Thursday, November 30, 2017

Haters Back Off 1.04

Rod Trip With My Uncle

Uncle Jim tries to impress Miranda by promising her that he has booked a gig for her. He gets some help from Patrick in convincing Miranda that they are going (from Takoma) to Seattle (the big Attle) on a road trip. Uncle Jim tries desperately to book a gig without success. Just as he is about to give up they find themselves at a bar, a gay bar, and it is karaoke night.

Keith is still dating Bethany, Miranda's and Emily's mother. He seems to be attracted to Bethany because he thinks she is disabled. He encourages her to wear her neck braces and buys her a rascal. Emily thinks he's weird but then she warms to him when he asks her about her interests.

Not my absolute favorite episode but a very fun one. Miranda is funny but the other characters are too. I continue to love the wacky, awkward, desperate sense of humor at which this show excels.

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Teen Titans 2.13

Aftershock: Part 2

The episode opens with a very poetic monologue by Terra. The way Terra's hair obsures one of her eyes is reminscent of Slade. She talks about what she has done. The music is great here and throughout the episode.

The city is now controlled by Slade and Terra. The Titans are no where to be found. Terra starts seeing things in the fog that has enshrouded the city. Shadowy figures attack her. The figures that attack are the Titans, whom she though she had killed. They work together and prove to be too much for her. She runs away. They are attacked by Slade's robot army plus a hybrid of Cinder Block, Plasmus, and Overload. Beast Boy takes off looking for Terra while the others continue to fight Slade's robot army.

Terra decides that she's had enough but Slade isn't through with her. The armor he gave her allows him to control her body. This is really creepy, both the thought of it and the way Slade talks about it and about Terra. Beast Boy finds Slade and Terra. Slade forces Terra to fight him and then the Titans when they show up. Slade pushes her too far and she starts fighting back. She gets so angry a volcano starts to form under the city.

Slade seems to be killed. His mask is shown being consumed by lava. The Titans have to leave but Terra stays to deal with the volcano. It isn't clear exactly what she does but she saves the city and seems to have been turned to stone. I was really shocked by that ending. I was expecting a happier ending. It brought a tear (or two) to my eye. The Judas Contract it ain't but they really did seem to pull out all the stops on this season finale.

Saturday, November 25, 2017

District B13 (2004)

Original Title: Banlieue 13
French with English subtitles

Six years in the future, the authorities have given up on a run the down banlieue or district 13 of Paris. Walls have been built around it. There are no schools or hospitals. All sorts of services usually provided by the government like the police have been or are in the process of being withdrawn.

Leito is the last man willing to stand up to Taha, the drug lord who effectively runs Banlieue 13. He is arrested and sent to prison after Taha cuts a deal with the police.

Six months pass. Damien Tomaso, a police officer is tasked with finding a bomb that Taha's men stole. Damien is teamed up with an unwilling Leito. They need to find and deactivate the bomb which is set to go off in less than 24 hours. The bomb is powerful enough to kill everyone in the banlieue. Leito shows little to no interest in helping Damien until he learns that Taha (who also holds his sister captive) is the one in possession of the bomb.

Most of the movie is a fast paced action romp with a couple twists. There are lots of acrobatic action sequences. I enjoyed it quite a bit.

Friday, November 24, 2017

The Sopranos 1.11

Nobody Knows Anything

Tony gets word from Detective Makazian that Pussy has cut a deal with the Feds. Makazian is convinced but Tony needs more than just the detective's word. He questions Pussy. He talks to Silvio and Paulie about Makazian's reveal. He goes to visit Pussy at home. Pussy's been having back problems. According to Paulie (who heard it from Pussy's doctor) the man doesn't have anything wrong with his back. Tony gives Pussy a chance to come clean but he claims that he isn't hiding anything, he's just stressed out.

Tony becomes convinced that Pussy is talking to the Feds. Paulie offers to "take care" of Pussy but Tony insists that he has to see the wire on his body before he does him. Paulie tries taking Pussy to get a steam bath. Pussy won't get undressed. He says his doctor told him that heat isn't good for his back.

Uncle Junior finds out that Tony has been meeting with other mobsters at the home where Livia lives. He gets nervous and starts to plan something. He's worried that Tony is planning to have him killed. He wants to make a move before Tony gets a chance to whack him.

