‘Legends of Tomorrow’ S1E15: The Beginning of the End

by Agent Nur Hussein (a.k.a. The Robot Whisperer)

Before the end, we go back to the beginning.

We start with a flashback to when Rip Hunter first attempts to recruit the team back in 2016 … and what happens afterward. Last episode, Professor Stein sent Jax back in time to 2016 to cure his accelerated aging issues, and when he lands, he seeks out the Professor Stein of 2016, who had not left yet. It reminds me a bit of Marty McFly meeting an earlier version of Doc Brown, and like Marty, Jax needs to get back … to the future!

In the future, Rip, Ray, Kendra, Carter, and Rory have been taken prisoner by the Time Masters, who are in league with Vandal Savage himself. Sara and Snart are the only ones who manage to evade capture by hiding in a floor compartment panel of their ship, just like Han Solo. Aboard the Waverider, Sara and Snart ponder what to do, and Snart has a crisis of faith and decides the best bet is to just run and leave the team behind. Sara, however, was having none of it and they have a standoff. Luckily, Gideon intervenes just in time with a plan.

Meanwhile, at the Vanishing Point prison, Rip has been shown a vision of the past and future by the Time Masters, using a device called the Oculus that not only sees the past and future, but lets them control the timestream too. Everything that’s happened so far, including the murder of Rip’s family by Randal Savage, was plotted out in advance by the Time Masters using the Oculus. They needed Savage to unite the world against an invasion from the Thanagarians, a future scenario they see in their digital crystal ball.

Jax, back in 2016, gets Professor Stein to help him jump back to the distant future. Sara and Snart decide to free their captive teammates. They hatch a plan to destroy the Oculus, and regain their free will. In the end, a sacrifice must be made. I won’t tell you how it goes, but it’s one of the most pulse-pounding episodes of the series, so far.

Tonight, we reach the electrifying finale. Don’t miss it!

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‘Legends of Tomorrow’ S1E13: Everything Is Better With Giant Robots

by Agent Nur Hussein (a.k.a. The Robot Whisperer)

Out of time and out of luck, the crew of the Waverider have no choice but to find Vandal Savage at the one place and time they know he’ll be; in London in 2166, three days before he murders Captain Hunter’s wife and child.

In this post-apocalyptic future, we see Vandal Savage already ruling what’s left of the world, after the Armageddon Virus wiped out billions of people. The team sneaks into a rally where Savage is speaking in front of his jack-booted troops. At the end, they all raise one arm to salute him, because if there’s a shorthand for evil, it’s Nazi imagery.

Among Savage’s followers is a mysterious woman who happens to be wearing a bracelet that used to belong to Kendra’s Egyptian self when she was first murdered by Savage. Any object that was present when Kendra died can be used to kill Savage, so it’s up to the team to steal the bracelet from the woman. It turns out, the woman is Cassandra Savage, Vandal Savage’s daughter. After a disastrous first attempt at attacking Vandal Savage after his rally, the team regroups and encounters the small band of people opposing Savage, a ragtag group of refugees and rebels.

Kendra tells the team she needs that bracelet, so Snart and Rory manage to steal it … by abducting its owner, Cassandra Savage! They are remarkably efficient in this, and Cassandra ends up a prisoner aboard the Waverider. Kendra finds out how weaponize a bracelet as they reach a showdown with Savage, perhaps maybe even the last one? On the Waverider, Snart slyly gets Cassandra to give up the evil side and join the good guys.

Meanhile, Ray fights one of Savage’s weapons, a giant robot. He himself turns into a giant, using his Atom tech with some techno-babble. It’s moments like that that make this show worth watching. We’re nearing the end, so keep watching!

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‘Legends of Tomorrow’ S1E12: Hot Pilgrim Versus The World

by Agent Nur Hussein (a.k.a. The Robot Whisperer)

Spoilers ahead!

