when; he’s now Senator Bailey Brown and is trying to put forth a bill that will make the use of any and all powers illegal and prosecutable. The last member of UNITY, SuperShock (Michael Madsen), just has to show up while Christian is taking a last walk of RG’s digs and declare for vengeance.

The re-emergence of SuperShock, or Patrick, as Christian sometimes calls him, out of a self-imposed 40-year retirement, is one of season two’s main plots and so far quite intriguing. We’re led to believe that something, or perhaps a series of somethings, horrific, led to Patrick’s ultimate retirement and swearing off the regulated cape and uniform, and indeed, as he speaks with Walker about the death of Retro Girl, even now he seems a broken man. I look forward to much rampant destruction as Madsen’s battered hero glomps his way towards the truth of her death.

Unfortunately for him, right now the only real suspect at the moment is Krispin Stockley (Max Fowler), given his known association with Khaotic Chic and general dislike for Powers folk, plus that whole wrong-place-wrong-time deal. Despite the real-seeming possibility that Krispin, his little wannabe-anarchist girlfriend, and their anti-powers radicals, I think it’s highly unlikely that all of them could pull such a thing off. If they did it, they’d have to have dubious help, and other suspects are already cropping up. Don’t miss Walker and Pilgrim and all their powers and human friends and enemies, battling them and each-other for supremacy and Retro Girl’s legacy in Powers Season Two!

Powers is being shown exclusively on the Playstation Network, but for everyone else who doesn’t have such a thing, you can catch new episodes on their website here!

XXX

‘Cleverman’ Premiere: How Hairy are You?

by Agent Alicia Glass (a.k.a. Pandora the Punctuation Horror)

It’s important to note that there are many different kinds of mythology from all over the world, and nothing makes any one of them more powerful than the other. In theory, ‘Aboriginal’ used as a term of categorization means that the thing or person you’re talking about is very close to nature and of the earliest times, when the world was newer than it is now.

So, work with me, here. The Australian Aboriginal mythology and world-creation stories are collectively known as The Dreaming. Spirits and creatures and Gods, oh my, The Dreaming is very much like its own version of the afterlife, astral spirit realms and other such stories more western folk may be familiar with. Each tribe has its own myths for The Dreaming, and each tribe also has its own Cleverman, the conduit between reality and The Dreaming, the man of power and guidance, like a shaman or a priest. Each tribe has their own methods for making their Cleverman, and I haven’t heard as yet whether or not a woman can be their shaman. For the purposes of the show (thus far), this particular Cleverman appears to be a title and power passed on to family by the previous chosen Cleverman, and boy, does it create an uproar when he does so.

Set in a futuristic dystopian society, the world has divided along the lines of species, rather than race, this time. The Hairy people, or ‘Hairies’ as they are sometimes referred to in a derogatory fashion, humanoid-like folk who seemed to have merged with animal characteristics and gone back to a harmony with nature and spiritualism rarely seen these days, are persecuted for being far less than human. Hairies live a lot longer than humans, have extra strength and a metaphysical awareness of The Dreaming, some even have their own Cleverman. But for all their interesting characteristics, Hairies simply don’t share the same DNA as humans any more, and that makes them different, which, to a good deal of humanity, means, “Destroy it before it destroys us!”

In this brave new world, the Zone has been set up, in theory, as a place for Hairies to exist (not live, that’s not living, not really) in peace and prosperity, if they can. Some humans choose to live there, or are forced to live there due to financial straits, and get nothing but flak for it. Some Hairies try to escape the Zone, for their families’ sake if nothing else, and this is how they encounter all sorts of shady coyote border-runner types, where we meet Koen West (Hunter Page-Lochard).

Koen seems, at the outset, to be the worst kind of coyote as, with one hand, he helps a Hairy refugee family sneak outside the Zone and into an illegal apartment, and with the other hand, he crushes any hope of kindness by reporting the refugees to the Authorities for the reward money not a few hours later. Then there’s this giant confrontation when the Authorities come to haul the Hairies off to God-knows-what-kind of jail, a beat-down ensues right in front of news cameras, and the youngest Hairy girl is gunned down in very cold blood.

It turns out, while all this is going on, that Koen’s uncle Jimmy is the Cleverman for his tribe, and has been involved in unnamed naughty escapades for which he feels the need to atone. Uncle Jimmy delivers to Koen a warrior’s club, a waddy, which he reluctantly accepts before Uncle Jimmy disappears to try and set other shenanigans right, before getting himself taken out. Uncle Jimmy passes on the power of the Cleverman to his chosen Koen rather than his older brother who assumed he was next in the succession line, and oh, does that make waves. At least Koen gets granted power right when he needs a torn-finger restoration.

How these things – the Cleverman succession line, the war between humans and Hairies, even The Dreaming creatures you just know are coming – all relate to each other inside the series, we will have to wait to see because, right now, it’s kind of a slow burn. Trying to keep the futuristic dystopian vibe while still having things like magic, shapeshifters, and fairies involved isn’t impossible, but it’s a tall order for only six episodes of the first season. After a very positive opening night, Cleverman gained an order for a second season, much to fan delight. The makeup for the show is brought to you by Jake Nash, production designer for Australia’s leading Aboriginal dance company Bangarra, and by the good folks at Weta Workshop, who brought us Lord of the Rings and Avatar, among many other astounding visuals.