Makazian gets busted at a bordello that he frequents, along with a bunch of other men. He loses his cool, after he gets out of jail and commits suicide. This leaves Tony in a lurch. He still isn't sure who's talking to the Feds. He never got the confirmation he needed from Makazian to satisfy him that Pussy is wearing a wire. Jimmy Altieri comes to talk to Tony as soon as he gets out of jail. He and Pussy were both arrested during a bust earlier in the episode. Pussy got out first. Jimmy tells Tony about how they were giving him the third degree. He suspects that the Feds know something.

Tony starts thinking that Jimmy is the one working with the Feds. The episode ends with Tony still unsure if Pussy or Jimmy or someone else has cut a deal with Feds.

This marks the beginning of the final act of the season. I thought this was an excellent episode. I really enjoyed watching Tony sweat it out as he tried to figure out whom to believe. He even tried asking Dr. Melfi for advice. I recall the big outcomes of the season but I don't remember all the details. I am looking forward to the last two episodes and watching exactly how they play out.

Star Trek: Enterprise 1.01

Broken Bow

Part 1

Captain Jeffrey Archer, commander of the Starship Enterprise (NX-01), takes up the task of returning KLaang, a wounded Klingon to the Klingon home world of Qo'noS. The Enterprise has recently been outfitted with a new engine which can travel at speeds up to warp 4.5. Archer's father designed the engine but up humanity has been held back from using it by Vulcans up until now.

Archer has to scramble to pull together the crew for the Enterprise. In addition to those he selected he is also forced to accept a Vulcan observer, T'Pol. Once they are on their way the ship is boarded by a team of aliens who abduct Klaang. One of the aliens is killed. It is a Suliban who has been genetically altered.

The Enterprise changes course and heads for Rigel 10 after learning from T'Pol that the abducted Klingon had been on Rigel 10 immediately before coming to Earth. Several of the crew descend to Rigel 10 to look for clues.

Part 2

Archer, T'Pol, Hoshi, and Tucker are captured by a group of Suliban. Archer is pulled aside to talk to Sarin, the leader of the Suliban group. She is not allied with the Suliban who captured Klaang. She tells Archer about the temporal cold war. She tells him about how the Suliban are interfering in the ruling order of the Klingon Empire. Klaang was carrying valuable information about the Suliban interference. They start to head back to the shuttle craft but are attacked by Suliban.

Archer is wounded and Sarin is killed but they make it back to the shuttle craft. T'Pol takes command, which ruffles more than a few feathers. Once they are back aboard the Enterprise the Captain is taken to sick bay and sedated while he heals from the wound. T'Pol and Tucker were infected with some sort of spore. Dr. Phlox makes them dress in skimpy clothing and rub gel on one another until the remains of the spores are gone.

T'Pol and Tucker get dressed in more appropriate attire and modify the sensors of the Enterprise to track the trajectory of the Suliban ship that boarded the Enterprise. The trail leads the Enterprise to a gas giant where they find a large number of small ships docked together. This seems to be the Suliban headquarters. They capture a small Suliban craft and use it to infiltrate the conglomeration of ships. They locate Kraang and head back to the small craft. Archer gets separated from Tucker and Kraang, who make it back to the Enterprise.

Archer sets off a device that causes the small ships to disconnect from one another. He then goes exploring and encounters Silik, the Suliban behind the capture of Kraang. The two men fight and Archer seems doomed when the Enterprise swoops in and uses the transporter to bean him aboard. This is significant because at this point in the Star Trek universe transporters are not used to transport living creatures.


This is at least my third time viewing this two-part story. I saw it when it first aired in 2001. I watched most if not all of the first season of Enterprise when it first aired. I enjoyed it but (for reasons that I do not recall) I did not pick up watching the show again when season two debuted. In late 2010, about 7 years ago I watched this story again. According to my notes from that time I watched it online on CBS web site. I didn't watch any more episodes of Enterprise at that time. Now I am trying to go back and watch some selected episodes from all 4 seasons. Who knows how far I will get.

I enjoyed the show this time around. It isn't perfect but I like it. I want to watch more.

Thursday, November 23, 2017

The Defenders 1.03

Worst Behavior

Three months ago Elektra was revived thanks to Alexandra Reid and the Black Sky. She didn't remember who she was or how she got there. Alexandra has her trained to bring her fighting skills back to where they were. In the present Alexandra and Elektra interrogate Stick who was shown to be their prisoner in the last episode. Their methods aren't very effective and he escapes from the handcuffs they have him in by cutting off one of his hands. This part was a bit messy and I'm not talking about the blood but about how Stick managed to get one of the short swords (wazikashi) from with Elektra or Alexandra. It all happened very fast and it was kind of dark but it still seems kind of suspect the way it happened.