Remember the ethical conundrum of going back in time and killing baby Hitler? Well, it’s an ethical dilemma for good guys. But what if bad guys had the power to go back in time and kill their enemies as babies, wouldn’t they be doing that all the time? We explore that theme in the latest episode of Legends of Tomorrow.

Last episode, we were ominously introduced to The Pilgrim, a rather sexy-but-evil time-traveling assassin the Time Masters employ to eliminate troublesome people when they were defenseless children, because the Time Masters are jerks. She has a cool black coat, so I’m giving her points for style, even if she is a meanie. We first see her in the introduction, going back in time, presumably to baby-murder a man judged to be guilty of “time piracy in the first degree” (seriously, what IS that?) by the Time Masters. We don’t see her do it, but we do see him writhe in pain and disappear from reality in a puff in the future. Nasty.

Then, the Time Masters give her a hit list of our favorite heroes, except Kendra (who can reincarnate) and Captain Hunter (who is too important to the timestream to be removed from history). The first person who gets attacked is Rory, during a fire at his home when he was a child (that litle pyromaniac). Teen Rory is saved by Ray, and then is abducted onto the Waverider. Next on the list is Sara, who was also targeted as a teenager, but also saved, by her future self, and put on the Waverider. At that point, the team decides to be pro-active and abduct all of their selves as babies to ensure the Pilgrim never has a chance to target any of them. They are successful at this, and watching the Pilgrim fail over and over at killing makes her seem less badass than she was made out to be.

Still, the point of the episode wasn’t so much the confrontation with the Pilgrim; it’s the characters confronting people from their pasts (including their younger selves). Time travelers get a unique opportunity to make peace with their past demons, and to fix past regrets. For Jax, it was getting a chance to talk to a father he never knew, because he was killed in action right after Jax was born. For Rory, it was to tell his younger self that burning down the house was a dumb thing to do, but he was just a kid. And finally, putting all these kids in a safe place was Rip Hunter, whose younger self and foster mother we also meet. We then learn young Rip isn’t as helpless as we thought he was, and shines a new light on his character.

I expected more of a Terminator-like episode (the movie is even quoted by Ray), where our heroes have to stop a relentless and efficient time-traveling killer, but they only got the relentless part right: The Pilgrim isn’t at all efficient. The episode, however, wasn’t about her, it was about the main characters. We get to know them a bit more, and thus we love them a bit more.

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‘Legends of Tomorrow’ S1E9: It’s All Fun and Games till Someone Loses a Hand

by Agent Nur Hussein (a.k.a. The Robot Whisperer)

Spoilers ahead!

Chronos has attacked the Waverider, and it’s disappeared through time! Sarah, Kendra, and Ray arrive at the ship, but do not get to board it before it winks out of time after Chronos kidnaps Snart — curiously, just him. The Waverider spirals out of control in the time warp, as it was sabotaged by Chronos, and it’s going to be a bumpy ride through time before Captain Hunter can stabilize the ship and find their friends again.

Meanwhile, as Captain Hunter and the remaining crewmembers try and regain control of the ship, Sarah, Kendra and Ray wait in vain for the return of their comrades. Ray proposes that they only need to wait a few minutes for their friends to arrive, because they have a time machine and can land precisely when they left. When the Waverider doesn’t arrive, Sara is the first to suggest the crew is dead and they need to just live out the rest of their days in the ’50s. The trio rent an apartment in Hub City, and though Ray continues to try and contact the Waverider via homemade homing beacons, a frustrated Sara gives up and heads off to join the League of Assassins.

Two years later, Ray is a professor and Kendra is a librarian, and they’ve built a life together as a happy couple. Just as Ray was about to propose to Kendra after a romantic picnic, the Waverider shows up again to rescue them, homing in on Ray’s beacon. Kendra is estatic but Ray isn’t happy, as he is quite fond of his new life. However, there are more pressing issues at hand; they need to find Sara. Luckily, the Waverider computer has records of the names of every single member of the League of Assassins since the invention of writing. Gideon pulls up a list of names and dates written in Arabic. The computer finds a record of “Ta-er Al-Sahfer” which was Sara’s name in the League. As an aside, the entry indicated on the computer is just a random jumble of disconnected Arabic letters (real Arabic words are written by connecting the letters) and it doesn’t even remotely spell “Ta-er Al-Sahfer,” although the date 1958 is written correctly in Arabic numerals. Honestly, they couldn’t afford a language consultant?