Cleverman can be howled at on Wednesdays, on SundanceTV @ 10:00 p.m./9:00 p.m., Central!

‘Legends of Tomorrow’ S1 Finale: A Timemaster is Never Late!

by Agent Alicia Glass (a.k.a. Pandora the Punctuation Horror)

Spoilers everywhere!

Well, now. Given the events of the previous episode, particularly what happened to our beloved Snart, Captain Hunter has decided to take all our Legends home, back to 2016. The thing is, it’s May 2016, not January, when they officially left the first time. And once again, Captain Hunter has taken it upon himself to what he believes just has to be the right thing, without consulting anyone else on the team, and our Legends are understandably upset.

Those of us who keep up with all the CW DC shows (Arrow, Flash, and, soon, Supergirl) remember that the Black Canary left us recently. Sara didn’t know that though, and she is justifiably devastated. Meanwhile, Rory is trying to go back to his old life with a new partner, and of course that isn’t working, either. Ray coming to save Rory and become his new partner is one of the most unlikely things to happen in this universe, but then again, perhaps not. Harken back to the Russian gulag episode, and we see a strange understanding begin to develop between “Haircut,” as Rory calls Ray, and Heatwave. Stein and his wife are trying to rebuild and of course our silver fox is restless, and Jax just can’t let the mission to stop Vandal Savage die, either. If nothing else, Carter and Kendra still need to be saved; bring the Waverider back here, right now!

So where, or rather when and where, the hell is Kendra anyway? Someplace called Saint Lo, France, in 1944, apparently. Some helmeted skullduggery (how did she know how to do that again?) allows our hunting Legends to figure out the answer to both questions, and off the ship goes to catch our wayward Hawk folk!

Okie doke, so now it’s time for some background, if you haven’t been paying attention to the major background plots of Legends of Tomorrow. Way back when, in ancient Egyptian times when all this stuff with Savage and our Hawk folk popped off, the Thanagarians sent three meteorites with alien technology to earth. Combined with the blood of Carter and Kendra, Savage is going to take these three meteorites he’s been chasing all over time and literally re-write time itself, according to his wishes. The Thanagarians and the Hawk people have a long and rich history in the DC-verse, so introducing this depth of a storyline is actually quite cool.

Sara Lance is perhaps the finest female character on the show, and to see her literally begging Captain Hunter to go back and save her sister is truly heartbreaking. Why can’t Hunter go back just a few measly months and help Sara save Laurel? Some muckity-muck about timelines and alternate multiple deaths, which is kind of the show’s way of saying, “Her death is now canon in the Arrow-verse and there really isn’t anything we can do about it.” I had kind of hoped for a better thought-out explanation, but hey, we recall along with Sara that Laurel was the one who convinced Sara to go serve and save as the White Canary, so perhaps that’s the encouragement she needs to never, ever give up fighting.

Dude, lookit, we now have a plan! Three plans, to be precise. Somehow, yet another thing that wasn’t explained too clearly, but who cares: Vandal Savage is able to be three places at once, crossing his own timeline. (I bet Sam Beckett could tell Savage that was never a good idea.) And he’s after the three Thanagarian meteorites, armed with Hawk folk blood, for the timeline re-write ritual too! In 1958, according to Stein, there was a rare alignment of the Earth with Thanagar, so, of course, one Savage will be there/then. The ATOM and Heatwave are waiting in hiding for their turn to heat things up! St. Roch in 2021 finds current-Savage with Kendra, preparing for the ritual, while Captain Hunter and a newly-resolved and becostumed Carter anxiously await much asskickery! And in Norway in 1975, while Sara is dealing with thugs and a nuclear bomb, Jax and Stein wait to take people out as Firestorm!

This really is the ultimate climax scene of the entire season of Legends of Tomorrow, where, in unlikely pairs, our Legends all simultaneously take out a different Vandal Savage and stop alien armageddon! Kendra bursts her bonds with a mighty flap of her wings as Carter is downed and sets upon Vandal Savage with the fury of four thousand years of deaths, persecution, and lies! Sara Lance in her leather whites besets another Vandal Savage with the quip, “A Timemaster is never late,” and proceeds to kick his ass up, down, and sideways! Wait, did she just say that, about herself? Ooh. Layers. The ATOM is dealing with flying monkey monsters while Heatwave just puts the beatdown on the man who caused the death of his beloved partner, the other half of his sundered soul, we miss you already Leonard Snart. A savage neck-snap, a pillar of fire, and an intimate stab through the heart later, and the changed timeline bubble-ripples across the land, as Rip Hunter finally gets his revenge. But it’s not over yet!

Still got to deal with those damned meteorites, right? The ATOM shrinks one of em, no problem there. Firestorm freaking vaporizes another one, and with the help of the AI ship, all our Legends are back together for the final ball of destruction. But these other methods aren’t working anymore, so once again the Captain takes it upon himself to grab the death-ball with the Waverider and fly it into the sun! Of course this means the death of Captain Rip Hunter, the AI Gideon, and the ship Waverider, and we simply cannot have that. It’s time for some final soul-searching, for forgiveness, and ultimately, for some real responsibility taken for all these actions in the shows previous episodes. Leave it to the AI to say, “I’m not ready to die.”