Claire Temple formally introduces Luke Cage to Danny Rand and Colleen Wing. The two men try to talk things out but they fail to see things eye to eye. They part ways having learned more about one another but without coming to any sort of understanding. This part of the episode felt very forced. Luke's scenes, later in the episode, without Danny were much better that the ones with him. Danny's scenes without Luke weren't better than their scenes together so I blame Finn Jones for the lack of anything approaching good in their scenes together.

After the inconclusive meeting, Danny heads to Rand Corporation looking for clues. Luke visits Cole in jail. Cole won't tell him anything. He knows that he needs to keep his mouth shut. He asks Luke to visit his mother and buy her some lottery tickets. Danny gets some information from Rand that leads him to a company called Midland, so he heads to Midland's corporate headquarters. Luke visits Cole's mother. While he is there Cole's mother gets word that Cole is dead. Luke consoles her and finds a clue, a wad of cash and a piece of paper with the name Midland.

Jessica Jones doesn't know who Matt Murdock is and doesn't want his help. Later in the episode she tails him into an alleyway. She takes a couple pictures of him as he leaps up a fire escape and disappears over a wall. Jessica goes to see Michelle Raymond and then she heads to the architecture firm where John Raymond worked. A representative of the architecture firm who thinks she is a potential client gives her the name of a few places they have worked on recently, one of which is a building for a company called Midland, so she heads there.

The episode ends with a big fight in the board room of the Midland Building. All four heroes converge and fight several squads of men and women in business attire who are presumably ninjas, members of the Hand. Every time they seem to take down one group of them more show up. Alexandra Reid is present but she hangs back and watches until she feels the time is ripe and then she sends Elektra into the fight.

Matt fights with his former lover. He is not in his Daredevil attire. He is just wearing Jessica's black scarf around the top half of his head. Elektra is much stronger than she once was. She almost kills Matt but Danny steps in and uses the Iron Fist to shatter her sword and send her flying backwards. The episode ends with the four heroes fleeing the Midland Building.

On the whole not a great episode. There was a little too much Danny and not enough Matt or Jessica. It was good to finally see all the heroes come together and work as a team but it still lacked in character moments. The best scenes were the fight scenes. The scenes that connected the fights were so-so at best. I'm going to stick with it for now but my hopes are not high that I will see a vast improvement in the quality of the show.

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Veep 1.02

Frozen Yoghurt

Once again nothing goes right for Vice President Selina Meyers and her staff. She makes promises to a Senator that put her and the administration in an awkward position. Her plans for a photo opportunity get sidetracked first by a potential emergency and then by a stomach virus.

I'm not loving this show but it has its moments. Some of the humor connects with me, some doesn't. I will probably stick with the show the rest of the season, 6 more episodes, possibly longer

Teen Titans 2.12

Aftershock: Part 1

Terra returns. She now serves Slade. Not only does she serve him but she is also controlled by him. He sends her on a mission to destroy the Titans. She gets some help from a few other baddies: Overload, Cinder Block, and Plasmus. The episode ends with the Titans defeated but still free and vowing to take Terra down.

There were a lot of good fight scenes in this episode. I think my favorite was the one between Terra and Raven. It was a real knock out, drag down affair. It isn't quite as good as my recollection of the Judas Contract but it's still a fun episode and the right sort on which to conclude a season.

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Haters Back Off 1.03

Netwerking at the Nursing Home

Miranda visits her aged aunt who lives in a nursing home. She meets a movie director who lives in the nursing home. She tries performing for him but Emily drags her away. She sneaks back in and while she is singing for the movie director he passes away.

Patrick confronts Owen about Miranda. Keith hits on Bethany.

Very good and funny. I was smiling throughout. This show has a very surreal feel to it. I think the music has something to do with that.

Monday, November 20, 2017

Rick and Morty 1.11

Ricksy Business

Beth and Jerry take off for a romantic getaway on an overnight Titanic themed cruise. Rick and Summer throw a party. High school kids mix with aliens and robots at the party. Morty transports the house to another dimension accidentally. One of Rick's creations, Abradolph Linkler shows up at the party. One of Summer's friends leaves the party with one of Rick's friends.