So, now the team has to go get Sara back from the League of Assassins: Right in the secret base of Ra’s Al-Ghul! They set a course for Nanda Parbat and sneak into Ra’s Al-Ghul’s palace, only to find Sara totally devoted to the cause and getting her friends captured. The penalty for trespassing is execution, and Sara doesn’t seem to care at all. Captain Hunter says being stranded in a foreign time causes one’s mind to go astray, and it’s up to the team to get her to snap out of it before it all ends badly.

On the Waverider, Snart finds himself being confronted by Chronos, and a shocking revelation awaits him as he sits bound by handcuffs to a metal railing. Chronos tracks the rest of the team to Tibet, and when he leaves Snart on the ship to capture them, Snart frees himself by grabbing his nearby freeze gun, freezing his hand and actually shattering it to pieces! That’s brave, buddy, but couldn’t you have frozen the railing instead?

The final confrontation is one epic showdown in the lair of Ra’s Al-Ghul, and it’s our team versus ninjas versus Chronos, and by the end of the episode the show’s characters have a brand new dynamic. We’ll see where that goes in the following weeks. Stay tuned!

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‘Legends of Tomorrow’ S1E8: Tyrants Make the Best Tuna Casserole

by Agent Nur Hussein (a.k.a. The Robot Whisperer)

Spoilers ahead!

In a small town called Harmony Falls in 1958, four teenagers race their hot rods down a deserted forest road, as 1950s teens are wont to do, at least according to pop culture. After one of their cars crash, they happen to come across a mysterious glowing meteor; and Vandal Savage right beside it!

And, thus, we join our team of plucky heroes, now without Mick Rory, arriving in 1958. We aren’t shown Rory’s fate from the previous episode, we are meant to think Snart killed him, so the team is somewhat upset by this. However, their goal is finding Savage, whom their intel predicts is in the neighborhood. They put together an undercover team, consisting of a pretend-married couple of Ray and Kendra, who actually have a budding relationship going on.

Ray and Kendra rent a house in town, and their (fake) marriage front starts offending the bigoted small town residents who don’t like the idea of an interracial couple. As a cover, it’s pretty terrible; they draw attention to themselves and Savage would recognize Kendra the minute he saw her, so I’m not sure who thought that would be a good idea. And, by sheer coincidence, Savage lives just across the road from their new rented home, and even brings a housewarming gift of tuna casserole. Awkward. Does Savage recognize Kendra? He isn’t really letting on, and they continue their little charades.

Meanwhile, Jax, Stein, and Sara go about town to investigate the murders and disapperances of locals. Stein and Sara go undercover in a mental hospital as a doctor and a nurse, while Jax plays a new kid in town. Before long, in another totally unconvincing coincidence, they happen across one of the racing teens from the cold open. She is the girlfriend of the boy whose car crashed. Jax decides to flirt with her, a white girl, and raises more eyebrows in the small town.

Snart and Hunter also go undercover in town, dressed as government spooks, asking local law enforcement for the case files on local missing people. Their efforts all lead to Vandal Savage; he works at the mental hospital Stein and Sara had infiltrated, performing experiments on the inmates in a mysterious wing. The experiments turn out to be people who have been turned into bird monsters, using the power of the meteorite. The monsters are genuinely creepy, and this part of the episode plays out very well, thanks in part to this installment being directed by Joe Dante of Gremlins fame.

