Category Archives: summer glau

Arrow S02 E06: "Keep Your Enemies Closer"

At last, we’re going to find out where Oliver got his Russian mob cred, and where he got that Bratva tattoo, as the crew takes a trip to Russia. Almost sounds like an “I Love Lucy” episode, doesn’t it? Just not as funny.

In our opening sequence, after some Lucy style secret identity shenanigans with Summer Glau’s Isabel Rochev, Arrow and his sidekick, um, snitch, um, sidekick, Roy Harper bust up some counterfeiters in short order. In the midst of it, and here’s where it gets good, Diggle gets kidnapped.

Diggle gets kidnapped by dudes namedropping Task Force X, the Suicide Squad’s official codename, and answering to Mockingbird, who gave orders to the Secret Six in the comics. When he comes to, he is confronted by, da da da dum, a very svelte looking Amanda Waller, played by Cynthia Addai-Robinson, who you might remember as Naevia from “Spartacus,” which also starred our Deathstroke, Manu Bennett.

Waller, who Diggle identifies as being with ARGUS, tells him that Lyla has vanished after following up some leads in Russia. Specifically Lyla was tracking Deadshot for Diggle. Waller, who also knows what Diggle and Oliver Queen do with their nights, wants Lyla extracted. So much for sightseeing in Russia, it sounds like it’s all business.

Back on flashback island, or more accurately, the Amazo boat, Professor Ivo interrogates Oliver with Sarah present. It seems that the island was where a Japanese World War II secret super soldier formula is, and Ivo’s looking for it. The formula, that gifts super strength and enhanced regeneration, is called Mirakuru – miracle.

Or is that Miraclo? With the recent announcement of an Hourman series possibly in development, I can’t help but wonder if The Flash isn’t the only back door pilot being prepped here… For those who don’t know your Golden Age comic lore, Miraclo is the drug that Hourman takes to gain super strength, super stamina, and yes, even regenerative abilities for one hour.

Dylan Neal’s dad next door portrayal of Anthony Ivo is extremely creepy when you think about this guy was up to in the comics, and what he’s probably up to here. There is just this very scary chord of quiet menace in his performance. Factoid: Neal played a character ironically linked to Amanda Waller back on the CW’s “Smallville.” And could the sadistic Captain of the Amazo… be the future Amazo??

Back in the present, Wendy and Marvin, ahem, I mean Isabel insists on tagging along to Russia with the Arrowcave trio. It’s like a sitcom setup almost, and infuriating. They have to avoid Isabel while trying to find Lyla and Deadshot. Let me tell you, this does not make Summer Glau any more likable or tolerable. She is even less likable drunk, and downright hatable as a one night stand.

We do get the goods on how Oliver is a Bratva captain. Anatoli Knyazev, known as the KGBeast in the comics, was his prison mate on the Amazo boat. Oliver saved his life, and was rewarded with tattoo and rank. Anatoli helps them find Lyla and Deadshot, beginning Diggle’s brief prison movie inside the show. In the end, everyone gets saved, but Diggle can’t kill Deadshot.

However Diggle does learn who hired Deadshot to kill his brother. In a reveal that may bring some loose ends full circle to a knot, Deadshot says he was hired by H.I.V.E. Not in the comics, but in the “Teen Titans” cartoon, the H.I.V.E. was run by a guy called Brother Blood. Da da dum.

On the subplot track, Jean Loring makes her third appearance as Moira Queen’s attorney. This is the first time however I was aware of her name. This is Jean Loring?? I was very surprised. Teryl Rothery is a beautiful but older woman, but based on the character’s previous mention (‘Ray and Jean’), I would have assumed she was younger, much younger, a contemporary, a peer, of Laurel and Oliver. Let’s just hope she’s not being paid in white dwarfs or black diamonds…

The Blood Rush mini-adventure starring Felicity and Roy, and sponsored by Bose, is dumb. There I said it. It’s out of continuity, confusing, and dumb. Just give the actors more screen time in the real show and give the audience a real Bose commercial. Otherwise, this is a waste of time.