This one had some good laughs but it is not close to being my favorite. There were lots of gags but not enough in the way of story to satisfy me.

Sunday, November 19, 2017

The Defenders 1.02

Mean Right Hook

Matt Murdock reluctantly returns to fighting crime, out of costume, after the earthquake. He doesn't seem to want to return to being Daredevil but he opens up the chest where he keeps it. He looks like he might be about to do something with the costume when Foggy calls him. They meet at Josie's Bar. It doesn't go well. Matt ends up walking out. One thing that becomes clear, which I had forgotten is that Foggy knows he is Daredevil.

Misty Knight visits a crime scene and finds Jessica Jones there. Jessica is the one who called in the police and then walks off with some evidence just after Misty arrives.

Trish Walker gets a caller into her radio program (Trish Talks) who claims to be an expert at earthquakes. The so called expert gets cut off just after she points to some startling evidence about the origin of the earthquake.

Alexandra Reid meets with Madame Gao who has more information for her. Her people have found a wall that they can't penetrate. It has markings that identify it as having some connection to K'un L'un. Alexandra thinks that it isn't a wall but a gate and that there must be a key. What's that key? My guess is that Danny is that key.

Luke helps some people in his neighborhood after the earthquake. He goes looking for Cole (the brother of Candace) and evidence that he's working for criminals. He finds Turk who points him in the direction of some guy who dresses real sharp and wears a white hat. He finds the guy in the white hat and sees Cole with him. He calls Misty and urges her to get a warrant but before he can give her the details Cole gets in a van with a bunch of other young men. Luke hangs up and follows the van.

Danny and Colleen wonder if they have any allies in their fight with the Hand. They track down an extremely rare sword and find several bodies that look as thought they are fresh. They hear some noise and hide. Several people in HazMat suits walk in and start spraying down the bodies. Colleen and Danny attack. One of the people spraying down the bodies turns out to be Cole. When Danny chases him into an alley he runs into Luke Cage.

Luke and Danny fight. Danny lands lots of blows but they don't have any effect until he uses the Iron Fist. The police show up. Danny and Colleen take off running in one direction. Luke takes off in another direction. Cole gets arrested.

Jessica runs into Jeri Hogarth while doing some research. Hogarth tells her to stop looking into the company she is investigating. She warns her that John Raymond is now being watched by the Feds. Jessica heads home after they part ways. Jeri meets with Foggy Nelson, who now works for her. She tells him to keep an eye on Jessica and make sure that nothing she does gets traced back to their law firm.

Jessica gets home and finds her neighbor Malcolm and John Raymond in her apartment. Raymond has a gun to Malcolm's head. He wants to know why Jesscia didn't heed his warning and stay away from the case. He insists that she is working for some unnamed organization. He must be referring to the Hand. Jessica is confused and doesn't understand. Elektra shows up, before the conversation can get very far, and Raymond kills himself.

Elektra takes off. Jessica tries chasing her but Elektra gets away. Misty shows up and arrests Jessica. She is taken in for questioning. Matt Murdock shows up and claims to be Jessica's lawyer.

This was a big improvement over the last episode. It still doesn't all make sense. There are going to be holes in the plot, big holes, but I am enjoying this show a little more now. It is good to see some of the major players starting to meet.

Saturday, November 18, 2017

The Sopranos 1.10

A Hit Is a Hit

Tony tries getting to know his neighbors a little better. He and Carmella visit with their neighbors, the Cusamanos, who are having a barbecue. Everything seems to go well enough. Later, Tony plays golf with Cusamano and a couple of his friends. They ask Tony an inordinate number of questions about gangsters, real and imaginary. Tony gets more and more irate but he holds it in and answers their questions.

Christopher gets into the music business. He meets a big star in the R&B world, Massive Genius (Bokeem Woodbine), who approaches him after he learns that Chris is connected to Tony Soprano. Massive wants to talk to Hesh who owns the rights to a couple hit singles that his uncle wrote and sang decades ago. Hesh isn't receptive to Massive's requests for reparations. 

Adriana wants to get into the music business. She pushes the idea on Christopher and talks him into bankrolling some studio time for her ex-boyfriend's band. Massive will represent them. Massive seems more interested in Adriana than the music and Christopher can see that but Adriana can't. They get the band in the studio but when the recording session isn't going so hot Christopher loses his cool. He doesn't seem to have the right temperament for this line of work.

