CHRISTMAS 2017 REVIEW: CHUCK – CHUCK VERSUS THE SANTA SUIT

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CAST

Zachary Levi (Heroes Reborn)
Yvonne Strahovski (Batman: Bad Blood)
Adam Baldwin (Firefly)
Joshua Gomez (Invasion)
Sarah Lancaster (Saved By The Bell: The New Class)
Ryan McPartlin (J. Edgar)
Mark Christopher Lawrence (Halloween II)
Scott Krinsky (Transformers 3)
Vik Sahay (eXistenZ)

RECURRING / NOTABLE GUEST CAST

Brandon Routh (Legends of Tomorrow)
Mekenna Melvin (The Bad Guys)
Mo Collins (Knocked Up)
Stan Lee (Avengers Assemble)
Bonita Friedericy (Veronica Mars)

chuck-vs-the-crown-vic-chuck-and-sarah-677994_400_225It’s Christmas Eve at the Buy More and customer panic abounds because the Omen has infected the world’s computers. A local television reporter conducting a live newscast from the store explains the situation to the viewing audience. Big Mike interrupts, stepping in front of the camera and telling the reporter he thinks the virus is really a gag and isn’t dangerous. He tells everyone not to panic and to remember the true meaning of Christmas. Buying stuff. He announces there are no virus problems at Buy More. Lester then takes his own cue in front of the camera and neuters Mike’s pronouncement by admitting the virus is everywhere at Buy More. In a high security penitentiary, two guards watch the live newscast from the Buy More and discuss the danger of the Omen since every cell at the prison is locked via electronic doors connected to a mainframe. With their attention focused on the television, they fail to notice one of the prison doors opening. An unseen inmate quietly gets out, then ambushes and kills the two guards. The mystery prisoner then puts on one of their uniforms and takes their weapons.
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At the Woodcombs’, Ellie is panicked because they’re six hours away from a Christmas party and have yet to even put up a tree. As she scrambles to find the Christmas tree topper her father gave her years ago, Awesome tells her to relax and be Zen about it. Ellie explains that Christmas was her first memory, and she wants Clara’s first memory to be special. Awesome asks what he needs to do in order to make her happy. Ellie asks for a real tree, lights, fake snow and a picture of Clara on Santa’s lap. He admits it’s a tall order, and Ellie agrees. That’s why she recruited someone to help. She picks up the phone and speed dials Sarah. Sarah picks up and tells Ellie “Project Santa” is under control. They just need to get the tree and snow. Chuck calls Sarah via video conference from Morgan and Casey’s place. She tells him Ellie is freaking about Christmas Eve. Chuck tells her it wouldn’t be Christmas without a little Bartowski drama. He tells her there’s still no progress on finding the origins of the Omen virus. Sarah thinks whoever is behind it will slip up eventually. She promises no one will ruin their Christmas. Before signing off, she tells Chuck to tell Casey his “Mr. Pippers the Preppy Polar Bear” has arrived. Morgan gets on the screen and says that’s probably one of their favorite childhood toys but why did Casey buy one? Casey tells them he bought it on eBay for Alex because her mom told him it was something she used to play with as a kid. Casey wonders if it’s a dumb idea. Chuck and Morgan think it’s touching. Morgan tells Casey he thinks he’s actually beginning to exhibit signs of real human emotion.
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Just then Beckman pops up on the screen and tells them she knows who is behind the Omen virus. Sarah is leaving Castle loaded with Christmas stuff when the elevator door unexpectedly opens to reveal… Shaw! He says, “Merry Christmas, Sarah. Did you miss me?” Sarah immediately takes a defensive posture while Shaw initiates the Intersect, and they begin to fight. Sarah is no match for an Intersect-loaded Shaw, and she’s pummelled into unconsciousness. She awakens to find herself bound and hanging from the Castle ceiling. Shaw asks if she’s comfy and checks the progress of the virus. He tells her it will only be a few hours before the virus fully launches. Sarah asks why he initiated the Omen. He tells her, “Why stay in jail when I can break out, release the virus and take over the CIA” before duct taping her mouth. Sarah’s phone rings and Shaw picks up. It’s Chuck. “Hello nerd,” Shaw tells Chuck. He orders Chuck to turn on the monitor. With Casey and Morgan standing behind him, Chuck turns on the monitor to see Shaw standing in front of a helpless bound and gagged Sarah. Shaw tells Chuck the story of Krampus, the German Santa Claus. Krampus visits kids on Christmas Eve, but instead of giving the bad kids a lump of coal, he makes sure they don’t wake up to see Christmas morning. Chuck demands he let her go. Shaw tells him he has no Sarah, no Intersect so he’s got nothing. He orders Chuck to lock down Castle and break into Decker’s CIA office to retrieve the Macau device. He’s got three hours or Sarah dies. Shaw stops the transmission and asks Sarah if she’s impressed. He’s implicated Chuck in a massive conspiracy and has captured his girl all from an 8 x 8 prison cell. Sarah asks how he connected with Decker. He tells her during his integration he was able to disseminate all of Decker’s secrets and, after a little blackmail, was able to recruit him.
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Back at Casey and Morgan’s, Chuck is in a quasi-catatonic state thinking about his next move while Casey and Morgan look on with concern. Chuck snaps out of it and announces he has a plan. He tells Morgan to have the nerds (Jeff and Lester) reverse engineer the Omen. He needs to know what will happen when it activates. He tells Casey to find alternate routes into Castle so they have options in case he can’t get the Macau device. Casey reminds Chuck that breaking into the CIA alone is suicide. Chuck, Casey and Morgan speak to Beckman on the monitor. Chuck asks her what’s the best way to get into the CIA. She tells him there’s only one way, with her.  Shaw has Sarah tied up and that he is behind the Omen. Chuck tries to call Sarah, but Shaw answers the phone call. Shaw tells Chuck that he wants him break into Decker office to steal something. Chuck then tells Casey & Morgan’s plan.Shaw lowered the temperature at Castle to make Sarah freeze to death. While talking to Sarah, Shaw tricks her so he can record her voice. Meanwhile Jeff & Lester work on the Omen. Meanwhile Chuck tries to steal Caroline’s id card.Shaw finds out that Sarah has escaped. Casey and Sarah tries to take Shaw down, but failed.Chuck & Beckman break into Decker’s office, but have set off the alarm. Beckman kisses Chuck to make it look like the officer’s think they were making out in Decker’s office.
