REVIEW: THE KITCHEN

Starring

Melissa McCarthy (Spy)
Tiffany Haddish (Night School)
Elisabeth Moss (US)
Domhnall Gleeson (Mother!)
Brian d’Arcy James (Bombshell)
James Badge Dale (Iron Man 3)
Jeremy Bobb (Jessica Jones)
Bill Camp (Joker)
Margo Martindale (The Boss)
Common (Wanted)
Wayne Duvall (Lincoln)
Annabella Sciorra (The Hand That Rocks The Cradle)
Tina Benko (That Awkward Moment)
Lenny Venito (The Nieghbours)

Elisabeth Moss, Melissa McCarthy, and Tiffany Haddish in The Kitchen (2019)In Hell’s Kitchen 1978, three women are married to members of the Irish mob, Kathy and her reluctant but kind husband Jimmy, African-American Ruby is married to Kevin, the son of Helen and heir to the mob empire, and timid Claire is married to Rob, who abuses her.One night, the men are busted by FBI agents and sentenced to three years in prison. Little Jackie becomes head of the mob and tells the wives they’ll be taken care of, but the money isn’t enough for the women to survive. When the women discover that the local businesses paying protection fees are not happy under Little Jackie, they begin collecting protection fees and helping out the neighborhood, making a profit and becoming beloved in the community. When Jackie finds out, he goes after the women, but is killed by Gabriel O’Malley, a former Irish mob enforcer called in by Ruby. With Jackie out of the way, and Gabriel as their enforcer, the women begin running the neighborhood and Gabriel and Claire begin a relationship.Elisabeth Moss, Melissa McCarthy, and Tiffany Haddish in The Kitchen (2019)The women eventually are ordered to meet with Alfonso Coretti, the head of the Italian mafia. He suggests they make a deal and tells them he’s arranged for their husbands to be released from prison. Knowing that this will threaten the women’s power, Coretti says he’ll support them and give them more of the city to control, and the women take the deal. When the husbands get out of prison, Kevin thinks he’s still in charge, Jimmy pressures Kathy for them to leave their life of crime, and Rob is furious that Claire has left him for Gabriel. When Rob tracks Claire down, she kills him. After Rob’s murder, Corettti tells the women that a contract has been placed on them by members of their own gang. Ruby offers more money for the mafia to kill Kevin and two other gangsters. The hit goes through, but Claire is killed when a younger member comes back to exact revenge.The Kitchen (2019)After Claire’s funeral, Kathy realizes that Ruby has been paying off one of the FBI agents. Ruby explains that she set up their husbands to be caught on the night they were originally arrested, so she could take over. Kathy later finds that Jimmy has taken her children against her will to Coretti because he was unhappy about not having a place in the business. Feeling betrayed, Kathy leaves, allowing Coretti to kill Jimmy. Ruby asks Kathy to meet her at a vendor. When Kathy arrives, she finds that Ruby and Gabriel are planning to kill her, but Kathy has brought all of the local Irishmen as backup. Gabriel admits he only got back into the life because he loved Claire and leaves. Kathy tells Ruby that the only way the two of them will survive is if they work together, so the women reconcile, with plans to take on Uptown next.The story doesn’t hold any huge surprises, but it is well told, and varies here and there from its source material. There is some graphic violence, and some very ripe language. Generally, I enjoyed it.

REVIEW: WATCHMEN – SEASON 1

Regina King in Watchmen (2019)

Main Cast

Regina King (The Big Bang Theory)
Don Johnson (Cold In July)
Tim Blake Nelson (Fantastic Four)
Yahya Abdul-Mateen II (Aquaman)
Andrew Howard (The Outpost)
Tom Mison (Sleepy Hollow)
Sara Vickers (Endeavour)
Dylan Schombing (Sharp Objects)
Louis Gossett Jr. (The Punisher)
Jeremy Irons (Batman V Superman)
Jean Smart (Legion)
Hong Chau (Artemis Fowl)

Recurring / Notable Guest Cast

Jacob Ming-Trent (Ray Donovan)
Jessica Camacho (The Flash)
Frances Fisher (Titanic)
Wayne Pére (Cloak & Dagger)
James Wolk (Mad men)
Jim Beaver (Breaking Bad)
Robert Wisdom (The Dark Knight Rises)
Cheyenne Jackson (Descendats 3)
Dustin Ingram (The Magicians)
David Andrews (Terminator 3)
Lee Tergesen (The Purge TV)
Robert Pralgo (The Vampire Diaries)
Paula Malcomson (Caprica)
Jovan Adepo (Mother!)
Jake McDorman (Limitless TV)
Anatole Taubman (Hex)