Since the Chronoflow was pretty much destroyed, the Oculus doesn’t help any more, either. The Timemasters scattered to the winds and there’s no real police force against Vandal Savage (or any other DC villains) messing with the timelines; that is the new job of Captain Hunter and our Legends! Sara at Laurel’s graveside remembers her dear sister and takes on the new mission in her name. Stein gets a loving but firm push out the door from his wife, and Jax, because Firestorm is truly meant for changing things for the better. Poor Rory takes a farewell jaunt back to Central City in 2013, and — aw, my heart is melting — he went to meet Snart one last time. This is what we call a loving full-circle coming around, as Rory stumbles about telling Snart he’s a hero, the best guy Rory ever knew. We all saw Snart struggle and resist the heroic ideal while part of the crew of the Waverider, and yet he truly became one somehow, perhaps because he knew it was important. Not to the universe, or even to the other Legends, but to his best friend, the guy who had his back from when they were pickpocket-y pre-teens, his partner, his brother: Mick Rory.

So now, we’re finally back where we began, the team gathered in Star City, preparing to go off on the Waverider with Captain Rip Hunter! Well, everyone but Carter and Kendra, who want to make a go at a “normal life.” Being reincarnated Hawk peoples might make that kind of difficult, you just know they’ll show up again in season two. But wait! It’s another Waverider, piloted by — holy shit, it’s Rex Tyler, a member of the Justice Society of America!

Legends of Tomorrow has never shied away from bringing in relatively obscure but beloved DC characters, and this drop of Patrick J. Adams as Rex Tyler, also known as Hourman in the DC-verse, is no exception. There was Connor Hawke, a legacy of Green Arrow; world-destroyer Per Degaton; son of Deathstroke, called Ravager in the comics; even the redoubtable cowboy of the DC world, Jonah Hex. But this finale episode really stuck it to us eternal fans in the best way possible, by introducing the Justice Society of America for season two!

I enjoyed this series way more than I ever thought I would, and hope you-all have enjoyed running through it with me and fellow Agent Nur Hussein. While, yes, there may be some issues in translating the time travel twisty funnery to the audience in a believable way, that’s honestly not really what we’re here for. These characters and their enduring story of personal drama, idealistic morals and epic ass-kickery in the face of pure evil ensures that they really are legendary. We can’t wait to see what season two brings!

XXX

‘Houdini and Doyle’ Premiere: A Magician Never Reveals his Failings

by Agent Alicia Glass (a.k.a. Pandora the Punctuation Horror)

Set in (where else?) London of 1901, the latest Fox supernatural drama opus features a jaded Harry Houdini and a bedazzled Arthur Conan Doyle, teamed up to investigate Scotland yard murder mysteries with a mystical bent. So let’s get into this!

We all know who the title characters are, or we should at any rate. Harry Houdini (Michael Weston) is well-known as being, perhaps, the world’s greatest escape artist, magician, master illusionist, et al. And, of course, Doyle (Stephen Mangan) wrote the memorable Sherlock Holmes book mysteries, which are still in circulation, even today. But, as we meet these two men in this new show, both are having issues with the very things that made them famous and allowed them to become freelance investigators when the Yard comes up with a supernatural-laden murder mystery in a nunnery.

Houdini, at this point, does his escape-from-straight-jacket-watery-death bit every night of the week and twice on Sundays, allowing him to hobnob with the likes of Churchill and other (in)famous names, but it’s left him very jaded on the life of the glitterati.

Doyle on the other hand is almost infamous for his Holmes mysteries, mobbed by fans who, of course, want more mind-blowing mysteries solved, reviled by the police whose procedures his stories have mocked, when all he wants is to promote his newest book that has crap-all to do with Holmes.

So, Houdini doesn’t believe in anything supernatural. Being an illusionist as he is, he will not believe unless he can see it for himself. Harry will often gleefully wager large sums (for 1901) of money as to whether or not some phenomenon is real, to which Doyle, exasperatedly, occasionally gives in. Doyle, on the other hand — oddly despite his scientific leanings in his Holmes mysteries — is a believer who, for very personal reasons, desperately wants the supernatural and all its wonders to be real.

Upon hearing about a death in a nunnery where the girls are swearing it was a vengeful ghost, Houdini and Doyle present themselves as eager-beaver detective-types to the Yard and get the reluctant go-ahead, only to be saddled with an unwanted police presence. Neither man wants a constable on the job with them, never mind a female one, as Adelaide Stratton (Rebecca Liddiard) immediately finds out, much to her chagrin. Scotland Yard is slowly limping into this century, apparently, but putting a lady constable on the Houdini and Doyle case is just an insult and she’s just a glorified nanny, as the police chief roundly informs her when Stratton tries to gush her gratefulness at him.