Speaking of dumb and waste of time, it seems that Felicity is being groomed for the role of Oliver’s romantic interest, or worse than that, his fawning crush. She tells him he deserves better, regarding Isabel. I’d like to tell the producers that Felicity deserves better than this kind of crap. Come on. Make Felicity a strong female character on television, not another one of Oliver’s failed attempts at a relationship.


Next week: The return of (The) Count (and) Vertigo!

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Arrow S02 E04: "Crucible"

My mantra in the review of last week’s episode was Who is the Black Canary? and now we know. For those of you who already know or figured it out on your own, you’ll just have to wait a couple paragraphs, and for those who don’t, you’ll have to sizzle too. I’ll get to it. All that said, I enjoy a little mystery surprise, and “Arrow” gave us a nice one to ponder last week.

Our opening has Oliver and Sebastian Blood parrying once again verbally. I know it’s leading up to Oliver running for mayor just like in the comics, and I know that Sebastian is Brother Blood, but I’m just not finding this storyline all that exciting. Oh, we might get references to great inspiring dialogue by Denny O’Neil or Elliot S! Maggin about ‘what one man can do,’ but on the other hand, I highly doubt that Sebastian is going to pull out the prayer shawl of Jesus or call upon Trigon.

Meanwhile Felicity figures out that the Black Canary (though not yet named so) is following Laurel, not Oliver. Knowing this, our hero ambushes and unmasks her. It’s the late Sara Lance, who supposedly died in the shipwreck that stranded Oliver on the island. At least it’s a Lance in the leather, oh, and she knows Oliver is The Hood.

Cue painful memory music, and island flashback, it turns out Oliver knew she wasn’t dead. On board the Amazo (the boat, not the one man Justice League), he encounters a Russian man in the next cell – will the Bat-connections never end? – it’s the KGBeast. I guess we know where Oliver got the tattoo and Russian mob contacts now. And Sara is there too, but not in the way we expect…

Meanwhile a new villain has arisen from the ashes and wreckage of The Glades, a man who ironically calls himself The Mayor, a merciless sociopath who is carving out a territory and a reputation in the city. He’s played by an actor I like a bit named Cle Bennett. The Mayor is running guns in Starling City. It seems like even after The Undertaking, Starling City is getting its groove back.

Diggle meets with Lyla of A.R.G.U.S. again regarding Deadshot. Summer Glau continues not to impress. I love her, but I just don’t find her believable in this role. I just don’t buy it. Laurel is drinking a bit and gets stopped by the cops. It seems that being demoted to beat cop has humbled Quentin Lance as he’s now trying to make amends with The Hood and Oliver both. I have the feeling this is an interim episode, just moving the pieces around the board for the big strike.

After a heart to heart chat between Oliver and Blood that invokes the title of the episode, The Mayor attacks a Cash for Guns rally. Our hero saves Blood, but Sin is caught in the crossfire. As you might imagine, this launches both our ersatz Green Arrow and Black Canary at the same target. Yeah, fangasm, baby. Best parts of the clash are tied, when the two trade weapons, and when The Hood deflects a rocket with an arrow.

In the odds and ends department, we had a Jack Kirby shout out, as Marvel’s King Kirby did a brief but brilliant stint on Green Arrow in the 1950s. On the bad side, I cringed at the continuity of Black Canary having black eye make up when her mask is on, yet it disappears when the mask comes off. Uncool.

In the end, we see The Mayor bound, but not by the police. He’s needle injected with some sort of drug by a man in a weird mask. Remember what I said about the ability of this show to surprise? Yeah, baby, Brother Blood is here, and is that venom?

Next: The League of Assassins!

Arrow S02 E01: "City of Heroes"

We begin, as always, on the island, but much like how things are on Joss Whedon’s “Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.,” nothing is what it seems. This isn’t a flashback, this is the present day. Oliver is on the island, yes, but Diggle and Felicity are coming to find him.

Some time has passed since last season. Well, obviously. Oliver ran away after failing Starling City and losing his best friend. His mom is now in prison, Iron Heights, and Queen Consolidated is ripe for hostile takeover by a company called Stellmoor International. So Diggle and Felicity have come to bring our hero home.