Watchmen is a bold, ambitious show. There’s no mistaking it for some wallflower or small, quiet drama. This is a big-budget, high-profile production that declares its presence. You can’t ignore it and you wouldn’t want to because it’s extremely compulsive viewing. The latest offering from HBO, the nine-episode Watchmen is based on Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons’ iconic and beloved 1980s comic book series of the same name.Jeremy Irons in Watchmen (2019)Before you roll your eyes and chuck a Scorsese or Coppola and go, “oh, it’s a comics thing,” know that Watchmen strikes a hard-to-achieve balance between spectacle and groundedness. And you don’t need to be familiar with the comics or the 2009 Zack Snyder movie adaptation to dig in. Created for TV by Lost and The Leftovers’ Damon Lindelof, this version of Watchmen has been described as more of a companion series. Lindelof explained it as, if the comics were the Old Testament, then this series is the New Testament — and there are still plenty of Easter eggs and direct references for old fans.The original comics were set in the mid-1980s and the TV show time jumps to our present day, 2019. So it’s set some 30 years after the events of the books, and only carries over a handful of the characters. The world of Watchmen is similar to ours except there’s no internet, throngs of tiny squid sometimes rain from the sky and Robert Redford has been the US president since the 1990s.The early focus is on Angela Abar (Regina King), a Tulsa, Oklahoma police detective whose masked persona is known as Sister Night. To the outside world, she’s a retired cop after a calamitous event some three years earlier. But in reality, she’s one of legion of masked cops who now have to hide their identities for fear of retribution against them and their families — despite the fact vigilante heroes are now outlawed.Yahya Abdul-Mateen II in Watchmen (2019)The villain(s) of the series is a white supremacist group called The Seventh Cavalry who have co-opted the now-dead anti-hero Rorschach’s image on their masks. They’re the ones who are violently targeting police in Tulsa. But when both the good guys and the bad guys wear masks, who can you really trust? In Watchmen, the police go too far, meting out extrajudicial justice with little hesitation. At one point, one character says to another, “You know how you can tell the difference between a masked cop and a vigilante?” to which the other responds, “No”. While the show exists in an alternate version of our world and many of its markers feel heightened and exaggerated, it feels very resonant of America in 2019. The series is racially charged and declares itself so in the opening sequence which is a dramatisation of the real-life Tulsa race riots in which white mobs killed hundreds of African-Americans and injured even more.Regina King in Watchmen (2019)Watchmen plays in the grey space between black and white with its moral complexity. While we follow Angela, she also commits acts we personally wouldn’t approve of from our own law enforcement. This constant negotiation of our empathies is the kind of layered storytelling Lindelof excels in, having done so previously in The Leftovers, another HBO series. Watchmen is packed with striking visuals — the first two episodes are directed by Nicole Kassell — and the production values are extraordinary, including a visceral score by Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross. Clearly a lot of money has been spent and it shows. The pilot episode is strong and has a great twist that guarantees you’ll be back for more. It also features compelling performances from Oscar winner King, Don Johnson as Tulsa police chief Judd Crawford, Tim Blake Nelson as Looking Glass and Louis Gossett Jr as the mysterious Will Reeve. These are new characters to the Watchmen world.Among the comic original characters, there’s Jeremy Irons as Adrian Veidt, also known as Ozymandias, who is now exiled (as it were) in a luxurious country estate where he delights in strange games with his strange servants. But it’s Jean Smart as Laurie Blake/Silk Spectre who steals the third episode, which is her first appearance. The former superhero is now working for the FBI in the anti-vigilante squad and her combination of no-bullshit tenacity, concealed vulnerability and killer instincts make her a magnetic character. The very blue-hued and powered Doctor Manhattan will also appear. Watchmen is a thrilling and scintillating series that is sure to find armies of fans, old and new, who will undoubtedly be besotted. You might as well see for yourself what they’re all going to be obsessing about.

 