Similar to Agent Carter, the struggle for any woman in a highly male-dominated society, especially a place like Scotland Yard in London 1901 — the concept isn’t completely far-fetched out of this world, but it’s only just inside the lines of credibility. Like Fox’s other attempt at “I suppose it’s possible,” on Sleepy Hollow, the show is attempting to cater to us women with a female presence supposedly in authority of sorts, struggling to show she can do much more than make and serve tea to these uppity men. Stratton’s presence on the show may do the series more harm than good — no offense to Liddiard’s performance — but the real challenge comes in writing an inoffensive, bumbling, but lovable female constable character for her to play.

This opening gambit case of murder in the washing nunnery seemed to be deliberately lacking details and wasn’t explained very well during the wrapup of the last few minutes of show. Once again, we have an instance of “It’s possible,” but I think the whole thing seemed rather like a knock-off of The Illusionist film. The show’s writers have all sorts of leeway to bring in many characters, both real and imaginary (imagine the ghost of Jack the Ripper or a real-life Dr. Jekyll, just for openers) for the murder mysteries and make them as far-fetched or believable as they want. But, trying to give the BBC folks a run for their money in this fashion seems about as likely as getting eel pie to catch on in America. The backgrounds, sets, costumes and inevitable CGI settings are all more or less fine, and they work for setting the stage, but the writing needs stepping up a few notches in order to ensure a return appearance for our newest odd couple detective pair of Houdini and Doyle!

Catch the magic and mystery of Houdini and Doyle on Fox, Mondays @9:00 p.m./8:00 p.m, Central!

https://youtu.be/4pSa3biSpbA

‘Sleepy Hollow’ Season 3 Finale: The Hidden One Should’ve Stayed Hidden

by Agent Alicia Glass (a.k.a. Pandora the Punctuation Horror)

Spoilers in the shadows!

Okay, hold up a minute here. You mean to tell me that Fox took a uniquely premised show with an established fanbase, and gambled on it? Did someone threaten to not renew the show for another season, and the Fox folk went, “Then we’ll go out swingin’!”? I’m leaning towards the second option, personally – it seems like the finale was deliberately made to generate fan response, for good or ill, perhaps to prove that Sleepy Hollow still has quite a fanbase to the people holding the axe. And I don’t mean the Headless Horseman from the show, though he does make a remarkable appearance in the finale.

So, it can be summed up fairly easily, if you’ve been paying attention – our Witnesses and their teammates, for they are several now, have to band together with freaking Pandora (Shannyn Sossamon) and her box, to take out her godly husband the Hidden One (Peter Mensah), the guy who’s been this season’s big bad. The wraparound story that is the whole Hidden One thing is a bit flimsy and mildly desperate. But these offshoot storylines you get from the wraparound, especially the ones involving National Treasure-like hunts led by Ichabod freaking Crane (Tom Mison) and his fearless sidekick Lieutenant Abby Mills, are what make the show unique and special, and I daresay still popular with the Fox viewing public. So nyah, nay-sayers.

We learned to care about Jennie Mills (Lyndie Greenwood) and Corbin’s son Joe (Zach Appelman), we saw Ichabod grow into a layer of skin here in the modern world, we even saw a rather fine bit of acting from Nicole Beharie as Abby Mills, when now-Agent Mills is sent to the catacombs of the underworld and lost for nearly a year. Denied food or rest, Mills made us believe we were there with her, even for a second, and that sold her PTSD when Crane and pals brought her back.

Far too often now, it’s Pandora just showing up — poof — whenever she feels like it, to make demands or commands, depending on the whim, usually concerning her infernal box. She unleashed the Hidden One on the world and now she’s waffling as to whether or not that really was the best idea. Pandora flits between reluctantly helping her demanding husband to meeting with the Witnesses in secret to plead for aid and back again. It gets mildly tedious after a while. The Hidden One can’t do his Armageddon on the world until he’s at full strength and that has something to do with an hourglass that accumulates power and yadda yadda. Neither Pandora nor the Hidden One compare to the mini storylines that show Betsy Ross (Nikki Reed) weaving her finest American flag ever, that has a hidden route in it to get to the underworld, or Joe fighting as the Wendigo, or even the startling return of the Mills sisters’ father, Ezra (James McDaniel).

So after all this funnery of trying to get the pieces of Pandora’s box finally back together, more of General Washington’s machinations against the supernatural that reach from the past into the fighting present and the threat of yet another evil god taking out the world with Sleepy Hollow as a base, Abbie Mills, the practical half of the Witnesses souls, chooses to offer her own life to stop the Hidden One. This actually happens, her voluntary real death that is, in the first half of the season three final episode, like in the first fifteen minutes, even.

A good deal of the rest of the episode is spent insisting that Abbie’s soul can be brought back, to somehow force Pandora into letting her out of that infernal box, and all will be set right with the world. Or will it? We’ve far-too-easily defeated the Hidden One and, of course, now have to deal with Pandora having far too much power to be left to run unchecked. This end scene where Pandora bites it is one of the few high spots of the episode, because Crane brilliantly brings in his old nemesis, the Headless Horseman, to do battle with Pandora, and it works.