It all leads to yet another failed showdown with Savage in the end, since you can’t kill the big bad without ending the series. Throughout the episode, we are presented with ’50s small town America through the eyes of our heroes, who have 2016 sensibilities. There is a small subplot of Sara and one of the female nurses in the hospital falling for each other, and this was a no-no back in 1958. The episode often not-too-subtly addresses the sexism, racism, and homophobia of the era, providing a commentary on how far we’ve come (and yet, these problems still persist today).

Although they fail to kill Savage, our heroes did learn a thing or two about teamwork and about themselves. That cliffhanger at the end though, will half the team be stranded in 1958? We await next week’s episode to find out!

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‘Legends of Tomorrow’ S1E4: Hot Pursuit in a Cold War

by Agent Nur Hussein (a.k.a. The Robot Whisperer)

Spoilers ahead!

Our heroes have jumped through time yet again, this time to 1986. The information they need to find Vandal Savage lies in the Pentagon, which they must break into to recover. They fabricate disguises for the team, and with some clever keycard (and wallet) swiping from Snart, Sara and Kendra attempt to sneak into the records room while Rory provides a distraction in the form of an arm-wrestling match — which seems unconvincing as a distraction really; I’d imagine the Pentagon isn’t like an army barracks with everyone off-duty. Firestorm was supposed to cut the power to let Sara and Kendra escape, but after he screws up, the alarms are triggered and the ladies have to karate their way out, as usual. However, Kendra goes full winged-psycho, murder-angel and tries to rip off a man’s face. Firestorm pulls her away and flies back to the ship, and the others retreat as well.

Back on the ship, the team fights … again. Professor Stein blames Jax, and Sara blames Kendra, saying, “Everything would’ve been fine if big bird over here hadn’t freaked out.” Captain Hunter tries to control his team like a stressed-out high school principal who’s sick of his job. The team, as usual, isn’t functioning very well, yet. I laughed at “big bird” though. I like Sara. She’s funny.

The good news is, they did get the file they needed, and the intel points to the Soviet Union; Vandal Savage is building a weapon there. Using their timeship to fly unseen to the USSR, Captain Hunter finds that he is being tracked by Chronos in another invisible timeship. After a very fun aerial battle which involves cloaking tricks, a Soviet MIG-21, and a Top Gun quote, Captain Hunter loses his pursuers, but crash lands the ship. Miraculously, the ship survives, as well as its entire crew. The Pentagon file on Savage indicates that he’s working on a “Project Svarog,” and employs a Soviet scientist named Valentina Vostok to build his weapon. The intelligence file on Vostok shows she’s a fan of the ballet; Snart and Ray try to charm their way into getting information on where she works from her by intercepting her at a show. Although Ray tries his best to get acquainted with Vostok, it’s Snart who manages to steal her attention (and her keycard, along with her wallet).

Meanwhile, Captain Hunter finds that he hasn’t lost the Time Masters after all, and they offer him a deal of amnesty … or do they? There’s a side plot where Captain Hunter and the gang meet the Time Masters in the woods, and Hunter contemplates just giving up his quest. Luckily, it turns out pretty quickly to be a bogus offer, and they have a showdown with the Time Masters. They succeed in escaping, but Jax is injured in the battle. Jax recovers in the med bay while Sara and Kendra train fighting each other to control their violent impulses. The rest of the gang focus on the mission: to break into Vostok’s lab and find out what they’re working on. Snart, Rory, Ray, and Professor Stein sneak inside using Vostok’s keycard, and find that Vandal Savage is trying to recreate the technology used by Professor Stein to create Firestorm. Since Jax is sitting out the mission, it is up to Professor Stein to steal the technology before the Soviets can make a breakthrough. However, it all goes wrong yet again, as Professor Stein, Ray, and Rory are taken captive and only Snart escapes, albeit with the tech.

The episode ends with Stein thrown into a gulag, and forced to complete the research while the others are being kept alive as leverage. What will Captain Hunter and the rest of the team do to rescue them? Find out next week, as this week ends with a cliffhanger!