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The store is inundated with angry shoppers frustrated with the Omen. Chuck gets another call from Shaw disguised as Sarah telling him that Shaw’s been captured by Casey and to hurry up and get to Castle. At the end of the conversation, Shaw makes the mistake of calling Chuck “dear.” Chuck immediately knows it isn’t really Sarah because she never calls him that. Chuck tells Morgan about the bogus call, and Morgan reminds him that last time Shaw was around he blew up the Buy More. Chuck looks around the store and realizes it’s filled with people and tells Morgan to close for the day. Morgan makes an announcement, and the place clears. As the store empties, Ellie sees Chuck and tells him about the botched Santa photo and wonders why Sarah isn’t answering her phone. Although initially reluctant to tell her about Shaw, he fesses up. She tells him she wants to help. Chuck demands she go home because he has to know she’s safe. Shaw has Sarah tied up again but this time on a chair chained to the floor. Hypothermia is creeping in and she’s slipping in and out of consciousness. Shaw comes up to her and plants a kiss on her mouth, repulsing Sarah who calls him a sick S.O.B. Shaw tells her he was checking to see if there was any spark there. “No,” he says. “Ice cold.” Sarah tries to plead with Shaw, telling him she didn’t know she was killing his wife. She was a young agent only trying to do her job. Shaw ignores her. Back at the Buy More, Jeff and Lester are amped on endless cups of Subway coffee. They explain to Chuck and Morgan they think Omen is a hoax. In fact, the virus is only infecting government computers. But they’re not sure where all that info is going. Chuck and Morgan guess it’s Shaw trying to create Intersect 3.0 using all the CIA databases.
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With the CIA’s databases wiped clean and in Shaw’s head, the agency will be forced to rely on him for intel. They’d have to reinstate him as an agent. Chuck tells Morgan he has a plan.The elevator door at Castle opens, alarming Shaw who draws his gun. He finds the Macau device on the elevator floor. At that moment Chuck calls Shaw and tells him that now, since he has the device, he can let Sarah go. He tells him the Buy More is empty, and he can come up and kill him. Before Shaw goes up to meet Chuck, he uses the Macau device to upload the Omen data into his Intersect glasses. He will now be virtually unstoppable. He slaps Sarah awake and tells her to watch the monitor because he wants her to watch as he kills Chuck. He tells Sarah because she killed his wife, she’ll pay by not having Chuck anymore. In the locked Castle interrogation room, Casey struggles on the floor, nursing his gunshot wound. He discovers the “Mr. Pippers the Preppy Polar Bear” Sarah was to deliver to him before Shaw showed. He realizes he can record a message on the bear for Alex to hear if he should die. He begins by apologizing for not always being there for her through the years and says he’s sorry he has to say it to an electronic bear. He then realizes he can probably cannibalize the electronics of the bear to try and disengage the door and get out. He gets to work taking Mr. Pippers apart.Shaw goes upstairs and enters the Buy More. He walks past a hidden Morgan who sneaks into the elevator and goes downstairs to get Sarah. Once in the store, Chuck reveals himself to Shaw and tells him if he wants to shoot him now he can, but he doesn’t think that’s what he has in mind. Shaw confirms Chuck’s assumptions and puts his gun down. He then puts the Intersect glasses on assuming he will download the Intersect 3.0. After he’s done, he tells Chuck he’s been thinking about this moment for a long time. With that, Chuck punches him right in the face, and it’s then Shaw realizes Chuck put the Omen on the Macau device, and he’s actually just uploaded the virus into his brain.
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Without the Intersect, they’re evenly matched.While Shaw and Chuck battle to the death upstairs, Morgan arrives at Castle to see Sarah near frozen. He tries to wake her up but gets no response. Casey manages to rewire the door using the talking bear parts and escapes. Morgan tries to pick her up but she’s tied to the chair and the chair is locked to the ground. Just then Casey emerges and shoots the lock, freeing the chair. They both grab Sarah and carry her away. Upstairs, Chuck has Shaw where he wants him, but Shaw manages to grab the gun. He points the gun at Chuck and tells him, “You’re good Chuck, but you’re not lucky” and just when he’s about to fire, Ellie smacks him on the back of the head and knocks him out. She never left the store like Chuck had asked. The whole team including Beckman is at the Buy More watching a newscast about the Omen and how it’s no longer a threat. Beckman tells the team they all have an open invitation to rejoin the CIA. She wishes everyone a nice holiday. Before she leaves, Sarah asks Beckman if she has somewhere to go for the holiday and invites her to Ellie’s party. Ellie reminds everyone that her party’s now a bust. Chuck asks Beckman if she’d consider helping to make the party happen after all. She’s reluctant, citing “taxpayer dollars” but succumbs to the holiday sprit. Back at the Woodcombs’ place, Ellie’s getting everything she wished for: a Christmas tree, Santa, fake snow and family. Chuck tells Ellie he knows without their mom and dad it can never be a perfect Christmas, but she’ll always have him around. She admits it felt pretty good taking down Shaw. She thinks their dad would be proud. Casey gives Alex the “Mr. Pippers the Preppy Polar Bear” and tells her she probably shouldn’t listen to the recording because things got pretty grim.
He should just tell her in person that he loves her. He knows the bear won’t make up for all the lost holidays. Alex disagrees and thinks it’s perfect. Casey then tells her she should reconsider Morgan because he’s not such a bad guy. Sarah thanks Chuck and tells him when she was captive Shaw kissed her. Chuck tells her that he had to kiss Beckman. Beckman then asks Chuck for a private word with Sarah. Beckman tells Sarah that Shaw has asked her to visit him in prison. Beckman thinks she shouldn’t go. Sarah goes anyway. In the visitors’ room, Shaw tells her that, in Hungary, he set something in motion she can’t do anything about. He asks her, “Does Chuck know about the baby?”thumb_chuckversusthesantasuit6A great Christmas episode, thou a darker one, it was great to see Brandon Routh Back playing a delighfully evil character and we get tosee just how much Chuck has grown from the the first Season. All in all a great Xmas episode.