After that, the rest of the episode is pathetically spent trying to accept the deaths of Joe Corbin and Abbie Mills, while their spirits hang out in the equivalent of a purgatory diner, so they both can get a last talk in with Corbin Sr. before moving on to whatever. *le sigh* The very end finds Ezra Mills giving Crane a new assignment in the graveyard, because of course General Washington was actually making a supernatural agency and intended Crane to run it, and of course Ezra Mills and Corbin Sr. were all part of it. Crane gets reassured that there will always be two Witnesses and that some offshoot of Abbie’s bloodline will inherit the Witness part of her soul, to be reborn again. And, right about then, some shady folk claiming to be the FBI show up and insist Crane come with them, to the closing strains of – what else? – “Sympathy for the Devil.”

There was an almost immediate fan displeasure reaction when the season finale came out and Sleepy Hollow still hasn’t been picked up for a fourth season, as yet. Nicole Beharie in particular received an outpouring of love for her portrayal of an incredibly strong black female character in a very different supernatural series. Everyone wants to know who the new Witness will be, if there will be one at all, and yes about Crane’s exciting new job as the head of the Sleepy Hollow Supernatural Agency, but to do it without Abbie? You may have just drowned your own shark. The people at Fox will have to come up with something extra special and unique for an already standalone show, for me to continue watching. We’ll miss you Abbie!

XXX

‘Legends of Tomorrow’ S1E11: Welcome to a Town Called Salvation

by Agent Alicia Glass (a.k.a. Pandora the Punctuation Horror)

Sharp-shootin’ spoilers a-comin’!

Ah, yes. Here we are hiding in the Old West, away from the Hunters the Time Masters sent after our Legends, and of course the town is called Salvation. Ray is immediately fan-boying the whole old west scene and Sarah wants to take a look around outside, so everyone gets ship-made, era-appropriate clothing and some pistols and away we go!

The entrance of our Legends in their various western-style getups with that slo-mo gangster walk and the heroic cowboy music into the town of Salvation is a hoot and a holler and looks fun and laughably ridiculous. Sarah and Rory immediately begin a drinking binge with alcohol that could take the paint off your walls, Stein surprisingly gets to gambling with Snart, and Kendra has an unexpected encounter in the saloon over (what else?) a disagreement on how to treat ladies, even saloon ladies. Next thing you know, Snart’s killed a bad guy and started a bar brawl. It’s the old west right? But things are almost immediately stopped by a smart figure in a very old uniform with a uniquely scarred face, the bounty hunter extraordinaire of the cowboy-inspired part of DC comics, Jonah Hex!

Of course, idiot Ray, with his penchant for modern history names like the highly original “John Wayne,” wants to save the town of Salvation from the tyranny of the Stillwater gang and insists the crew stay to do so. Never mind that Ray finds himself the new Sheriff and really has not a bit of experience with pistols,  he is good at planning and strategizing. So, when the Stillwater gang comes in for their first confrontation, they get an invitation to go packing from the carefully placed sharp-shooter Legends arranged about the town square!

Not a bit of this impresses Jonah Hex (Jonathon Schaech), however, who reminds our Legends that whenever they do decide to leave Salvation with the Stillwater gang matter unresolved, the same thing that happened to Calvert will happen here. What is Calvert, we ask? Gideon explains it was a town in Oklahoma a few years before their current time-location that was destroyed in the aftermath of a younger Rip Hunter and Jonah Hex feeling their oats and regrets. Yes, our Captain knew Jonah Hex from before; the show even implies that Hunter’s murdered son in the future, Jonas, is named in Hex’s honor.

Stein, meanwhile, is very taken with the kind woman with the dying son from the original bar brawl. He has the consumption, you see, and his mother wanted him to see the west and ride that stagecoach he always wanted to, before tuberculosis takes him down completely. Stein, with his large heart and science-y brain, absolutely refuses to sit by and let this happen, insisting on the Waverider synthesizing a cure as close to old western medicine as he can manage, and giving it to the boy.

Sarah and Kendra have gone off riding into the woods to go looking for the woman Kendra encountered at the saloon, who, of course, offers them a lead-lined greeting when they find her. Turns out, this older, hardened woman who lives bitterly alone is actually a former incarnation of Kendra herself, the aging Hawkgirl who endures in obscurity because in this time period, there isn’t any Carter to comfort her. She claims, in sorrow and regret, that Kendra will never love another person the way she loves Carter, that trying to love anyone else always ends in tears, that the two hawk folk are fated to be together forever and ever. Which, considering the original mission of our Legends bucking future fate and all, doesn’t go down well for Kendra.

So, the boys mistakenly went to go confront the Stillwater gang and end up with a bad guy in their med bay and down a teammate; Jax gets himself taken. Much arguing later, we’re going to have High Noon from Captain Hunter in town square and inevitably it’s not that simple – right about then is when the Hunters decide to show up, and main street of Salvation is suddenly filled with flying fire guys and laser beam future-pistol shots!

The showdown on main street is actually pretty cool. Hawkgirl is doing dive-bombs, Jax and Stein are fire-bombing their way up and down the street, Jonah Hex is firing the future pistol he borrowed from Captain Hunter, Ray’s in his A.T.O.M. suit doing damage, and the criminal twins and their assassin friend are shooting and stomping their way through the villains!