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‘Legends of Tomorrow’ S1E2: Love, Weed, and Nuclear Weapons

by Agent Nur Hussein (a.k.a. The Robot Whisperer)

Despite being a fan of superhero comics-related shows, I’ve never gotten into the Arrow-verse. When I heard of the CW’s take on Green Arrow, having already been bored by Smallville‘s long-winded run, I decided to pass on it. However, the universe of Arrow expanded to include other DC characters, including the Flash who got his own spinoff show, I began to regret not following it from the beginning. Since Legends of Tomorrow started, I was encouraged by my colleague Pandora to check it out, and so I did and I was hooked. Don’t get me wrong, this show is cheesy as heck, but it’s the fun kind of cheesy I can get behind.

When we last left our heroes, they were in 1975 and Professor Aldus Boardman had just died on board Captain Hunter’s timeship, but not before giving some clues on the whereabouts of their arch-nemesis Vandal Savage. Turns out Savage is about to sell nukes to international criminals at an international criminal weapons auction (that’s a thing, apparently). A haphazard team of Mick Rory (Heat Wave), Leonard Snart (Captain Cold), Professor Martin Stein, Ray Palmer (the Atom), and Sara Lance (White Canary), decide to go after Savage, despite Captain Hunter’s protestations that they should do things his way. They infiltrate the auction only to blow their cover, get into a fight with all the bad guys, and with Carter Hall (Hawkman), Kendra Saunders (Hawkgirl) and Jax Jackson joining the fray and having to stop a nuclear explosion that Savage tried to set off as he made his escape. To make things worse, some bits of Atom’s suit broke off in the battle, and found their way into the hands of Savage.

Back at the ship, Captain Hunter is pissed, and rightfully so; the tech that found its way into Savage’s hands will be reverse-engineered to create deadly weapons which wipe out Central City in the future. However, the future isn’t set in stone yet: just in some “wet cement,” as Captain Hunter puts it. They still have time to put things right before Vandal Savage goes all Biff Tannen with his proverbial sports almanac.

To get the piece back, Palmer suggests they use an alpha-particle tracker to find his tech. They don’t have an alpha-particle tracker, but Professor Stein suggests they steal one from a younger version of himself in 1975. In real life, alpha particles are just high-energy bundles of two protons and two neutrons, identical to a Helium nucleus, created from any source of alpha decay. Therefore an “alpha particle tracker” is just a fancy Geiger counter; perhaps Professor Stein’s device works from long distances, hence the novelty. Anyway, you have to give the hokey “science” a handwave here, as this show is as comic book-y as they come. The stealing of the alpha particle tracker lends us some funny scenes where Sara flirts with the younger Professor Stein, much to his chagrin, and they all find out what a smug, pot-smoking asshole he was when he was younger.

Meanwhile, in the Hall of Justice Time Ship, Carter and Kendra do their sexy mind-meld thing to uncover knowledge from their past lives about how to kill the immortal Vandal Savage. Turns out there’s an ancient dagger that can do it, and it happens to belong to some rich Russian dude, and Captain Cold and Heat Wave volunteer to steal it. Palmer tags along, and they break into the Russian dude’s house, only for it to go all wrong again when the alarms are triggered and the “Russian dude” turns out to be Vandal Savage (what a coincidence).

After a showdown at the end, Savage escapes, but not all of the team members survive; the goofy, rag-tag team at odds with one another are suddenly brought together solemnly as they process this. They decide to stick together as a team as they join up Captain Hunter’s cause in earnest.

The premise of this show is fun enough for me to stick around and watch how it goes; a team of second-string superheroes travel through time to fight crime, that’s kind of a unique combo we haven’t quite seen before on television on a comic book show. Stay tuned for more hijinks and DC comics cameos in the weeks to come!

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TV Review: ‘Doctor Who’ Christmas Special 2015, ‘The Husbands of River Song’

by Agent Nur Hussein (a.k.a. The Robot Whisperer)

The Doctor and River Song are back together this Christmas, on what could possibly be their last adventure (or maybe not, this is Doctor Who). If you missed the episode and are waiting to catch up, what lies ahead are, as River would say, spoilers.