Tony gets back at Cusamano by giving him a package filled with sand and asking him to hold on to it for him. Cusamano doesn't know what's in the box. Cusamano's wife is played by Saundra Santiago who was a regular member of the cast of Miami Vice. I thought she looked familiar but it wasn't until I checked IMDB that I was able to figure out where I knew her from.

This episode is a big improvement over the last episode and feels like a return to form. It doesn't advance any of the season's arcs but helps to add some depth to a number of characters like Tony, Christopher, Hesh, and Adriana.

Teen Titans 2.11


A weird little guy who looks a little like Robin jumps out of Robin's head. He tells the Titans his name but they have trouble pronouncing it. It flashes across the screen and looks like Dick Grayson spelled backwards. He quickly gets renamed Larry. He reminded me of Batmite. He uses his magical abilities to try and fix Robin's broken arm. Instead he ends up breaking reality. It is partly Robin's fault because he was wrestling with Larry and broke his magic finger.

The world changes appearance. Everything except for the people in it look like they were drawn with crayons. Beast Boy loses his mouth. He takes Raven's and starts talking with her voice. She takes Cyborg's mouth and starts talking with his voice. He takes Starfire's and starts talking with her voice. Raven gets a weird haircut. Starfire grows wings out of the sides of her head which then tries to fly away. The Titans head to the Tower.

They battle Johnny Rancid, who reminded me of Lobo from Superman: The Animated Series. All the other Titans get taken down by Rancid but Robin beats him. Then Larry fixes Robin's arm and tries to fix the world. There's a flash and then Robin is standing in a blank world. That's where the episode ends.

This was a weird episode. Very strange. I think it probably should have been the final episode of the season instead of the next to next to last. I didn't love it. Not the sort of episode that I would recommend to most people. It was just a little too wack-a-doodle crazy for me to make sense of it.

Larry also shows up in the opening credits and sang the theme song.

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Haters Back Off 1.02

Preeching 2 the Chior

Miranda quits YouTube and joins the church choir. She has a crush on Owen, who plays guitar for the choir. Uncle Jim tries talking Miranda into sticking with Youtube by telling her about how he gave up on his dream when he was a teenager. In the flashback he is played by the same actor but everyone else looks age appropriate. Miranda's mother goes to singles night at church. Emily gets dragged along. Patrick continues to pine for Miranda.

Once again good quirky fun. Sometimes it is painful to watch but in a heartfelt way. Loved the ending.

Monday, November 13, 2017

Rick and Morty 1.10

Close Rick-Counters of the Rick Kind

Rick and Morty (of universe C-137) are arrested by the trans-dimensional Council of Ricks. They are put on trial for killing lots of other Ricks. They escape and go looking for the real killer who, of course another Rick. The Ricks for the most part look the same but some of them look slightly different.

This is for the most-part a Beth-less and Summer-less episode but Jerry gets a little spotlight. He becomes friends with doofus Rick who is picked on by all the other Ricks.

After Rick and Morty find killer Rick they get separated. It doesn't look good for Rick C-137 until his Morty leads an insurrection of Mortys. In the end killer Rick dies at the hands of a mob of Mortys but then it is revealed that the real mastermind behind killer Rick was his Morty.

A very fun episode that moves very fast. Loved the rick-diculous number of puns. Lots of good jokes and I love how it expands the multiverse in which this show exists.

Saturday, November 11, 2017

Thor: Ragnarok (2017)

Thor and Loki, with a little help from Dr. Strange, locate Odin just before he passes away. Why he passes wasn't clear to me but he seemed to be ready to go. Thor's older sister, Hela, shows up soon thereafter. Thor and Loki try to fight her but she is way too powerful for them. She destroys Thor's hammer, Mjolnir. Loki tries recalling them to Asgard but something goes wrong. Hela makes it back to Asgard. Thor and Loki wind up halfway across the universe.

Thor is captured by a woman who (later turns out to be an Asgardian, Valkyrie) and sells him to the Grandmaster, the ruler of the planet. He is forced to fight the Grandmaster's champion who turns out to be the Hulk. Thor is happy to see the green behemoth but Hulk does not recognize him. Eventually Thor gets Hulk to change back to his human form, with a lot of help from a recording of Black Widow. Bruce Banner remembers who he is but can't remember the last two years since the end of Age of Ultron. I really need to see that movie. Even if it wasn't very good it will help to fill in some gaps.