The Hunters just have to get in the last word before defeat, telling Rory that the Timemasters have sent the Pilgrim after our Legends, which can’t be good. Stein gets the most astonishing information when he goes to say goodbye to the young boy he saved from tuberculosis, who happens to not-so-coincidentally bear his father’s surname, Wells. Herbert George Wells, as a matter of fact. Absolutely adorkable. Sarah and Kendra are back from their walkabout, and it’s time to have a talk with Ray, sadly. And now it’s time for one final talk with everyone around the planning table, because the Timemasters have sent the Pilgrim, their deadliest assassin, into everyones previous timelines, to stop all our Legends from becoming thus long before they could do anything about it!

Catch DC’s Legends of Tomorrow Thursdays on the CW at 8:00 p.m./7:00 p.m., Central!

‘Agent Carter’ Season Two Finale: Is it Better to Go out With a Big Bang?

by Agent Alicia Glass (a.k.a. Pandora the Punctuation Horror)

So, we all remember Agent Carter and her wonderful Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. prequel show, right? Peggy runs around as an Agent of the SSR post-war intelligence, aided by Howard Stark, his butler Jarvis, and various and sundry other characters in a 1940’s-style wardrobe with enough moxie to out-do every single one of these men! This season, Agent Carter was sent to Los Angeles and finds herself embroiled in strange miraculous scientific doings, dark cabal murder plots, internal agency corruption and yet there’s still time for some epic slices of romance!

Originally Agent Carter, after showing up all her male counterparts right smartly as she often does in the New York SSR branch, went to L.A. in theory for some enforced vacation time. It turns out Agent Sousa, a kind of love interest from season one, is now Captain of the L.A. offices of the SSR, and of course, Peggy has to go visit him and find out what’s hopping here in California. Unsurprisingly, smart Stark butler and Jarvis of all trades, Edwin Jarvis (James D’Arcy), is out in L.A. keeping Howard Stark’s (Dominic Cooper) ridiculous house with his wife while Howard concerns himself with making movies. Peggy meets very smart scientist Jason Wilkes (Reggie Austin) while hot on the trail of murderers and something scientifically out of this world, called Zero Matter. Secret genius and sultry starlet Whitney Frost gets involved with the Zero Matter too, causing all sorts of ripples in the secret society world of her politician husband Calvin Chadwick (Currie Graham), and thug underworld boyfriend Joseph Manfredi (Ken Marino), too.

So, how does it all stack up against some of the admittedly best ever television series about superheroes, on-going right now? I adore you, Peggy Carter, I really do, but it just  doesn’t seem like enough. The expected popularity of the series was based on two things: the badassery of Agent Carter herself, and the prequel setting-up of S.H.I.E.L.D. back during the original Captain America times. And while Peggy is forever the epitome of togetherness with her smart dresses, perfect makeup and hair, always ready with a witty comeback whenever she’s slighted by her male coworkers, season two of Agent Carter proves, once again, that she simply cannot do it alone. Having Jarvis as a walking, talking helper (as opposed to the dis-embodied voice Tony Stark uses), like Watson to her Sherlock, is always a treat, and does provide a backward continuity of sorts. Jack Thompson (Chad Michael Murray), sent by various good and bad guys from New York to L.A. to keep an eye on whatever the hell Peggy’s up to, plays a good double agent, we’re never quite sure what he’ll respond with. As Ward clearly demonstrated on Agents of SHIELD, just because I help you once, that does not make me an actual good guy. And Daniel Sousa (Enver Gjokaj), well, he tried to make a life out here in the sun, with a pretty little nurse fiancé even, which went all to Hades just as soon as Peggy showed up.

So Whitney Frost is, aside from being your typical diva starlet, a super-secret scientific genius, and as soon as she learns about Zero Matter, oh, she is hot to trot for it and anything, and anyone, else connected to it! Dr. Wilkes manages to get himself infected with Zero Matter during a tussle, too, and now has a bit of a seriously lacking-weight problem. He also has a bit of a troubling attraction to Peggy, who does seem to reciprocate his interest, at least somewhat, but this introduces the unfortunate eggshells part of the show. To “walk on eggshells” basically implies tiptoeing very carefully around mentioning anything that could offend, entice, or otherwise anger other people, right? Well, the fact that Dr. Jason Wilkes is a handsome, intelligent scientist and a black man in 1940s America means his choices for employment are extremely limited, and he’s actually generally considered lower on any totem pole than even Peggy herself. But approaching that unpleasant truth in a superhero show would be tantamount to suicide, so Agent Carter touches this fact lightly, and only once or twice, nor does Peggy for even a moment consider his race a factor in her attraction to him.

And, it does have to be mentioned, they brought back perhaps the best villainess from the first season: Dottie Underwood! Rotting away in prison with her no-longer peroxide-blonde hair, our Peggy comes to spring Dottie because, well, she’s got a snatch-and-grab job that needs help and Dottie (Bridget Regan) is the perfect foil to Peggy’s armor!