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CHRISTMAS 2017 REVIEW: LEGENDS OF TOMORROW – BEEBO THE GOD OF WAR

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MAIN CAST

Brandon Routh (Chuck)
Caity Lotz (The Pact)
Franz Drameh (Edge of Tomorrow)
Maisie Richardson-Sellers (The Originals)
Amy Louise Pemberton (Suspence)
Tala Ashe (Odyssey)
Nick Zano (2 Broke Girls)
Dominic Purcell (A Fighting Man)

RECURRING / NOTABLE GUEST STARS

Neal McDonough (Paul Blart Mall Cop 2)
Wentworth Miller (Prison Break)
Courtney Ford (Supernatural)
Graeme McComb (UnReal)
John Noble (Sleepy Hollow)
Jes Macallan (Mistresses)
Thor Knai (Crazy Ex-Girlfriend)
Katia Winter (Arena)
Emily Tennant (Mr. Young)
Hiro Kanagawa (Heores Reborn)
Matt Ryan (Constantine)

I’m sure most of us were expecting a very glum, downbeat midseason finale as the Legends mourned Professor Stein’s passing and struggled to get back into the time travel groove. So it comes as some surprise that this episode wound up being one of the most overtly silly and slapstick in Legends history. And this is the same season where the team reenacted the events of E.T. with a baby Dominator. It’s a real testament to the power of this show, the skill of the writing staff and the chemistry of the cast that such a goofy episode also managed to hit home in such a profound way.Granted, maybe I should have expected a goofy approach to this episode based on the title alone. “Beebo the God of War” certainly didn’t fail to live up to its name. The idea of a group of Vikings worshiping the Arrowverse version of Tickle Me Elmo and rewriting the course of North American history is just bizarre and stupid and wonderful in a way only Legends can really pull off. The Beebo doll and the Viking trappings proved to be an endless source of amusement here, while at the same time serving as a clever way to briefly bring Graeme McComb’s younger Martin Stein back into the picture.There were plenty of great character moments along the way as that conflict grew progressively more chaotic. Naturally, this was a big week for Jax, as he mourns the loss of his partner/father figure and wrestles with his guilt. Ultimately, this felt like a necessary coda to the rest of Season 3’s Stein material. It wrapped up the character’s journey on a happier, more uplifting note. It allowed McComb one last hurrah as a pitch-perfect stand-in for Garber. And it helped Jax move past his guilt and embrace the next phase of his own journey. Seeing Jax bid farewell to his team/family was extremely bittersweet.Above and beyond Jax’s struggles and young Stein’s Back to the Future dilemma, this episode really succeeded in celebrating the team’s status as a dysfunctional but close-knit family. Everyone mourned Stein’s death in their own way, resulting in a steady stream of hilarious and somber moments. Even Agent Sharpe was integrated into the conflict in a fun way. And if it wasn’t obvious that there’s a spark between Sharpe and Sara before, it definitely is now.Wentworth Miller’s return really helped speed things along this week. “Leo” Snart is a real blast – even more entertaining here than he was in “Crisis on Earth-X.” This episode reminded me how much the team dynamic lost when the original Snart was killed off in Season 1. Leo’s antics are a hoot, but the revamped Captain Cold/Heat Wave relationship proved very poignant as well. I’m thrilled that Miller, like Garber, is being given an opportunity to really have fun with his character before saying his final Arrowverse farewell.This episode proved very reminiscent of “Return of the Mack” in how an initially goofy storyline took a dark turn with the appearance of Damien Darhk. The fact that Grainne Godfree was a lead writer on both episodes is probably no coincidence. Fortunately, “Beebo the God of War” avoided falling victim to formula. The appearance of Darhk and his daughter merely served to add stakes to what would otherwise have been a fairly straightforward conflict. And it’s not like Darhk didn’t bring his own brand of hilarity to the table. His tacky Odin costume was simply divine (especially the wig). And you really have to appreciate those little stylistic flourishes, like the final showdown that played out more as a series of Rashomon-style daydreams than a straightforward battle.This episode was a perfect way to cap off 2017 and deliver the final word on Martin Stein.

CHRISTMAS 2017 REVIEW: LEGENDS OF TOMORROW – TURNCOAT

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MAIN CAST

Victor Garber (Alias)
Brandon Routh (Chuck)
Arthur Darvill (Doctor Who)