25 DAYS OF CHRISTMAS REVIEW: BATMAN: THE BRAVE AND THE BOLD – INVASION OF THE SECRET SANTAS

INVASION OF THE SECRET SANTAS

CAST
Diedrich Bader (Vampires Suck)
Corey Burton (Transformers)
Will Friedle (Batman Beyond)
James Arnold Taylor (Star wars: Clone Wars)
Thomas F. Wilson (Back to The Future)
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The episode opens with the type of quick prologue scene I’ve come to expect from this series, this time with Batman and the new Blue Beetle preventing the villainous Sportsmaster from terrorizing a bowling tournament. The scene works largely because of the humorous Beetle/Batman dynamic that the pilot episode explored so wonderfully, but falls far short of coming off as inspired and energetic as that premiere felt as a whole. The episode then picks up considerably as it shifts gears to focus on its main story, with the android superhero Red Tornado attempting to understand the concept of Christmas Spirit as he and Batman aim to thwart the apologetically silly rogue Funhouse from ruining the holiday for Gotham’s citizens.
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The specifics of Funhouse’s devious plans are all mostly hilarious, and include faking a Neptunian invasion aimed at capturing Santa Claus and rigging the hot toy of the Christmas season to steal presents from underneath its recipient’s Christmas tree. Though these plot points are all amusing in their own right, they’re mostly set-up for a number of hilarious gags involving Batman, like the moment that sees the Caped Crusader punch the head off a rampaging robot Santa, then turn to two horrified young onlookers and request that they “pretend they didn’t see that.” Red Tornado also enjoyed a few great moments, and I got a good laugh out of watching the emotionless android attempt to understand the spirit of Christmas by decorating his house and singing Christmas carols at his neighbor’s doorstep, which is of course done with the typical deadpan delivery of an android. The whole adventure leads to the expected pay-off of seeing both heroes realize the true meaning of Christmas, but the goofy exuberance of the episode went a long way in making both characters’ epiphany moments seem fresh and inspired.
The end result is an episode that provides an awesomely wacky Christmas tale that can be enjoyed by children and adults alike.

25 DAYS OF CHRISTMAS REVIEW: JUSTICE LEAGUE – COMFORT AND JOY

JusticeLeague
COMFORT AND JOY
MAIN CAST
Maria Canals-Barrera (America’s Sweethearts)
Phil LaMarr (Free Enterprise)
Carl Lumbly (Alias)
George Newbern (Father of The Bride)
Michael Rosenbaum (Smallville)
JL_ComfortJoy_Recap_7
GUEST CAST
Ian Buchanan (Panic Room)
Mike Farrell (Vanishing Act)
Shelley Fabares (Coach)
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On an alien planet, the Justice League works together to assemble a machine that will prevent it from colliding with another planet, thus saving its population. Their mission is a success, and the League looks forward to the Christmas season – except perhaps J’onn J’onzz and Hawkgirl, who are unfamiliar with Earth’s holidays. Green Lantern, noticing the beauty of the snow-covered planet, decides to stay behind. He tries to show Hawkgirl the fun of playing in the snow, and they get into a furious snowball fight. She responds by showing him her idea of a celebration: taking him to a rough bar on an outlying alien moon. They raise a glass together, then Hawkgirl touches off a massive bar fight.
 Flash makes his annual visit to the Central City orphanage, to ask the kids what they want for Christmas. They eagerly show him a commercial for a toy, “D.J. Rubber Ducky” but Flash finds all the stores sold out. He runs directly to Japan, and manages to get the last one from the factory. Returning to Central City, he is distracted by Ultra-Humanite, on a destructive rampage through a modern art museum. In the ensuing fight, the toy is destroyed when the Humanite falls onto it, and Flash is devastated. Touched, Humanite calls a truce and agrees to fix the toy and surrender himself. He accompanies Flash to the orphanage, though wants to go to jail quickly after this. Flash is surprised to find that Humanite has modified the toy, which previously spoke in rap lyrics and made flatulent noises, to give a musically-accompanied narration of The Nutcracker ballet.
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Clark Kent insists that J’onn accompany him home for the holidays. His parents, Jonathan and Martha Kent, welcome J’onn, but he still feels slightly uncomfortable. He takes a walk on the streets of Smallville on Christmas Eve, impressed by the cheerful friendliness of the passers-by. Telepathically hearing a little girl question the existence of Santa Claus, J’onn flies up and lands on her roof, reaching down the chimney to eat the cookies she left out. His final stop is a church where inside people are singing carols. Humanite returns to jail, where Flash thanks him for his help. Humanite notes he welcomes any opportunity to bring culture to children. Flash gives Humanite an aluminum Christmas tree, which Humanite finds surprisingly touching. In the bar, John is passed out after the fight; Hawkgirl kisses him on the cheek and wishes him a Merry Christmas. Clark awakes on Christmas Day, and listens with his parents as J’onn, who has reverted to his normal Martian form, sings a hauntingly beautiful song in his native language while caressing Streaky.
A great animated festive episode, Superman acting like a big kid at Christmas was a huge highlight. As was Hawkgirl and Johns celebration of the holidays, It was so nice to see the Justice League team enjoying themselves for the holidays.