The sets used are perfectly serviceable, standard Marvel tropes as far as fighting in abandoned tenement buildings or warehouses, and the show went to great pains to have age-appropriate cars and window shading. Season two even had a 1940s musical number featuring — what else — men, and some women too, fighting over Agent Carter! But it’s the costumes themselves, given to us by designer Gigi Ottobre-Melton, that really truly make Agent Carter seem like it sashayed out of the 1940s. The men’s suits are cut from the finest broadcloth, and the women’s dresses, patterns, and even colors are just to die for. No one wears it better than Hayley Atwell as Peggy Carter herself, and the sharp, bold coloring of what she wears makes her stand out nicely against the lighter and occasionally deliberate sepia tones of the surrounding show. Visually, the show is an absolute treat, there’s no question about that.

So will Agent Carter be saving the day, yet again, in season three? What will happen to Jarvis and Stark and company, now that they’ve opened (and hopefully closed) a dimensional portal on a movie studio lot? Will Peggy and Dottie finally sit down and have a Ladies’ Night that doesn’t involve fisticuffs together? What about that epic kiss that Peggy finally planted on Sousa? We’ll just have to hope for the best, but don’t forget to raise your voice and be heard in the desire to bring back Peggy’s iconic red fedora for a third round of epic feminine badassery!

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‘Legends of Tomorrow’ S1E7: What the Hell Is a Time Pirate?

by Agent Alicia Glass (a.k.a. Pandora the Punctuation Horror)

Here we are, a-floatin’ through space, trying to figure out when to go after Vandal Savage next, but needing a serious software update to the shipboard A.I., Gideon, in order to manage that. Captain Hunter is torturing himself with holographic visions of his past, while our Legends are going stir crazy. Rory and Snart are still sniping at each other over the events of the previous episode, Ray and Kendra are tippy-toeing around romantic entanglement, and everyone else is just really bored. Then comes a distress call from Captain Baxter of the Timeship Acheron, and our Legends are off to save the day!

We have to remember that Professor Stein is the manchild nerd for the sci-fi geek in all of us, and really, the Waverider hasn’t really gone through space yet: Only timestreams. So, while Stein waxes poetic about the stars and his time as a Space Ranger when he was a wee boy, we’re treated to further memories of Rip Hunter’s time at the Timemasters academy, where he trains with a love interest and fellow student, Miranda Koburn. It’s so cute how Rip responds to being overshadowed in the training simulation by his female counterpart with something like, “You beat me – that’s so hot,” and a makeout session that sadly, gets them into trouble. Timemaster romance of any kind is rather harshly discouraged, and young Rip and his Lady are about to be the equivalent of court-martialed.

Meanwhile back in the really-real world, the boarding party that went to check out the Acheron has been overrun with — say it with me — space pirates! Or rather, as Captain Hunter calls them, Time Pirates, led by Captain Valler (Callum Keith Rennie). Many of us did wonder, as we were watching the episode, how does a pirate plunder time? Are there tachyons to be stolen? Well, anyway, our Legends are here in space being harried by Time Pirates, which inevitably opens the cargo bay doors for every single last classic Sci-fi reference you can think of! Star Wars, of course, Jax probably got the best line for that one; Ray as Captain Palmer is so much better as a Sulu reference rather than trying to Shatner his way through Star Trek; the green lighting on the Acheron makes us think of the excellent atmosphere in Ridley Scott’s original Alien; Stein talked about being a Space Ranger when he was a kid, DC just broke the fourth wall; there’s even a cry of “Great Scott!” and we all know what beloved time travel epic that’s from! The commands, “Imperiex,” and “Kanjar Ro” are also names of space-based DC comics villains, just FYI. And it has to be included, Captain Hunter running around fighting time pirates in that coat reminded me very much of Captain Jack Harkness, doing his epic thing in Torchwood!

Much emphasis is placed on the deteriorating relationship between Rory and Snart, especially when Rory decides he’s had enough and attempts to make a deal with the Time Pirates. Snart has a few beautiful moments with Sara, first while they play cards to alleviate boredom and she has some almost-sympathy for the dwindling brotherhood, and then later when they’re both freezing to death (because nature’s vacuum runs on irony) and they exchange what death is really like and how Mick and Leonard met. The assassin and the thief, we adore them both and the show seems to have them swimming towards true friendship, if not an actual romance. I’m voting for a romance, even if it’s brief, because just imagine the shockwave reverberations through all the Legends once it’s over!

Eventually — we knew it was coming — our Legends overcame the Time Pirates, repaired both the Acheron and the Waverider, cleared Captain Hunter’s name as far as the snooty Timemasters reputation fuckery goes, and now we have to deal with internal issues. Our resident firebug, Heatwave, has just gone too far into the darkness, and our Legends meet around the table to discuss what to do now. Snart says he will handle it, and even makes an actual go at it, but can he really take out the sundered other half of his soul? As much emphasis as the show placed on love no matter what, I kind of doubt it. The preview for next week’s episode shows a few of our Legends off chasing Vandal Savage in 1950s Oregon and Kendra in an actual poodle skirt, so let’s pray for visions of a greaser Heatwave, or at least a Rory on ice for now!

Catch DC’s Legends of Tomorrow Thursdays on the CW at 8:00 p.m./7:00 p.m., Central!