Caity Lotz (The Pact)
Franz Drameh (Edge of Tomorrow)
Matt Letscher (Her)
Maisie Richardson-Sellers (The Originals)
Nick Zano (2 Broke Girls)
Dominic Purcell (A Fighting Man)
Amy Louise Pemberton (Suspence)

RECURRING / NOTABLE GUEST STARS

Randall Batinkoff (As Good As It Gets)

Legends of Tomorrow delivered a Christmas-themed episode in feburary 2017 , making it only about a month-and-a-half late to the party. But when time travel is involved, you can always argue that’s Christmas somewhere (or some-when). “Turncoat” allowed Legends to keep delivering the fun, frantic action it’s been doing so well in season 2, while also going to some pretty dark and dramatic places along the way.Granted, I had my concerns going into this episode. Legends has been particularly strong since returning from its midseason hiatus, and it didn’t seem like reverting to the familiar formula of “The Legends go back in time and protect a famous historical dead dude” didn’t see like the best way of keeping the hot streak alive. And if this episode had focused mainly on the fight to protect George Washington (played by Randall Batinkoff), it probably would have floundered. The show’s portrayal of Washington was about as bland and straightforward as its Ulysses S. Grant from earlier this season. With his penchant for flowery speeches and obsession with military decorum, it’s like he walked straight out of an elementary school history textbook.Fortunately, Washington himself was more or less an afterthought here. The real focus was on the painful reunion between the Legends and their old captain, now rebooted as a nihilistic villain who’d rather trample over history than safeguard it. As fun as it was watching Arthur Darvill play Rip as a cowardly American hippie in recent episodes, it’s even more entertaining watching this new version. Perhaps in part because he doesn’t just come across as a brainwashed tool of the Legion of Doom. There was a real weight to Rip’s words as he reflected on his past self’s willingness to be manipulated by others and his failure to save his own family. While the new Rip may be a product of brainwashing, there’s little denying that he already existed somewhere in the old Rip’s mind. Once again, it’s great to see the writers pushing the character in such new and dramatic directions rather than simply roll him back into the cast as if nothing had changed.Evil Rip helped keep the conflict grounded throughout the episode. There was certainly plenty of the familiar Legends charm to go around. Mick’s narration in the opening credits alone took care of that, to say nothing of Ray’s mad dash through the Waverider’s air ducts or Professor Stein’s hilarious Dr. McCoy homage. But despite the healthy dose of humor, “Turncoat” actually proved to be one of the darker episodes of the season. Sara very nearly died at Rip’s hand. Jax was forced to take over as captain and found himself on the brink of shooting Rip. Professor Stein nearly had a panic attack while trying to save Sara. And while everything generally worked out in the end, there’s no getting around the fact that once again, the Legends allowed another priceless artifact to fall into the Legion’s clutches. This is a team that loses even when they win, and that’s a major source of their appeal.That dark turn definitely worked in Jax’s favor. He’s a character who tends to be used for comic relief or as a foil to Stein, so it was nice to see Jax front-and-center and really dealing with some complicated emotional baggage as he confronted Rip. His game of cat-and-mouse with Rip was nothing if not suspenseful, and his struggle to stop himself from killing his old captain felt very genuine. By the end it was hard not to root for Jax to gun down Rip given the emotional gauntlet he had just been through. Luckily, the writers seemed to know when to ease off the gas and let the darkness recede in favor of some good, old-fashioned Christmas charm. That impromptu celebration helped balance out the otherwise glum conclusion to this week’s conflict, while also reminding us what a tight-knit group the Legend shave become since first banding together to hunt Vandal Savage.It really seems like Legends of Tomorrow can do no wrong lately. Even in an episode that ran the risk of retreating into simpler, more formulaic time travel fare, the show managed to deliver a wildly entertaining adventure that balanced dark character drama, sexual tension and wacky superheroics. The debut of dark Rip Hunter is just one more inspired addition to a show that already has so much working in its favor.