Thor, Valkyrie (whom he has finally convinced to join him), and Banner steal the Grandmaster's personal spaceship. They fly back to Asgard to battle Hela and her zombie army. Loki comes back with some other inhabitants of the planet and joins the fight against Hela.

There's more to this story, like Heimdall and Executioner but their parts seem a little more tangential to the main story.

I thought there were a few too many jokes early on. There was a little too much of a lot of things. The movie probably should have been longer or broken into a couple films. It felt like I was supposed to care about Odin's passing but it all happened so fast that I didn't feel anything at all. Jeff Goldblum was great as the Grandmaster. I'm not sure how faithful his representation of the character was to the comic book version but I liked the movie version. He reminded be a little bit of Aku from Samurai Jack. Gladiatorial contest made me think of Samurai Jack 2.03 (Jack and the Smackback).

On the whole I liked this movie but I think that Captain America: Civil War is still the high water mark for me.

Friday, November 10, 2017

The Sopranos 1.09


Tony finds out something about Uncle Junior, that he like to perform oral sex on his girlfriend. When he starts needling his uncle about his sexual practices (using double entendres) his uncle needles back with the same sort of comments about Tony's mental health issues.

Meadow's soccer team is doing really well but the coach has plans to move on to a better, higher paying job. Tony and his friends, including Artie Bucco, aren't too happy to hear about the coach's plans to leave. First they try nicely to persuade him to stay. They try to bribe him with women and gifts but he turns down those offers. Artie is a straight shooter and tries telling Tony to stop with the heavy hand.

One of Meadow's teammates attempts suicide. Tony gets concerned that it has something to do with playing soccer. It turns out that Meadow's friend is suicidal because she's distraught over her relationship with the coach which includes an intimate physical component. Meadow tells her parents in the middle of an argument. This changes the whole color of the situation but it was telegraphed early in the episode and did not come as a great surprise to me.

Artie can't believe the news about the coach but at first he thinks the guy deserves to die. Tony is close to giving Silvio the order to kill the coach but get talked out of it by Artie who has a change of heart and manages to get through to Tony, even though Tony won't admit it.

Uncle Junior tells Mikey Palmice, in a moment of frustration, that Tony is seeing a psychiatrist. Mikey was already thinking that it is time to kill Tony, whom he suspected was the one who named names to the DA. This is one loose thread that doesn't get resolved in this episode and will get picked up and resolved later on.

This episode felt a bit forced. There were a lot of moments that lacked nuance. I'm not sure exactly why that is the case or who is to blame. The performances were good enough but the way it was edited together just felt a little too on the money and below the standards set by earlier episodes in this season.

Veep 1.01


The episode revolves around what happens over the course of about 24 hours. Vice President of the United States of America Selina Meyers has to take the President's place at a speaking engagement, sign a condolence card for the wife of a recently desceased, sexually predatory US Senator, and deal with the intrusive directions she gets from one of the President's assistants.

The show isn't just about her it is also about her staff who are motley crew of characters. It took me a little bit of time to warm to it but by the time I finished watching this episode I wanted to see more. I'm not completely sold on it or ready to say it's great but I want to see more.

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Teen Titans 2.10


The team relaxes after a battle with Slade's robots by eating pizza and hanging out together. It is the calm before the storm. After everyone else has gone to bed Beast Boy knocks on Terra's door. When she opens it he gives her a present and asks her out on a date. She turns him down.

Beast Boy is sad and imagines 5 other ways he could have asked her, all of them silly and melodrmatic. Beast Boy is still wallowing in misery when Terra comes to see him and agrees to go out with him. While everyone else sleeps they fly off to have some fun.

Slade's robots attack while Beast Boy and Terra are gone. Robin, Starfire, Cyborg, and Raven have their hands full. They try contacting Beast Boy and Terra but the absent heroes don't have their communicators with them.

Terra and Beast Boy go to a diner and then to an amusement park. They are on the Ferris Wheel when Slade attacks. He says he is there for Terra. Beast Boy won't let him take her. Slade and Beast Boy fight while Terra watches. Slade reveals that Terra is his apprentice. Beast Boy doesn't believe him but Terra confirms what he doesn't want to hear. The fight ends with Slade departing with Terra.