The Doctor is just chilling on the human colony of Mendorax Dellora in the year 5343, and it’s Christmas day. Actually, he’s in his box, sulking and being a scrooge, when a pudgy man knocks on his door looking for a surgeon. The Doctor, perhaps bored, perhaps wanting to get away from carollers, decide to investigate and thus pretends to be a surgeon, and tags along. He follows the pudgy guy to a red flying saucer, and out steps River Song, except she doesn’t know who he is at all!

River has only known his twelve incarnations, and did not expect a thirteenth. The Doctor tries to tell her, but she doesn’t really listen to the poor Doctor. In her mind, she knows all his faces, and when the Doctor suggested maybe he could have regenerated past 12 faces, she smiles dryly and says, “he has limits.”

The reason a surgeon was needed aboard River’s flying saucer? The ship belongs to a genocidal tyrant that River married, and there is a diamond lodged in his brain that she wants (but doesn’t care for the rest of him). The genocidal tyrant’s head is attached to a robotic body, and when River steals his head (for the diamond) and runs for it with the Doctor, hijinks ensue. For most of the episode, she doesn’t know the Doctor is right in front of her, and reveals things she probably wouldn’t want to tell him. All of this is played for laughs, including a scene where River enters the TARDIS with her own key, and the Doctor pretends to be impressed (He says, “Finally, it’s my go!”)

By the end of the episode, when River finally finds out the truth, we get a beautiful and heartfelt scene between them and we are left without a doubt that the Doctor truly loved River. The episode ends with the couple having their last date at the Singing Towers of Darillium, as we learn this is just before she meets him one last time (from her point of view), the encounter we saw with David Tennant’s Doctor in “Silence In The Library.”

We’ve always wanted to see the Singing Towers and their goodbye, ever since we heard about it during the first time we (and the Doctor) saw River, and this episode delivers and pulls on the heartstrings.

This is a wonderful Christmas episode, to tide us over till we meet the Doctor again next year.

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Movie Review: ‘Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens’

by Agent Nur Hussein (a.k.a. The Robot Whisperer)

Are you a Star Wars fan?

Go see Star Wars: The Force Awakens, right now. Drop whatever you’re doing and go right now. It is essential that you go in the movie knowing nothing about it, other than this fact:

This is the Star Wars you’re looking for.

It is brilliant, not just visually or plot-wise, but it also packs an emotional wallop. Some of our beloved characters return. We fall in love with all the brand new ones, too. Spaceships race across the screen, roll and flip in space and through the skies of distant planets. The Millennium Falcon roars. TIE fighters scream. The Star Wars you remembered, the one you missed, is back.

There are no spoilers in this review, I am going to talk about it in the broadest of strokes possible. Still, you really shouldn’t even be reading this, just stop and go see it.

Still with me? Do you still need some convincing? Did the prequels let you down?

Okay then.

The thing that made the classic trilogy great wasn’t really the fantastic visuals or the special effects, although that was icing on the cake. The classic trilogy was great because it had heart. It had characters we could root for and relate to. The space war was epic but the characters and their interpersonal conflicts kept it grounded despite the fantastic things that were happening around them. George Lucas lost sight of this when he made the prequels, and decided to concentrate on spectacle. In The Force Awakens, director J.J. Abrams delivers the spectacle in droves, but he never loses sight of the characters. As a result, as soon as we’re introduced to the new heroes and villains, we love the good guys instantly, and the bad guys repluse us with their evil and cruelty. The story of Star Wars was always good against evil, and while there isn’t a lot of subtlety here, a back-to-basics approach definitely helps the narrative this time around.