CHRISTMAS 2017 REVIEW: ARROW – THE CLIMB

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THE CLIMB

CAST
Stephen Amell (Screamer 2)
Katie Cassidy (Black Xmas)
David Ramsey (Dexter)
Willa Holland (Legion)
Paul Blackthorne (The Dresden Files)
Emily Bett Rickards (Brooklyn)
John Barrowman (Torchwood)
Colton Haynes (Teen Wolf)

GUEST CAST

Brandon Routh (Superman Returns)
Kelly Hu (X-Men 2)
Matt Nable (Riddick)
Katrina Law (Spartacus)
Karl Yune (Reel Steel)
Rila Fukushima (The Wolverine)
Alex Kingston (Flashforward)

You can draw a lot of parallels between season 1’s Flash mid season finale and Arrow season 3’s. Both served as mid-season finales. Both prominently featured a major villain who had only appeared briefly in the past. There were many similarities, but the overall impact in this episode was stronger. Arrow needed a bigger, bolder villain this season, and it got one in Ra’s al Ghul. Even the opening of “The Climb” paralleled “The Man in the Yellow Suit,” as we were treated to a brief flash-forward of Ollie surmounting a cliff before the episode flashed back 48 hours earlier. This framing device was repeated several times throughout the episode, always serving to heighten the tension and the build-up to the final showdown between the Arrow and the Demon’s Head.
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There was a definite sense of increased momentum this week. The mystery behind Sara Lance’s murder again became the focus, with Ollie and the gang now given a strict 48-hour ultimatum to either turn over her killer or face the League’s wrath. After two months of build-up, we finally learned the killer’s identity. I can’t say I was surprised to learn it was Thea, between the DNA almost matching Ollie’s and the footage of her accompanying Malcolm Merlyn. But that wasn’t really the point. The conflict quickly became more about Ollie trying to understand why Thea could have committed such an act, and choosing how far he would go to defend his last living family member. This became a much more emotionally stirring conflict than a mere whodunit.
I was almost disappointed that Thea’s actions were explained away by the magical brainwashing root. It would be far more interesting if she had fired the arrows of her own free will and was forced to be held accountable for her actions. Though maybe Thea needed that level of sympathy to her actions given how much Ollie gave up for her in the end. In any case, it was cool to see Ollie and Thea briefly battle it out in their apartment. His stunned reaction upon realizing that his sister had become a martial arts whiz was pretty great. This conflict culminated on a great note as Ollie decided that he would rather throw himself to the wolves and be devoured rather than risk turning the League’s wrath on Thea. He definitely played right into Merlyn’s hand, but he didn’t have much choice. Any chance that Merlyn might have softened since his defeat two years ago is clearly gone. Having already manipulated Ollie and wormed his way out of the League’s crosshairs, Merlyn is free to carry out whatever the next stage of his plan might be. You have to wonder if he’ll prove to be the true villain of the season rather than Ra’s.
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Ollie bidding farewell to his friends was easily one of the most emotionally stirring moments of the season. It was pretty clear that he knew he was going to his death and acted accordingly. His goodbye to Felicity was powerful stuff. The confrontation with Ra’s didn’t disappoint either. In a lot of ways, Matt Nable is an odd choice to play the iconic villain. He’s more rugged and scruffy than you’d expect of the character, and even his accent is less refined than what we’ve seen in the past. But Nable does bring charisma and danger to the part. He also has the physicality to pull off a shirtless sword fight with a guy who spends 90% of his free time on a salmon ladder. Nable doesn’t look or sound much like Ra’s, but he manages to be Ra’s all the same. The sword duel was definitely a highlight of the episode. From Ra’s story about his first kill (“I replaced great evil with death.”) to his choice to fight without a blade of his own, it was clear how badly outmatched Ollie was. And even though our hero nearly got the drop on Ra’s at the end, death finally came him, as promised.
Now, obviously the writers aren’t going to kill off the show’s main character halfway into the third season. Ra’s offhand remark about Ollie being the first person in 67 years to challenge him was full with meaning. It all but confirms that Lazarus Pits exist in this universe and that Ra’s uses them. The writers also found time for several subplots in between all the League business. Laurel continued to mourn her sister’s death, with the added complication that her mother briefly returned to town. Laurel’s confession was nonetheless another key emotional moment in an already emotional episode. Arrow never disappoints when it comes to finales (mid-season or otherwise). This episode offered a steady stream of tension and emotional drama as Ollie learned the truth about his sister and chose to confront his own death. Both Ra’s al Ghul and Malcolm Merlyn emerged as clear and present threats to Starling City.