This is basically the opening chapter of the Judas Contract. It isn't a note for note retelling of the story from the comic books but the basic elements are there. Early in the episode there is a moment that pays homage to the opening chapter of the comic book story: The Eyes of Terra Markov. I thought this episode might end with the Titans captured, which is how the second chapter of the Judas Contract ended but that is not the case here.

This is a dark episode. Slade is just as creepy here as he was in the comic book but not in exactly the same way. The influence he exerts over Terra and her seeming inability to fight back against him make my skin crawl. Equally heartrending is the road that Beast Boy's naivete leads him down. Good episode but on its own not satisfying. I look forward to the conclusion of this story in the two-part season finale.

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Haters Back Off 1.01

Uploding my Fist Video

Miranda's uncle helps her try to become a YouTube star. Her mother and Patrick (Miranda's would-be boyfriend) are each supportive in their own special ways. Emily, her sister, is embarrassed by Miranda's behavior and tries to put as much distance as she can between herself and her sister.

I decided to give this a try based on some vague memory of hearing about it on Pop Culture Happy Hour. I really wasn't sure what to expect. I was perplexed for the first few minutes, while Miranda was recording her video. It wasn't until the next scene, with Patrick, that I started to like it. I started to see how weird and funny it was. For the most part it was just wacky fun after that.

I want to watch more of this show and hope that the subsequent episodes are for the most part at least as good as this one.

Monday, November 6, 2017

Rick and Morty 1.09

Something Ricked This Way Comes

Morty and Jerry are abducted by aliens from Pluto who revere Jerry as a great man for stubbornly insisting that Pluto is a planet. Summer gets a job working for a mysterious antique store owner who just might be the Devil. Rick doesn't like Summer's new boss and does what he can to drive him out of business. Beth only makes a token appearance early in this episode.

Extremely funny. Love the Rick and Summer episodes like this one and 1.07 (Raising Gazorpazorp. Both stories have their share of laughs. Possibly my favorite episode this season. I love how absurd this show can get.

Saturday, November 4, 2017

The Defenders 1.01

The H Word

Matt Murdock is working solo now. He and Foggy parted ways in season 2 of Daredevil. Matt is doing pro bono work now. It makes him feel good. He has lunch with Karen. She is still working for the Bulletin. Officially she is there to interview him. She knows that he is Daredevil. They chat at a diner over lunch.

Luke Cage gets out of Seagate Prison. It is unclear how long he was there or why he was released. He meets briefly with Foggy Nelson before he is released. He goes back to New York City and sees Claire. They finally get to have that cup of coffee. Misty stops by and tells Luke about death of Candace' brother. Misty suspects it was murder. She encourages Luke to go see Candace' remaining brother. Luke visits with him but he doesn't want to talk to Luke and pushes him away. Clearly he has something to hide.

Jessica gets a visit from a woman who is looking for her husband, John Raymond. He's missing. Jessica shoos Mrs. Raymond away but then gets a call from someone telling her not to take the case. Now she is interested and starts to investigate. She begins by tracing the call.

Danny Rand and Colleen Wing return to New York City after getting into a fight somewhere else, presumably Asia. I would probably have a better idea of where it was if I had watched more than just the first 5 episodes of season 1 of Iron Fist. The person Danny fought was a woman but her identity wasn't clear. I'm pretty sure it must have been Elektra.

Alexandra Reid (Sigourney Weaver) finds out that she doesn't have long to live. She has more tests done but her options are limited. She meets with Madame Gao in Central Park and orders her to move up the time table. It isn't clear at first what she is talking about but towards the end of the episode an earthquake or earthquake-like event hits New York City. From the way it is depicted it seems pretty clear that this must be the event that Ms. Reid had moved up. All the heroes are shown reacting to the earthquake.

So far the show is just okay. It feels a bit rushed. It also feels overcrowded compared to the other Marvel Netflix series. So far none of the heroes have crossed paths with one another. The Iron Fist parts, especially the fight that opens the episode. failed to impress or please me. It was too dark and muddled to tell exactly what was doing on. The parts that didn't involve Iron Fist were good but certainly not flawless. I'm going to continue watching but I'm not expecting greatness after this opening.

Friday, November 3, 2017

The Sopranos 1.08

The Legend of Tennessee Moltisanti

Tony and his business associates are forced to scramble when they find out that they are about to get indicted. Tony and Carmella clean out all their hidden loot from the house and stash it in Livia's apartment, without telling her.