It’s worth noting that in the comics, the New 52 continuity specifically, Stellmoor International does in fact buy out Queen Industries. CEO Simon Lacroix, an enemy of Robert Queen, Oliver’s father, is also the super-villain called Komodo, one of Green Arrow’s rogues gallery. Notably in the comics, the evil archer known as Komodo also killed Robert Queen.

Speaking of comics parallels, there’s an opening for mayor of the city, a position Oliver Queen has held, and there’s a church and a guy named Blood in the Glades… it couldn’t be Brother Blood, and the Church of Blood, could it?

There are also more than a few name drops of Central City. I guess they are already prepping for the Flash two-parter in December and planned spin-off. Speaking of masked vigilantes, in the wake of the destruction of the Glades and the missing Hood, it seems others have taken up the slack. Roy Harper is one, a gang called the Hoods are others.

Genre and fan favorite Summer Glau plays Isobel Rochev, head of acquisitions for Stellmoor. As much as I like her, she’s unconvincing here, but I guess we’ll be seeing more of her. The returning cast is excellent as always, more comfortable in their roles, Emily Bett Rickards continues to be my breakout favorite, and Stephen Amell’s bare chest should still get its own credit.

“City of Heroes” is a very angsty episode. Thea won’t visit her mom in prison. Laurel won’t get back with Oliver because of Tommy. Oliver won’t become the Hood again. That last one is because of guilt, and Tommy’s calling him a murderer. It’s so good that they are finally facing up to that factor of this version of Green Arrow. I don’t like my heroes to be serial killers. This is a good thing.

Speaking of good things, the best part of the episode is in the last five minutes. It’s not just Oliver deciding on a new name for his non-vigilante hero identity. While Roy is out amateur vigilant-ing, he gets in over his head and is saved by a masked blonde in black leather. Could this be… the Black Canary?

Tune in next week, same Arrow time, same Arrow channel… for the return of China White, and rumor has it… the Bronze Tiger!

The Initiation of Sarah 2006

The Initiation of Sarah ~ The original came at the tail end of the great ABC telemovies of the 1970s. In it, Kay Lenz, who I always mixed up with Susan Dey, plays the Carrie part in this Carrie rip-off. Morgan Fairchild is chief tormentor and Shelley Winters the witchy housemother mentor. There were a few of these Carrie wannabes in the 1970s, The Spell with Susan Meyers from “James at 15” was another, that aped the mousy scapegoat girl, who also happens to have telekinetic powers, flipping out in her tormentors. Sarah took place at a college sorority as opposed to high school.

The 2006 version is a re-imagining of the 1978 movie of the week done for, believe it or not, the ABC Family Channel. Well, at least they’re keeping it in the ‘family.’ Yeah, I know, sorry. Here, Morgan Fairchild returns as the snooty mom of two girls about to enter college, and join her old exclusive sorority. Lindsay, played by a post-“Firefly” Summer Glau and mousey cutter Sarah played by Mika Boorem of Blue Crush, are, as one would expect, polar opposites.

It is essentially the same story, with a decidedly non-fun Jennifer Tilly in the Shelley Winters role, but it has become unnecessarily complicated, almost as if someone was watching nothing but “Buffy” and old soap operas for a couple weeks straight. The warring sororities are the guardians of good and evil, people pretend to be other people to sleep with them, and it gets worse from there.

I wanted to like this one, I really did. It could have been the good old campy fun the original was but just took itself too seriously, and too much ABC Family as well, adding a crapload of teenage melodrama to the mix. Avoid and look for the original.

The Cape: Tarot

I have always believed that what was wrong with so much of the superhero genre in other media like television and film is the seeming need to retell the hero’s secret origin. Most times, unless the origin is part of the story told, it’s not needed. All you need is the understanding that this is the hero, he can do this, and here he is, roll with the story.

In running the second episode “Tarot,” immediately after the pilot and origin story of The Cape, I think NBC is hedging their bets and giving the audience the supposed best of both worlds. Here’s the secret origin, and here’s the first adventure. I’m down, or rather, seeing how much I liked the pilot, I’m still down.

The episode starts with a bang. The Cape visits Chess and runs afoul of a new villain guarding the big bad called Cain, with a tarot tattoo and a poisoned knife. Our hero barely escapes with his life and a little help from the beautiful Orwell, played by Summer Glau. She drops him off with the Carnival of Crime then runs. Shame, I was hoping to see them interact.