REVIEW: VIXEN: THE MOVIE

CAST (VOICES)

Megalyn Echikunwoke (The 400)
Stephen Ammell (Arrow)
Grant Gustin (The Flash)
Emily Bett Rickards (Arrow)
Victor Garber (Titanic)
Brandon Routh (Chuck)
Franz Dremeh (Edge of Tomorrow)
Katie Cassid (Black Christmas)
Carlos Valdes (The Flash)
Aika Noni Rose (Dreamgirls)
Sean Patrick Thomas (Cruel Intentions)
Kari Wuhrer (Hellraiser: Deader)
Kevin Michael Richardson (The Cleveland Show)
Fred Tatasciore (Hulk vs)
Neil Flynn (Scrubs)
Toks Olagundoye (The Neighbours)

When Mari returns to Detroit after searching for information on her birth parents, she ends up in jail for stabbing a potential employer in the hand with a pen. Her foster father, Chuck, posts her bail, and the two are confronted in an alley by some thugs looking to take Mari’s Tantu Totem, which she inherited from her birth parents at a young age. Mari uses the totem’s powers to defeat the thugs, and the next day, visits Professor Macalester hoping to learn more about the totem and her family. Elsewhere, at S.T.A.R. Labs, Cisco becomes aware of Mari and her powers, and the Flash and the Arrow go to Detroit to investigate. In Detroit, Mari shows Chuck the totem’s powers, when Barry and Oliver show up at their house. Convinced they want to imprison her, she flees, with the two heroes giving chase. Finally getting Mari to stop, the Flash and Arrow try to convince Mari to let them help her. Not trusting them, Mari leaves and returns to Professor Macalester in hopes of getting more answers. Unbeknownst to Mari, Macalester is working for Kuasa, who shows up looking to retrieve the totem. Unable to remove the totem from her neck, Mari tries to escape and is shot by Kuasa’s men. She wakes up in an abandoned African village near the river of Zambezi, where Kuasa reveals she is her older sister and this is her birthplace, telling her the history of the totem and the village’s destruction. Kuasa reveals she was chosen to protect the totem and attempts to sever the bond it has with Mari. The attempt fails and Mari flees, though she passes out shortly after, allowing Kuasa to claim the totem. After coming to, the animal spirits of the totem confront Mari, telling her she is its true wielder. With their support, Mari returns to the village and defeats Kuasa and her followers, regaining the totem. Back in Detroit, Mari begins fighting crime as the vigilante “Vixen”, finally knowing her purpose in life, with Arrow and Flash promising to offer assistance should she ever ask.Months after returning to Detroit, Mari attends a lecture by Macalester on the five totems of Zambezi, which grant their wearers the powers of the elemental forces–air, earth, water, fire, and spirit. He reveals that the fire totem has been found, and would be on display at the Detroit Museum. Mari confronts Macalester about kidnapping her, and he tells her her Tantu Totem is also one of the lost totems of Zambezi, the spirit totem. Mari gets a call from Cisco to help the Flash and Firestorm defeat Weather Wizard. Mari ends up in the hospital after fighting Weather Wizard, and learns that the fire totem and other gems had been stolen from the Detroit Museum. Searching for the person who performed the heist, she eventually learns that Benatu Eshu has stolen the fire totem, traveling from Zambezi to claim it. As she confronts him, Eshu claims to know Mari’s birth mother.The two fight, but Eshu proves too powerful for Mari. Mari goes to Macalester to find a way to stop the fire totem and he suggests they visit Kuasa. Finding her in an African hospital, Kuasa tells them that Eshu was a general who raided their village in search of Kuasa and Mari’s mother and the Tantu Totem. She suggests that in order to defeat Eshu, they must find the water totem, which leads them to Star City. Once they find the water totem, Kuasa double crosses Mari and takes the totem for herself. Mari gives chase and is able to contain Kuasa with the help of Black Canary and the Atom. Felicity Smoak informs the heroes that Eshu is rampaging through Detroit, which makes Mari reluctantly ask Kuasa to help them defeat Eshu. The heroes travel to Detroit to confront Eshu, where Macalester calls Mari and tells her that each totem has a core, which, if destroyed, will cause the totem to lose their powers. The heroes are quickly overpowered, and despite her use of the water totem, Eshu kills Kuasa, leaving Mari the only one remaining. Mari is able to subdue Eshu underwater to weaken him, and takes the fire totem. Macalester arrives to tell her that in order sever Eshu’s ties to the totem, it needs to be smashed by someone with great strength. Mari summons many spirits from the animal kingdom and is able to destroy the totem. Later, she joins Green Arrow, Flash, Black Canary and Atom in Coast City to take on a threat.Vixen is based on the DC Character Mari McCabe / Vixen, a costumed superhero crime-fighter with the power to mimic the abilities of any animal that has ever lived on Earth. The series is set in the same fictional universe as Arrow, The Flash, and Legends of Tomorrow. The “Movie” is the entire series of shorts put together as  a film. A lot of the stuff that Vixen can do would be very hard to pull off on a TV budget, which is why introducing her this way is so important.  I’ll admit that the 5 minute segments can be a bit annoying at times, but it gives that need for the next chapter so all-in-all, the formula works. It’s great to see the series as one whole entity.