25 DAYS OF CHRISTMAS REVIEW: THE NEW BATMAN ADVENTURES: HOLIDAY KNIGHTS

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HOLIDAY KNIGHTS

CAST
Kevin Conroy (Batman Beyond)
Bob Hastings (Wonder Woman)
Matthew Valencia (Lawnmower Man 2)
Robert Costanzo (Total Recall)
Liane Schirmer (Batman: TAS)
Tara Strong (Sabrina Goes To Rome)
Mark Hamill (The Flash)
Ron Perlman (Hellboy)
Arleen Sokin (Comic Book: The Movie)
Diane Pershing (Gotham Girls)
Marilu Henner (The Crazy Ones)

December 22

Harley Quinn bemoans her fate to her friend, Poison Ivy, as they stay holed up in a scuzzy hotel. With a raised eyebrow of devious foreboding, Ivy assures her that she has a plan that will make it “the happiest holiday ever”. Later on, at the Vreeland estate, we catch up with Bruce having a pleasant conversation with heartthrob Veronica about forthcoming vacation plans. Much to “Brucey’s” chagrin, his quiet moment is interrupted by a gaggle of suitors all intent on snagging a moment with Gotham’s most eligible bachelor under the mistletoe. Backing away in order to make an escape, he finds himself in the arms of a shadowy female figure who – seizing him by his necktie – plants a big one right on his kisser. Finding himself completely discombobulated as to what exactly just transpired, he makes his way outside with the intent to head home.
On his way to his car, however, he’s intercepted by Poison Ivy and Harley Quinn, with a look on his face like he cannot resist their every command no matter how hard he tries. While in the car, Harley kindly reveals exactly what happened: Poison Ivy used a special lipstick laced with a chemical in order to infect Bruce, via the aforementioned kiss. They also boldly pronounce that they intend to have a night on the town at Mr. Wayne’s expense. The girls shop endlessly buying clothes and jewels, all the while Bruce begrudgingly (yet uncontrollably) puts it all on his credit cards. Finally, Bruce begins building up a will as the chemical’s potency begins to wane. Vocalizing his discontent, the girls decide it’s time for another dose; backing away from Harley’s approach, however, Bruce falls down a conveniently placed ‘out of order’ open elevator shaft. Believing the slip to be his last, Harley and Ivy leave Bruce for dead, yet as they turn their backs and walk away, a portentous hand reaches out of the abyss and grips the edge of the floor. As the duo burn rubber away from Bergduffs Department Store, the silhouette of the Batman can be seen swooping after them. When Harley spots him through the back window, Ivy wastes no time in making an escape: she grabs the wheel of the car and ram raids the Wacko Toys shop. Probing through the pitch black with his flashlight, Batman soon needn’t wonder where they’ve gone to as a huge toy soldier comes crashing down nearly upon him. Looking up, he can see them taunting him atop a citadel of toys. Not one to decline a challenge, Batman eagerly ascends the tower only to find a boxing glove by Poison Ivy and a wooden sledge hammer from Harley Quinn. Plummeting to the bottom, the girls cannot resist a gloat as they make – what they believe will be – their exit. But the quick minded Batman has other plans: he uses his grappling hook to snag the base of a massive Christmas tree, which he then yanks hard, causing it to topple over directly on the would-be escapees.

December 24

In Mayfields Department Store, Barbara is just purchasing a new tie for her father when all of a sudden an ear-piercing wail cuts through the air. The shop attendant comments on how they’ve been crying all day, at which point we see why: Harvey Bullock is playing Santa. With his partner, Montoya, he’s on a stakeout. Bullock, showing rare sensitivity, comforts a young girl who’s father he put in prison, and winds up giving her cash to soothe her Christmastime woes.
Barbara, walking through the store, happens to spot a child shoplifting, but when she tries to apprehend him, his clothes and hand seem to dissolve into nothing. Then, Montoya gets a call through her earpiece that detectives are in pursuit of four child bandits in the store. Just when the children seem to be trapped, they meld together into… Clayface. He begins tearing up the place and no one can stop him, that is, until Barbara gets changed into her Batgirl outfit and delivers a blow to the head the sends him crashing out the window and into the skating rink below. Montoya and Bullock arrive on the scene and with a little guidance from Batgirl, succeed in halting the giant shapeshifter by way of electrocution.


