Lameazoid.com Rotating Header Image

April, 2017:

Agents of Hydra S04E18 – Return of The Bus

I’m not sure why but there have been a lot less promotional stills for these episodes lately.  I really need to find an effective way to take my own snapshots it seems.  I’m trying to get these a bit shorter though at least, so I don’t need as many images to go with them I suppose.

It helps that these episodes lately, while good, just feel like not much actually happens.  Given that it’s all Fake and in the Framework, it’s easy to dismiss it as ultimately not important.  I mean thing happen, important things, like the end of this episode, is pretty important to the real world, but there’s just a whole lot “look how things are all backwards!  ZANY!”  I like it, it just makes for a mediocre plot summary.

Anyway, the main event in this episode was of course the return of a long lost early character from the series.  One that I didn’t expect.  Yes, we get a return of The Bus.  Before The Zephyr, there was The Bus, alas it was destroyed while attacking a Hydra base, I think, it’s been a while.  It seems that in classic Framework fashion, The Bus has had it’s one major regret changed, resulting in an alternate life.  in this case, instead of being a giant bad ass plane, The Bus is now, a school bus.

I don’t know if it was actually intentional, but I loved that they stole this bus and kept calling it The Bus.

Oh yeah, and Triplet came back from the dead also.  They went on a mission to rescue a mystery operative which I figured would end up being Lincoln or Robbie Reyes or maybe Mike Peterson (Deathlok).  Turns out it was Trip.

We also got a nice fight with May and Mace, in the end Mace won despite May being juiced on on super soldier serum.  Lady Hydra (orders the troops to fire missiles on the structure containing everyone and Mace sacrifices himself to save everyone.  It’s such a bittersweet way to go, given how ultimately fake everything is.  His sacrifice seems to wake May up however, that and the children being rescued from their brainwashing and hydra missiles.  The episode ends with May bringing Daisy a Terragin crystal allowing her to regain her inhuman powers.

Review – Change Agent by Daniel Suarez

NOTE: This book was provided by the publisher for free to the reviewer in advance of release.

I should probably start off by mentioning that I am a huge fan of Daniel Suarez.  I have read all of his previous books, a few of them more than once.  He definitely has a great “not too distant” future sort of style that comes off as very plausible in his Sci-Fi Techno-Thriller novels.  While I wouldn’t rate Change Agent as his be best work yet, I still give that to Daemon, it’s certainly not on the bottom of my list.  They all rank pretty high in my opinion.

The general plot follows Kenneth Durand, who has been genetically altered via a Change Agent, sort of a DNA virus, to have the form of the wanted criminal Marcus Wyckes.  A large proportion of the story follows Durand as he travels through Singapore and Thailand to try to find a way to return to his former self.  He meets a variety of folks along the way good and bad, and must deal with some inner turmoil in the concepts of what truly makes a person who they are.  Much of the near future aspects of this revolve around the concept of genomic manipulation primarily, but other more familiar concepts such as the mass use of drones and AR/VR style interfaces for technology.

The core story is well done and there is a nice sense of urgency along the way to Durand’s mission, mostly from the constant pursuit by the authorities.  The main areas where it falls apart is the periphery.  Some of Durand’s colleagues are involved in the pursuit of Durand/Wyckes but they don’t really seem to every question the possibility of Durand being anyone except who he appears to be, despite the world around them.  There also isn’t a much done with Durand’s family, which is his entire motivation, beyond surface level exposure.  Meanwhile many of the people Durand meets later feel like they don’t really have any good reason to trust him yet they often do explicitly.  The subplot involving (the real) Wyckes’ henchman never feels quite fully explored either.

These sub plots could have been fleshed out a bit further and could have helped the story feel more complete.  The core plot works regardless, though there are some parts that felt like they dragged a bit early on and around the three quarters mark.  The real fun, like all of Daniel Suarez’s books, comes from the “what if” world that is presented.  Daemon and Freedom looked at the web and AI, Kill Decision was AI and drones, Change Agent looks at genetics and technology overexposure.

If you enjoy the writing style of Daniel Suarez or similar authors such as Neal Stephenson, John Scalzi, or William Gibson, you’ll probably enjoy Change Agent.

Review – Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows

So, the first Michael Bay Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles live action movie kind of got a lot of flack.  To be fair, though, it’s not actually directed by Michael Bay, it’s just produced, so it’s not as awful of a live action remake as The Transformers movies are, it was however quite a departure from what people think of when they think Ninja Turtles.

The second film in this series is Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows, and it seems to be the answer to what a lot of people wanted and expected from the first movie.  Where TMNT is an updated modern take on the basic Turtles vs The Foot idea, Out of the Shadows is a very blatant tribute and Nostalgia fest for the original 80s TMNT cartoon show.   It actually kind of feels a little sad with just how blatant of a tribute it is.

Rocksteady and Bebop? Check!