REVIEW: ARROW – SUICIDAL TENDENCIES

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MAIN CAST

Stephen Ammell (Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 2)
Katie Cassidy (Black Xmas)
David Ramsey (Dexter)
Willa Holland (Legion)
Emily Bett Rickards (Brooklyn)
Colton Haynes (Scream Queens)
Paul Blackthorne (Dumb and Dumber To)

RECURRING / NOTABLE GUEST CAST

Brandon Routh (Superman Returns)
Audrey Marie Anderson (The Unit)
Cynthia Addai-Robinson (The Accountant)
Karl Yune (Real Steel)
Amy Gumenick (Natlee Holloway)
Christina Cox (Defying Gravity)
Carmen Moore (Andromeda)
Michael Rowe (Tomorrowland)
Steven Culp (Code Black)

It’s celebration time as Diggle and Lyla get married. However, Deadshot interrupts their honeymoon and tells them the Suicide Squad has been given a new mission – rescue United States Senator Joseph Cray from a hostage situation in the Republic of Kasnia. Amanda Waller breaks down the mission and introduced them to the newest member of the Suicide Squad, Cupid. Meanwhile, Oliver learns about Ray’s new Atom costume and the two have a heated stand-off. Felicity and Ray hit a rough patch.mv5bmtaxmtmynzg4mdneqtjeqwpwz15bbwu4mdaynjewndex-_v1_Last week left off with Ras framing Arrow of plenty of murders and the episode directly addressed that with Ray Palmer AKA The Atom going after Arrow. Just as Captain Cold finding out about Barry’s identity last night felt forced to form an alliance between the two for the spin off show, tonight was the same with Palmer finding out about Oliver. Ray has become a pretty likable character so it was different to see him so quickly turn on Oliver like that. And knowing the amount of Olicity fans, myself being one of them, it was annoying seeing that storyline continue. Not to mention the awkward moment when Ray ministered Diggle and Lyla’s wedding. But how awesome was that moment when Diggle threatened Ray about Felicity? Also, I have really liked Audrey Marie Anderson as the Lyla character, but it seems like they are heading down a dark path with her. The whole ‘never letting you go’ parts of tonight felt like they are setting up an emotional death scene. Especially considering the fact that episode 20 is titled ‘The Fallen’.
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Tonight also focused on Floyd Lawton/Deadshot. The back and forth between Lawton and Diggle has been terrific and I have grown to enjoy the love-hate relationship the two have. So to see Lawton go down like he did was pretty rough and didn’t seem like a fitting ending to the character, but the flashbacks helped make the character come full circle. Let’s also remember the character was ‘dead’ before, and he came back several times. The rest of the Suicide Squad took down some senator. That story was just a device and didn’t seem to need much screen time but I will always agree to seeing more Amy Gumenick on screen. Her character, although over-the-top has worked both times and I would welcome a future return. It’s also worth mentioning that HIVE was brought up in the flashbacks. We have heard of the organization before and they become a prominent part of  season 4.

REVIEW: ARROW – SEASON 4

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MAIN CAST

Stephen Amell (Screamers 2)
Katie Cassidy (Black Xmas)
David Ramsey (Con Air)
Willa Holland (Legion)
Emily Bett Rickards (Brooklyn)
John Barrowman (Torchwood)
Paul Blackthorne (The River)
Image result for arrow season 4 green arrowRECURRING / NOTABLE GUEST CAST