December 31

In Commissioner Gordon’s office, Batman and Robin have just reviewed a taped broadcast by the Joker, who reveals some good news and bad news: the good news is that for the next year, he will not kill anyone; the bad news is that he intends to make up for the loss in activity that very night. Gordon tells Batman the only murder that day was a GothCorp scientist who specialized in sonics. This Dr. Erikson had been working on a sonic based weapon powerful enough to kill anyone in ‘earshot’. Using some rudimentary deductive skills, Batman concludes that the New Year’s Day countdown at Gotham Square is assuredly the place where the Joker will set off the bomb.
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Indeed, the Joker is setting up, and Batman is close at hand, but – always with a trick up his sleeve – the Joker has prepared a mass of plastic joker masks in order to help him blend in with the crowd. Batman is not amused. Using his ‘Batnoculars’, he easily spies the real Joker (with a huge clown wearing ear muffs on either side of him) playing the piano on stage. So just before swooping in, he makes his presence known with a well-timed Batarang to the head, removing the Joker’s ear muffs. Then, instead of going after the Joker directly, Batman and Robin take out the muscle on either side of him. This seemingly simple task, however, proves to be too much for the caped crusaders and they find themselves in the clutches of the Clown Prince of Crime. As the bell is rising to ring in the New Year, the Joker is having himself one final gloat by standing next to Batman with a bottle of champagne. The ever-alert Dark Knight snatches the bottle and sprays it all over the controls, shorting the wires and eventually exploding the bell’s pulley, resulting in a falling, massively heavy bell. As luck would have it, the giant object lands right on the Joker.
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A few hours after midnight, Gordon enters a small tavern and has a seat, while the barkeep ushers out the remnants of the punters. He speculates that “he” might not show due to the hectic day “he’s” had, but the Commissioner is sure he will show so not to break tradition. Naturally, it’s Batman who they’re talking about and who makes an entrance from the kitchen. He sits; they chat for about ten seconds; he slips away like a shadow, leaving money for the bill behind. Gordon, surprised, swears that one day he’ll beat him to the check, then heads home with a swinging Bat close behind him.
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 A Great Holiday episode showing how Batman, Batgirl and Robin spend the holiday season fighting the bad guys. the villains of the episodes are all brilliant and each bring there own villainy to the capers. The ending is touching showing just how much respect batman and Jim Gordon have for each other

25 DAYS OF CHRISTMAS REVIEW: SMALLVILLE – THE CHRISTMAS EPISODES

Image result for SMALLVILLE LOGO
MAIN CAST
Tom Welling (The Fog)
Kristin Kreuk (Beauty and The Beast)
Michael Rosenbaum (Cursed)
Erica Durance (The Butterfly Effect 2)
Allison Mack (Riese)
John Glover (Batman & Robin)
Annette O’Toole (IT)
John Schneider (The Dukes of Hazzard)
Aaron Ashmore (The Skulls 2)

LEXMAS

GUEST CAST
Kenneth Welsh (The Day After Tomorrow)
Alisen Down (Stargate Universe)
Adrian Holmes (Cabin In The Woods)
Jerry Wasserman (Watchmen)
Lex drives into a dark alley to meet Griff, who is being paid to do whatever Lex wants to destroy Jonathan in the race for State Senator. Lex hesitates and says that he wants 24 hours to decide if he wants to go down that path. As he heads for his car, he is mugged and shot, and left for dead in the street.
Lex’s Dream: It is Christmas Eve. Lex wakes up, shocked to see a very pregnant Lana in bed next to him. He also has a young son, Alexander. Lex lifts up his shirt and sees the scar on his side from the gun shot. His dead mother, Lillian, appears to Lex and says that it is not a dream and this can be his life if he makes the right choices. Lex is then seen to be lying unconscious in an alley.
Reality: At the farm, the Kents are getting ready for Christmas, and Clark has invited Lana to spend it with them. Clark gets an urgent call from Chloe, who is still at the Planet . The scene shifts to Lex being transported to the hospital as the doctors try to save his life. He slips back into his dream.
Lana says that it has been seven years since Lionel cut Lex out of the family fortune. He takes his son to go buy a Christmas tree. At the tree farm, Lex sees Clark and Chloe. Clark is now a full-fledged reporter at the Daily Planet and Chloe is publishing a book next month exposing LuthorCorp with Lex’s help.
In reality, Lionel is speaking with the doctors at the Hospital and demands to speak to the doctor in charge in order to push a risky surgery. In Metropolis, Clark meets Chloe at the Planet, and she explains that her Teamsters went on strike, and the thousands of presents they collected for Toys for Tots will be undelivered unless he helps her out. Clark agrees to help her distribute the toys. While zipping through the city, he sees a man dressed in a Santa Claus costume about to jump off a building with a liquor bottle in his hand. He says he was going to jump because the Christmas spirit is dead. Clark objects and tells him about how he gave up his first Christmas with Lana to help Chloe deliver toys. When Santa falls off, Clark saves him and sends him on his way. Dr. Scanlan explains to Lionel that Lex will most likely be paralyzed from the chest down because he is too unstable for surgery or transfer. Despite this, Lionel transfers Lex to the Davis Clinic in Metropolis for immediate but extremely risky surgery.
In the alternate reality, Lex and Lana Luthor go to the party at the Kents’ house. Jonathan Kent is now the current State Senator. He says that Lex is the best man he knows and announces that Lex will receive the Kansas Humanitarian Award. Lex steps outside where his mother’s spirit is. He marvels that he’s never been happier and she tells him that he could have this happiness in reality if he makes the right choice. He doesn’t understand but when he asks for more information, she disappears. Clark approaches and muses that he and Lana didn’t work out because Lex became a man she could love. However, they are still on good terms. Their conversation is interrupted by Martha, who reports that Lana has gone into labor. Lana delivers a baby girl on Christmas Eve. However, she starts to rapidly lose blood. Lex goes to Lionel in the Luthor Mansion to beg for resources to save his wife, but Lionel refuses to help them because Lex betrayed him seven years ago by dropping out of the Senate race. He tells him that he has no son. Lana dies and Lillian appears again. Lex tells her that he doesn’t want this alternate reality because everyone he’s ever loved has died. Reality: The man dressed as Santa Claus appears at the Daily Planet and offers to help Chloe with the gifts because Clark was willing to give up his Christmas with Lana. After Chloe reluctantly accepts Santa’s help, he and all the presents disappear. Back at the Kents’ party, Chloe tells Clark about the presents disappearing and says she thinks that he may have possibly been Santa Claus. Clark and Lana spend their first Christmas together as it snows. Lex wakes up with Lionel at his bedside. He is upset with Lionel for ordering surgery with very low odds of survival, asking him, “How dare you play God with my life?” When Griff asks Lex what his choice was, Lex decides that he will do anything it takes to win the Senate race. Lex says his only wish is to live happily ever after and the key to that is money and power because “once you have those two things, you can secure everything else.” In her reflection in the window, Lillian cries over the choice Lex just made and then disappears.
An amazing episode, its basically a dark version of It’s A Wonderful life showing what could of happened if Lex had taken different choices, but as he awakes he’s learnt to take what he wants. The Santa story was fun Chloe left wondering if it really was Santa.