The Turtle Van?  Check!

Krang? Check!

Baxter Stockman?  Check!

The Technodrom?  Check!

Also, unlike a lot of remakes and updates, things stay fairly true to the original, or at least, much more aligned with the spirit of the original.  Rocksteady and Bebop for example, are pretty unmistakable.  Krang is a little weird but still very much is obviously Krang with his goofy robot body.  Baxter Stockman follows the original comic and modern show versions of being African American instead of a goofy white guy with orange hair, but he’s still a goofy scientist.

This movie very much feels like a response to the “This isn’t the Turtles I remember” complaints of the first TMNT film.

Honestly, I kind of feels like it makes the film better.  I didn’t hate the original TMNT, but the nostalgia level of Out of the Shadows definitely does it’s job.

The biggest fault of this film is the some what flimsy plot.  It’s not awful, but there’s quite a few “what” moments, one of them is a pretty crucial hinge to everything.  Early on in the film, The Shredder is rescued by The Foot, amidst the rescue, he is suddenly kidnapped by Krang, who wants to recruit The Shredder to gather several McGuffin devices in order to open a portal from Dimension X so Krang can take over The Earth.  Very Classic 80s Cartoon to be sure.  It’s just very, sudden, however with zero build up.  It’s just suddenly “Hey, giant brain man, let’s work together”.  It kind of feels like it could have been massaged a little bit on the flow.

There’s also a subplot involving Casey Jones tracking down Rocksteady and Bebop which feels pretty superfluous to the everything.  It seems to exist entirely so create an excuse to throw Casey Jones into the movie.  He basically fills the role of Vernon from the first TMNT, someone for April O’Neal to pal around with when she isn’t hanging out with the turtles.

There’s also an ooze subplot that goes nowhere after Rocksteady and Bebop become a thing.  That is, it’s there to mutate Rocksteady and Bebop, which is fine, but then it lingers around a bit until the end where a choice is made, one that never really felt like it had any appropriate build up to actually give it any meaningful impact.

The real bottom line is that the plot, or plots aren’t awful ideas, it’s more that there’s just too much crammed into one film, and as a result, nothing gets fleshed out to any meaningful level.  Maybe I’m looking for too much from a movie about giant martial artist turtles, but I can’t help but think that maybe, splitting things out a across a couple of films would have helped solidify everything a bit better, giving us something much better than what we got.  Maybe run with Shredder being rescued and meeting with a shadowy unknown, creating Bebop and Rocksteady and introducing Casey Jones as more of an antagonist and foil, then keeping Krang and the idea of being forced to live “In the Shadows” as a plot for a third connected film.

Recap – Agents of HYDRA S04E17 – Slippery Soapy SHIELD Edition

So a bit of positive news, it seems Agents of SHIELD is looking more likely to be renewed.  Or at least one USA Today Article suggests it should be.  There is less to the article than I’d hoped but hey, that’s kind of a plus.  I really feel like there is room for Agents AND the new Inhumans show.  Frankly, I’m way less interested in The Inhumans show.  I’ll still watch but it just interests me less.

Anyway, I kind of wonder how long this Framework plot line is going to last.  I feel like the What If Scenario we have going on is going to drag a bit if the plan is to run for the remaining 8 episodes.  Not to mention it means no Yo-yo at all except maybe in the end when they get free and it kind of abandons the plot line with The Superior being turned into a pseudo LMD and wanting to kill Coulson.  Also it leaves the plot with Nadir cocooning up in the ocean going nowhere.

Basically, there’s too many loose ends for 8 episodes of “How do we escape The Matrix?”

On a side note before getting into spoilers, there has been a lot of pretty heavy underlying commentary these last few episodes on the state of the world.  Effectively using Hydra as a metaphor for the whole Alt-right mess.  Like how Simmons comments that “They are all Nazis” last episode and Fitz this episode uses the phrase “Make Society Great Again.”

Anyway, onto the Spoiler Section…

(more…)

Recap – Agents of HYDRA S04E16 – Agents of SHIELD Edition

At long last, the wait is over, Agents of Hydra has returned from it’s break.  There seems to be some speculation that this may be the final season and the final story arc, I hope it’s a good one.

We pick right up in the world of The Frame Work, with Daisy, well, Skye in this world, at least for a while, spending most of the episode wandering around trying to make sense of this Hydra infested world.

Also Zombie Simmons.  Ok, maybe she’s not a Zombie, but… she could be.  She was shown during the teaser to be dead, and she woke up and had to dig herself out of a shallow grave.  She also looks extremely rough throughout this episode, so maybe she is a Zombie.

There’s a bit of an important distinction to add as well, Daisy and Simmons came in through a backdoor, thus keep their normal knowledge of the real world, everyone else, has effectively been brainwashed, or at least suppressed by Aida into accepting the world at large.

Anyway, on to the spoiler section…

(more…)