Neal McDonough (Minority Report)
Grant Gustin (Glee)
Audrey Marie Anderson (Lie To Me)
Cynthia Addai-Robinson (Spartacus)
Enid-Raye Adams (Final Destination 2)
Echo Kellum (Ben and Kate)
Jimmy Akingbola (Holby City)
Alexander Calvert (The Returned)
Elysia Rotaru (Supernatural)
Jeri Ryan (Star Trek: Voyager)
Katrina Law (Spartacus)
Ryan Robbins (Sanctuary)
JR Bourne (Stargate SG.1)
Rutina Wesley (Hannibal)
Matt Ryan (Constantine)
Parker Young (Suburgatory)
Brandon Routh (Superman Returns)
Charlotte Ross (NYPD Blue)
Eugene Byrd (Bones)
Danielle Panabaker (The Crazies)
Carlos Valdes (The Flash)
Ciara Renee (Legends of Tomorrow)
Casper Crump (The Legend of Tarzan)
Falk Hentschel (Knight and Day)
Anna Hopkins (Defiance)
Peter Francis James (Oz)
Lynda Boyd (Power Rangers In Space)
Janet Kidder (Earth: Final Conflict)
James Kidnie (Robocop: The Series)
Colton Haynes (Scream Queens)
Celian Jade (Legendary Assassin)
Rila Fukushima (The Wolverine)
Tom Amandes (Brokedown Palace)
Daniel Cudmore (X-Men 2)
Rachel Luttrell (Stargate: Atlantis)
Megalyn Echikunwoke (That 70s Show)
Amy Gumenick (Greek)
Adrian Holmes (Smallville)
Jason Schombing (Mutant X)
Emily Kinney (The Walking Dead)
Madison McLaughlin (Major Crimes)
Alex Kingston (Flashforward)
Adrian Glynn McMorran (50/50)
Vinnie Jones (The Cape)
Nolan Gerard Funk (Riddick)

Image result for arrow RestorationMy name is Oliver Queen. For five years I was stranded on an island with only one goal: survive. Now I will fulfill my father’s dying wish. To use the list of names he left me and bring down those who are poisoning my city. To do this, I must become someone else, I must become … something else.” The quote that has started a journey of an era and for many of us introduced us to the “Emerald archer” . The Fourth Season sees our hero finally become Green Arrow as aposed to The Hood or just The Arrow.

Image result for arrow The season started was excellent we are introduced with change, the “relaunch” of Oliver’s identity and a brand new arrow cave. To top it all off we are finally introduced to Damien Darhk and the secret organization of HIVE. This all brings us one good big package of an extremely great season. The early part of the season was a build up to Legends and the huge two, night crossover event which introduced savage and the hawks. Then season gets back to the main story of Damien Darhk. With the Christmas episode of the Year being the mid season cliffhanger leaving Felicity Smoak at deaths door, Showing just how far Damien will go to get his way.Image result for arrow Legends of YesterdayHaving a Villain with magical powers was a nice twist for Arrow making him different from the villains that have come before. The theme of this season was tied in very good to be honest, through the main villain’s name and the character types of most characters on this show. Basically it was accepting the inner darkness within you, which was portrayed quite well throughout the episodes. On top of all this darkness, the main cast was trying to find hope in their struggles or the lack of hope more or so. Arrow was always a dark show even from season 1 it was pretty dark, so it was appropriate for season 4 to continue the trend. Towards the end you see other characters grow darkness inside of them, and team arrow slowly splitting apart during these dark times. Also we get to see more of the darkness that happened to Ollie back on the island which wasn’t great for the most part of it, but at least they got that dark message across.One of the biggest highlights this year was John Constantine played by Matt Ryan making an appearance. I was a huge fan of the short lived Constantine TV Show so it was to have him return on Arrow, which could lead to more appearances throughout the arrowverse.

Image result for arrow dark watersSara Lance’s resurrection is also a highlight, many were sad to see her killed off during the first episode of season 3. When Legends of Tomorrow was announced and the first teaser showed Sara Lance alive and well using the new hero identity White Canary, it left fans wondering how her resurrection would happen. Thankfully fans of the comics knew the powers of The Lazarus Pit, which was also used to help Thea (Speedy) during season 3. Having the pit destroyed was a good idea too. If it hadn’t been vanquished then you could use it as an easy to bring characters back.Image result for arrow Blood DebtsRay Palmer also gets a resurrection,. Although many knew he wasn’t dead and that he had most likely just shrunk, his return also led to his role on Legends of Tomorrow, which nice to see Brandon Routh getting a main role.

Image result for arrow takenDuring the first episode of the season we were shown a grave where Oliver and Barry are shown standing over it without giving away who was in it, then near the end of the season we find out. When it was revealed  that Black Canary aka Dinah Laurel Lance was the victim it sent shockwaves throughout the fandom, seeing as how They were regular lovers in the comics.  I see it as a nice change as not have to copy what the comics do. We know that Katie Cassidy will be appearing throughout the Arrowverse in the upcoming seasons of the various shows, so it will be interesting in what format she returns.

Image result for arrow SchismI’m a huge fan of the Arrowverse and love all the shows (Arrow, The Flash, Legends of Tomorrow and Supergirl) Arrow Season was great it had great action, heartbreaking moments and a great villain. It will be interesting to see where season 5 takes the characters.