To write a story with a punch is no mean feat, and joining Abrams for screenwriting duties are Michael Arndt and Lawrence Kasdan, the latter being the person who originally wrote The Empire Strikes Back, regarded by fans as the best in the series. However, the movie doesn’t (just) ride on the coat-tails of nostalgia. It builds a mythology of its own; as mysteries are revealed, more questions pop up, and the cluttered galaxy we’ve got to know from the original Star Wars movies, prequels, and countless (now non-canonical) spin off media has been pared down, yet contain new surprises of its own.

The production of this movie is utterly gorgeous. Abrams and company spared no expense, and the heavy use of practical effects pays off big time, as we feel pulled into the magical world of Star Wars, yet again. Most of the sets and creatures look like they belong in the physical realm, and interact with the actors in the real world, thus bringing out nuances in performances that were utterly missing in the prequels.

The returning cast members will make audiences cheer: It’s like meeting old friends again. Han Solo (Harrison Ford), Chewbacca (Peter Mayhew) and Leia Organa (Carrie Fisher) are the primary returning heroes, and we see they are now aged and battle-weary, yet still carry the same sparkle in their eyes as we remembered them from years ago. However, this movie belongs to the new generation of heroes; the new actors really, really shine. The film’s weight is carried on the three new leads: John Boyega as Finn, Daisy Ridley as Rey, and Oscar Isaacs as Poe Dameron. Boyega, Ridley and Isaacs all have their own unique wit and charm, the missing ingredient from the prequels that show up in spades here. Up to this point, Boyega and Ridley were obscure actors but this film may catapult them to superstardom (perhaps, boosting Isaacs’ visibility even more too).

If there is a fault to this movie, it’s that, in making a loving tribute to the original Star Wars trilogy (while also continuing it), there’s a certain lack of originality to it. Some story elements go from familiar to too-familiar; some key plot points have a somewhat derivative feel to them. However, the director and screenwriters make very bold choices too, and you are going to be at the edge of your seat throughout.

I give Star Wars: The Force Awakens four out of five stars, and it is quite possibly the best genre movie of the year.

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TV Review: ‘Doctor Who’ Series 9, Episode 12, ‘Hell Bent’

by Agent Nur Hussein (a.k.a. The Robot Whisperer)

Wow. What a finale that was! This entire series has been quite a step up from the previous Moffat-era episodes, which took a sharp turn downward sometime around series six. However, I think this series is redeemed with the run this year.

The Doctor, back on Gallifrey, and rather annoyed at the Time Lords for their part in Clara’s death, finds himself holed up back at his old shed. We see him face off a firing squad led by the Lord President Rassilon himself, who seems to have changed his face, and his mind (about destroying all of time), since he was Timothy Dalton. Since the Doctor saved Gallifrey and won the time war, no one wants to execute him, and thus commanding the following of his people, he banishes Rassilon and sets himself up in charge.

But, to what end? The Doctor claims to know what the prophecy of the “hybrid” is, and the Time Lords want that information from him. They want it so badly, they turned his own confession dial into a torture chamber to extract it from him, to no avail. Now, the Doctor claims only Clara Oswald can help him reveal this information, and extracts her with Time Lord technology, moments before her death.

Of course, this breaks all the rules of time. Clara is meant to die. However, the Doctor will have none of it, and openly revolts against the Time Lords, trying to drag Clara away through time once again. Of course, this isn’t possible … or is it? The Doctor hates goodbyes, but this is one goodbye he cannot avoid. We get to see him steal yet another TARDIS (his own is still stuck in London somewhere), and tries to run off with Clara and have adventures again. They run till the end of the universe, where they meet a familiar face …

The stakes and drama are high, and most of the emotional weight is carried by Peter Capaldi, with a brilliant performance of him tortured and desperate to save his friend. In the end, he has to say goodbye, but there’s a twist this time we didn’t see coming, and it’s a brilliant ending to what could have been yet another cliched goodbye.

It’s a brilliant way to top off a very good series, and Jenna Coleman departs the series with this episode. Until next time, when we see the Doctor and River Song reunited once more.

And thankfully, he has a sonic screwdriver again.

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