GEMINI

GUEST CAST
Michael Cassidy (Argo)
Tim Guinee (Iron Man)
Lois Lane and Grant Gabriel are kissing in a storage closet in the Daily Planet. She tells him that she doesn’t want to write the Lex Luthor exposé since it might raise eyebrows about her relationship with Grant. However, Grant says that Lex requested her. Meanwhile, Chloe Sullivan is trying to call Clark Kent, who has been missing for two weeks. Chloe has been covering for him in his absence, explaining that he is in Minnesota, but she is starting to get worried. Lois catches up with Chloe, who gives her all her research on LuthorCorp. While looking through the papers, Lois hears a phone ringing. Despite the fact that it doesn’t belong to her, she answers it and hears a mysterious caller tell her that Chloe has a bomb on her. If she doesn’t stop ignoring him, Chloe will die.
At the Luthor Mansion, Lex is fencing with Grant. Grant asks Lex to request that someone else besides Lois write the article since Lois has a way of uncovering significant facts, but Lex denies having anything to hide. Even though Grant seems to be concerned, Lex affirms that he always wins. The caller, whose name is Adrian Cross, is talking to Lois, telling her that he is an escaped clone from LuthorCorp. His body is aging at a rapid rate and he expects to die very soon. While she is talking to him, Lois attempts to send Chloe an e-mail to warn her, but her internet line is cut. Adrian calls her again and warns her not to disobey him. Frightened, Lois looks around the basement of the Daily Planet for men on phones. She spots a suspicious-looking delivery man and follows him into a secluded room, then attacks him. However, the man is innocent and he begins to walk away. He falls back toward Lois, dead from being stabbed with a pair of scissors. Lois’ cell phone rings and Adrian warns her to keep her mouth shut. Clark suddenly reappears on the Kent Farm to find Lana in the barn. He reveals that he was unable to find Kara. Lana tells him she has decided to stop obsessing over Lex, but Clark says he wants to see what she’s uncovered. She takes Clark to her secret room in the Isis Foundation, now filled with non-functioning surveillance equipment. Clark finds a folder on Project Scion and Lana shows him the vial filled with black liquid that she thought she destroyed when she wrecked his lab. Clark tells her that she couldn’t have destroyed alien technology, so she decides to show him more. Lois is still attempting to warn Chloe about the bomb. This time, she tries to get a woman to deliver a manila envelope to Chloe which has the warning written on the back. The woman hands the letter to Chloe, who tells Lois that Clark is back and she is leaving to go visit him. At this time, Lois receives a text message from Adrian, warning Lois not to tell Chloe anything. Chloe suspects that something is bothering Lois, but Lois doesn’t say anything.
Lana takes Clark to a LuthorCorp lab where Project Scion was tested and shows him Casey Brock, a woman who was found suffering from toxic levels of metal poisoning. Overnight, the amount of metal in her bloodstream dropped dramatically, meaning that whatever was in her bloodstream had left. Clark states that her incoherent speech patterns are actually Kryptonian and writes down what she is murmuring. Jimmy and Chloe both get into an elevator and share an awkward moment. They recall a Christmas party last year, when Chloe was still dating Jimmy. Chloe turns the envelope over and reads Lois’ warning message about the bomb. At this moment, the elevator suddenly brakes, trapping Chloe and Jimmy with the bomb.
Meanwhile, Lois notices an “out of service” sign on the elevator. She begins to walk toward it, but is stopped by Adrian, who is holding the detonator in his hand and demanding his story. In the elevator, Chloe empties her pocketbook to search for the bomb. She finds It, disguised as Chloe’s Secret Santa gift. Back in a Daily Planet office, Lois is showing Adrian her article about LuthorCorp’s first clone. Adrian tells her about his family and his Christmas memories, then reveals that they were all fictitious memories downloaded into his brain. Lois promises to publish the story if Adrian will let Chloe go, but Adrian has another mission for Lois. She must force Lex to confess what he’s done. Chloe is trying to call Clark in the elevator, but Jimmy is annoyed that Chloe would call Clark before she would call 911. The cell phone breaks when Chloe accidentally drops it.