Max Malini, the ringleader of the circus, thinks Faraday has been reckless and careless, and so revokes the ‘magic’ cape from him. What follows is an amazing montage sequence where Faraday hones his abilities and continues his training. It’s not only the kind of thing you figure Batman does in between issues, but it shows the determination of our hero. I like it a lot.

There’s a lot to like here. This show just keeps getting better. There are hints of a larger hyper-reality mythology happening here, not only the concept of a ring of assassins called Tarot, but also the thinking that maybe The Cape isn’t the first superhero in this world. I also like the title cards that accompany each scene. I love Rollo played by Martin Klebba, who I had previously seen in a non-dramatic reality role as Amy Roloff’s friend in “Little People, Big World.” He’s rocking it here in “The Cape.” Summer Glau as well kills in this episode.

That’s two in a row, looking forward to more.

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The Cape: Pilot

NBC has a lot invested in this mid-season replacement. A lot of the comic book community, the core target audience for NBC’s failed “Heroes,” laid the blame for its failure on the one missing element that makes superheroes superheroes – costumes. Almost in retaliation, along with the continuing successes of comics properties like “The Walking Dead,” “Human Target” and Marvel’s Avengers cartoon and movie franchise (so far at least), NBC wheeled out “The Cape,” a series whose very concept revolves around a superhero costume. The pilot first aired last night, along with the second episode, and both will re-air tonight. Here are my thoughts on the pilot.

We start in the hyper-reality of the fictional city of Palm City, part Miami Beach, part Los Angeles, but all comic book gimmick with a real world spin. Yep, it’s “Heroes” with costumes. Or rather at its start, super-villains with costumes – as a masked baddie, known as Chess, blows up the chief of police in a blast of special effects that our yet-to-be hero survives.

The title sequence is hardcore comics, paneled pages similar to the original “Wonder Woman” series with a darker edge. The music by Bear McCreary is very heroic, a close cousin to both Danny Elfman’s Batman and John Williams’ Star Wars, leaving no doubt as to what kind of television event we are watching – this is a superhero show.

Our hero, Vince Faraday, played by Australian actor David Lyons, seems to be the only honest cop in Palm City. With the death of the chief of police, the police force is taken over by the ARK Corporation – running into cliché number one. Evil corporations are so 1980s, especially in the comics. Cliché number two is not so bad, The Cape is actually the comic book hero idol of Faraday’s son. An inspired concept sprinkled into a set-up we can see coming a mile away. He’s going to take on this identity to impress his son, right?

As the secret origin story of our hero progresses, I found myself getting more involved despite my objections. There’s the mysterious and invasive blogger called Orwell. And a rogues gallery is being constructed, other than Chess, there is also the near-mutant Scales with reptilian skin. I don’t want to, but my fanboy groove is getting on.

My fanboy groove was so on that when the Carnival of Crime showed up, an old comic book gimmick that was old when Stan Lee drenched it up in the early days of Marvel Comics, and was ancient when it killed the last story arc of “Heroes,” I didn’t mind at all. Faraday is now believed dead, worse than that, the public believes him to be Chess, and he’s saved by this Carnival of Crime – led by Max Malini, played by Keith “I’m cooler than Samuel L. Jackson” David.

They are a little bit Circus of Crime in their prime, a little bit “Carnivale” and a whole lot of fun. I love these guys, and would watch the show just for them. It’s twenty minutes in, and I am hooked. When Faraday takes a cape and contrives to become The Cape, it’s a bit much, but I follow where I’m led. Then Malini gives him a ‘magic’ cape and trains him in the use of it, and I see Batman Begins flashbacks. Have I mentioned I’m hooked?

Faraday takes on Scales, sort of a Killer Croc light, played by Vinnie Jones, on his first mission, and runs into Orwell, played by genre favorite Summer Glau. With her addition to the cast, the team is complete, we have our players and Faraday becomes The Cape. The end of the show gives us a taste of how things will work to whet our appetite for the rest of the series.

I gotta say I was hesitant when I started watching, but now hope “The Cape” stays around for a while. Let’s hope the ratings are up and the quality only gets better. Check it out.

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