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‘Legends of Tomorrow’ S1E6: Green Arrow forever!

by Agent Alicia Glass (a.k.a. Pandora the Punctuation Horror)

Oh, so many Spoilers! 

Welcome back, my fellow superhero lovers! When we last left our intrepid Legends, they had landed in a potential-future all but destroyed version of Star City in 2046. A masked black man wearing those iconic green leathers and shooting anything that moves with a wooden bow — who does not answer to “Oliver!” —  greets our bewildered Legends, while masked bad guys are shooting up the streets. Most everyone hurries back to the ship to repair it and the futuristic AI Gideon, while the criminal twins, our resident assassin Sarah, and Captain Hunter go out to hunt down a piece of tech from Smoak Industries.

Meanwhile, we have to have some sort of idiotic cute little dynamic going on between the folk who stayed behind on the ship to affect repairs. Jax has decided he has a thing for Kendra, and is struggling to put on his big-boy confidence pants and tell her. He needs to act fast because Ray is being his somewhat charming self and unknowingly moving in on some sweet hawk-goddess territory! Even Professor Stein notices the triangle and tries to help, in his singularly ineffective manner, by trying to steer Ray away from Kendra. Which of course backfires when Ray is like, hey yeah, I never thought of her that way, but now that you mention it … As we watch Jax headdesk.

Out on the city streets, the eternal killing has resumed and our Legends have to duck and cover. Of course, Sarah is determined to help when she sees Green Arrow 2.0 take a fall and Captain Hunter goes with her while the criminal twins Rory and Snart end up “you keep what you kill”-ing to a street gang and head off for their very own criminal kingdom! Sarah and Rip, now joined by a fabulous Joseph David-Jones as Connor Hawke, have a nice little confrontation with Deathstroke! Or actually, it’s Deathstroke Jr., Jamie Andrew Cutler as Grant Wilson, called Ravager in the comics. Now it’s off to where Ollie’s former Arrow lair was, for several hard truths and revelations, and hopefully, that piece of Felicity tech they’re looking for.

Connor told them all that Oliver Queen was dead, that he disappeared during the Uprising of Deathstroke Jr.’s troops that decimated the city, so to find a very aged and bitter and decidedly one-arm-less Oliver still hiding in the mothballed lair is certainly news to Connor. He and 50-something bearded and grizzled Oliver have a rather biting exchange, wherein Ollie reveals who Connor Hawke really is: get a load of it, Arrow fans, in this particular version of the DC-verse, Connor Hawke is John Diggle, Jr.! In the comic books, Connor Hawke is the son of Oliver Queen, but this version totally works for me.

And then there’s the makeup used for the aged and bitter Oliver Queen, I’m not talking about that amazing Smoak Industries prosthetic arm either! The show producers had actually been contemplating bringing in a whole new actor to play 50-something Green Arrow, but the more they thought about it, they just decided to take the big risk of aged makeup on Arrow Queen actor Stephen Amell. And holy crow did it pay off! The makeup and iconic Earth-31 Green Arrow look is so well captured here, it looks like they had some of their best winners from Face Off (yes, I am a fan of that show, too!) do the job.

Rory meanwhile has decided that he’s very happy as King in the Mad Max version of Star City and wants to stay. Snart, of course, is unamused, though whether it’s because this isn’t what he had in mind or because Rory is trying to think for himself, it’s hard to say. The criminal partners have the very best dynamic, and conversations, of the entire episode. Rory and Snart are the epitome of the criminal duo, the brains and the brawn, the two men not blood-related but who understood each other so well that they chose to team up better than brothers. But now, the epic dynamic between the two of them is actually breaking down because, as Rory not-so-stupidly points out, Snart has begun to desire to be an actual hero and save the world. Whereas, as Snart almost lovingly responds, Rory just wants to watch the world burn, and you know, be King of whatever wastelands are left. As much as the post-apocalyptic Star City may be horrible for Sarah, as much as we the audience might disapprove of such a thing, we all have to admit that “home” means very different things to different people, and this seems to be Rory’s version of it.

So yes Captain Hunter got the Smoak tech piece they needed and sent it over to help fix the ship, but he doesn’t seem very interested in helping the last few heroes left save what’s left of Star City. He’s of the opinion that since this is only a potential future, there’s no point in trying to save anything and even interfere, which of course doesn’t sit well with Sarah at all. Most of our Legends actually completely agree with Sarah and lodge a protest to Captain Hunter, while Sarah goes off on her lonesome to recruit Oliver Queen to go rescue Connor Hawke! Because the city always needs a Green Arrow!

Ultimately, this is all kinds of an epic Arrow episode for fans of all ages! Though Grant Wilson accuses Connor Hawke of simply being a hack in a Halloween costume during his would-be execution scene, and even with Sarah and Ollie and the rest of the Legends showing up for an assist, Diggle Jr. proves he can do honor to those green leathers and bow just fine, thank you. As Ollie proudly proclaims him, even though they can’t seem to agree on what name to call Connor, whatever he calls himself, it is always and forever Green Arrow. This proves that the legacy of our Legends is ongoing and that all potential futures are worth fighting for!

Catch DC’s Legends of Tomorrow Thursdays on the CW at 8:00 p.m./7:00 p.m., Central!

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