Lois goes to her interview with Lex wearing a hidden camera and a device in her ear which allows Adrian to talk to her. If she can’t get a confession from Lex, Adrian will kill Chloe. At the same time, Clark and Lana go to the Daily Planet to see if Chloe can translate the code that Casey Brock was mumbling, but they can’t find her. Grant and Lex are both waiting for Lois, but they are surprised with her first question, a demand to know about Project Gemini. Adrian is still communicating with her through her earpiece, telling her exactly what to do. Lex claims he doesn’t have anything to do with cloning and he denies knowing a man named Adrian. Adrian orders Lois to aim a gun at Grant to get Lex to confess. Lois begins ranting about Adrian’s life story. Lex knocks her out and finds the hidden camera she was wearing. Shortly after, Adrian enters and tells Lex and Grant about more of his memories. Grant soon realizes that they have the exact same memories, even talking about their past experiences simultaneously. Adrian also says that they have the same DNA and history, only Adrian was a failed experiment and Grant was a successful one. In an outburst of anger, Lex shoots and kills Adrian, saying he was just a mistake. In his last seconds of life, Adrian presses the button on the bomb’s detonator. In a state of panic, Chloe and Jimmy bang on the elevator door, but no one can hear them. Thinking she is about to die, she confesses to Jimmy that she is a meteor freak. They share one last kiss as the detonater ticks down to the final seconds. In the basement of the Daily Planet, Lana turns on Lois’ computer screen and sees the email that Lois attempted to send Chloe, warning her about the bomb. Clark uses his super-hearing to locate the sound of the bomb, then he runs to the staircase, soars to an upper floor and superspeeds to the rescue. He opens the elevator door and finds Chloe and Jimmy kissing before he throws the bomb off the building roof, where it explodes harmlessly. Chloe and Jimmy are stunned to find that they are unharmed with the elevator doors open and many people staring at them.After Lois wakes up, Lex tells her that Chloe is fine, but Lois says she will expose his project to the world. Lex retorts by telling Lois that she has no evidence, and he recently bought the Daily Planet. Since he is now Lois’ boss, there is no way she can write the article.
 Jimmy catches up with Chloe and they talk about what happened. He wishes Chloe trusted him more to tell him about her meteor infection, but Chloe just says she had trouble accepting herself. Chloe demonstrates her powers for him by healing a cut on his finger. Even though this was not a major injury, Chloe still feels some slight internal pain from using her healing powers. Jimmy promises to keep Chloe’s powers a secret. While Lex is receiving the acquisition papers for the Daily Planet, Grant enters his office, sarcastically congratulating him for purchasing the Daily Planet. He is sick of always being under Lex’s control and is outraged for being nothing more than an experiment. Lex declares that all he wanted was a family, but Grant is anxious to break free from his control. Later, Grant visits Lois at the Talon apartment. Contrary to her first impression, she is not fired, in fact, Lex requested that she stay. Grant then breaks up with Lois, since he thinks their relationship is too complicated, especially after what happened today.Back at the Kent Farm, Chloe and Clark discuss the possibility of the Brain InterActive Construct’s return. The Kryptonian code Clark wrote down was an error message that a system encounters when it can’t boot up. Each time the code repeats, it learns from its mistakes and is getting closer to actually loading. Clark warns Chloe that the black fluid has evolved into technology willing to kill. Once Chloe leaves and Lana returns home, Clark and Lana share a warm moment. As they embrace, Clark’s face flashes white and his skin distorts, revealing that “Clark” has actually been Bizarro the entire time. Meanwhile, the real Clark is frozen in the Fortress of Solitude.
A great Christmas episode especially for Chloe and Jimmy, and that shocker ending when you find out Lana has been talking to Bizarro all the time and not Clark is just amazing.