Christopher is freaking out. The episode opens with him having a weird, horrific dream about someone he killed a few episodes back. It bothers him for a good portion of this episode. He want to write a movie script and tries using the dream as inspiration but he can't seem to get his ideas out of his head and into the script. He seems to conflate reality and fiction. He sees what is happening as a movie but he gets agitated because he can't see his part in it. He worries about what his arc is. He tries telling Paulie about what's bothering but Paulie doesn't understand.

Christopher gets so worked up that he loses his cool and shoots the guy working the counter at a bakery. The moment was all about Christopher but I couldn't help but notice that one of the other customers in the bakery was played by the actor who also plays Vito Spatafore in future episodes of the show. At first I thought that maybe this was supposed to be Vito but from what I can find online it is not. It is just a case of one actor playing a different character in his first appearance on the show.

Tony gets angry when Dr. Melfi doesn't cut him any slack after he misses one of their sessions. He warned her that it might happen. He didn't cancel the session in advance so she charges him for it. He loses his cool when she insists that he pay for the missed session. She is going through her own little crisis in this episode as her ex-husband tries to talk her out of keeping Tony as a patient. Her ex doesn't know exactly who her patient is, just that he is connected.

Tony gives Christopher a hard time about the shooting at the bakery when he finds out about it. He tries slapping some sense into Christopher but that doesn't seem to work. It isn't until the end of the episode when Christopher sees his name in a newspaper article about the indictments of member of the Soprano crime family that he comes out of his funk.

Uncle Junior finds out that Tony is seeing a psychiatrist, from Livia. I believe she found out from AJ, who accidentally spilled the beans when he was visiting her in 1.07 (Down Neck).

Overall a very good episode. It didn't blow me with the level of quality but I was totally engrossed in  what was going on. I didn't think once about pausing the show or taking a break like I do with some hour-long shows.

Thursday, November 2, 2017

Teen Titans 2.09

Winner Take All

Robin, Cyborg, and Beast Boy along with 5 others (Speedy, Aqualad, Wildebeest, Gizmo, and Hot Spot) are magically transported by the Master of Games to his arena. They are pitted against one another in a single elimination tournament. In the first round Aqualad battles Speedy, Robin battles Hot Spot, Cyborg battles Gizmo, and Beast Boy battles Wildebeest. Speedy, Robin, Cyborg, and Wildebeest are the first round winners. The losers mysteriously disappear. The Master of Games claims that they have been returned home but it is later revealed that they have been absorbed into a gem that the Master of Games wears around his neck. It gives him their powers.

Cyborg gets eliminated and absorbed into the gem before the second round begins after he discovers what the Master of Games is doing. The last three duke it out but Wildebeest is eliminated fairly quickly. The fight between Robin and Speedy lasts much longer. In the end Robin is the last champion standing. It is at that point that he discovers what the Master of Games is up to. He doesn't defeat him single-handed but he is able to free some of the others and together they take the Master of Games down.

Not a great episode but a fun one. The animation was great and it was fun to see all the combinations of heroes. Starfire and Raven only showed up briefly at the beginning and end of this episode. Terra made an extremely brief appearance at the end. The ending was a little weird because it made it look like the Master of Games was about to start all over again with female superheroes and villains, except the only three that they showed were Raven, Terra, and Starfire. I'm pretty sure that the next episode doesn't contain that competition, so the very end of the episode amounts to one big tease.

This episode was written by Dwayne McDuffie, one of the creators behind Justice League and JLU among other cartoons.

This was Speedy's, Hot Spot's, and Wildebeest 's first appearance on Teen Titans. It was Aqualad's second appearance, Gizmo's third appearance and the only season two episode in which they show up.

Stan Against Evil 1.01

Dig Me Up, Dig Me Down

Stan (John C. McGinley) is the sheriff of a small town in western Massachusetts. At his wife's funeral Stan starts seeing witches that no one else sees. He flips out and scares people. He quits or is forced out of his job. A new sheriff (Janet Varney) comes to town. Together they fight the evil spirits that are haunting the town where they live..

I'm not sure what to make of this show. It feels a bit like Evil Dead. There were a few laughs but nothing in the episode really moved me. I wanted to like this more than I do. It wasn't bad, it just wasn't my cup of tea.