25 DAYS OF CHRISTMAS REVIEW: BATMAN: THE ANIMATED SERIES – CHRISTMAS WITH THE JOKER

CAST
Kevin Conroy (Batman Beyond)
Loren Lester (American Pie 3)
Bob Hastings (McHale’s Navy)
Robert Costanzo (Total Recall)
Mark Hamill (Star Wars)
Clive Revill (Freakazoid)
Mari Devon (Digimon)
It’s Christmas Eve and even the inmates of Arkham Asylum are celebrating. They sing “Jingle Bells” and set up decorations. The Joker is given the golden ornament to put on top of the Christmas Tree. However, as soon as he places it on top of the tree, a hidden rocket activates and Joker rides out to freedom. Meanwhile, back at the Batcave, Robin tries to convince Batman to kick back and relax as there’s no need for them to go out on Christmas. Batman believes otherwise since Joker has escaped. Robin makes a deal with him: if they go out on patrol and find no sign of the Joker, then they’ll return home and watch It’s a Wonderful Life. Batman agrees and the duo heads out.
All seems quiet in Gotham for a change and Robin is convinced they aren’t needed. Batman is his usual self: seeing a man running after a rich woman and believing that she’s going to be robbed, he heads out after them. However, the man calls to the woman and tells her that she dropped a package a couple of blocks back and returns it to her. Robin asks to go home and Batman silently swings off. Now back at Wayne Manor, Dick and Bruce wait for dinner and turn on the TV. However, they discover that It’s a Wonderful Life isn’t on. Instead they find that Joker has hijacked the television waves and has a “Special” for Batman. Joker shows a tank with a giant Santa Claus on top crashing through the city. The show is announced to be “Christmas with the Joker”. Batman and Robin instantly work to find the Joker’s location by checking power surges and head out to find him.
Joker continues his show and shows everyone his stolen family, the Awful Lawful Family: Commissioner Gordon, Summer Gleeson, and Harvey Bullock. Joker tells Batman that he can have them if he can find them by midnight. If he fails, they will die. However, before Batman and Robin can reach him, Joker reveals “Laughy” his own Christmas Elf. Laughy and Joker explain that they will blow up a rail bridge just in time for the 11:30 train to arrive. Summer becomes agitated and explains that her mother is on that train.  Batman and Robin go to the train and while Batman goes after the engineer, Robin uncouples the passenger cars. The tasks are simple enough and they save the passengers. Afterwards, they pinpoint the source of Joker’s signal: the observatory at Mount Gotham. However, when they reach it, they find that Joker simply left a transmitter there and replaced the observatory telescope with a cannon. Batman draws the fire of the cannon while Robin runs in to disable it. Unfortunately, the outer controls are ruined and the cannon starts firing erratically at parts of Gotham.
Christmas-main
Inside, Robin finds that there are several Joker statues with guns for hands. These statues give Robin trouble but he’s finally able to disable the cannon with an explosive. Unfortunately, they are no closer to finding Joker’s hideout and saving the hostages. Joker of course, doesn’t want to face Christmas without Batman and sends a broadcast of Summer opening a present: a Betty Blooper Doll. Batman realizes that the doll could only have come from the Laffco Toy Factory. The factory has been closed down for 14 years so it has to be Joker’s hideout. Batman and Robin make their way to the hideout and the Joker is more than ready. Joker plays the song, “Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairies” from the Nutcracker Suite by Tchaikovsky and several giant toy nutcracker soldiers attack. In spite of their size, the soldiers are easy enough to defeat. Just then, the song switches to “the Russian Dance” and toy planes fly after the duo. Batman grabs up a baseball bat and smashes most of them while Robin catches the rest in an oil barrel. Just as the planes are finished off, machine gun toting snipers shoot at the duo. Batman races up towards a set of giant teddy bears and hides. The snipers are confused by his disappearance until they see his cape and start firing. Much to their surprise, they find that it was only a giant teddy bear they shot at. The bear falls over and pins them down.
With Joker’s men and traps down, the duo sets out to find him but he reveals himself. His hostages are dangling over a vat of molten plastic and Joker threatens to drop them in if Batman doesn’t come and get his Christmas present. Batman takes the present and opens it to discover a spring-loaded pie inside. Joker has a laugh and cuts the rope holding his hostages. Fortunately, Batman saves them and goes after Joker. Joker manages to evade him for a while but trips on a roller-skate and almost falls into the vat. Batman saves him and bids him a Merry Christmas. Joker simply says, “Bah humbug!” Later, Bruce and Dick finish watching a recording of It’s a Wonderful Life and Bruce has to admit that it “has its moments”. Meanwhile, Joker spends his Christmas alone in his cell, but seems to be in good spirits, singing and laughing.
One of the best Christmas episodes of any show made, its well plotted,  and seeing the Joker being a men ace upon Christmas is just plain awesome. This episode clearly shows just how excellent Batman: The Animated Series was. A True Classic.