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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 – 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…

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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…

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Legion – Chapter 8 – Facing Your Demons

What a crazy trippy trip it’s been, but alas, it’s come to an end.  Actually the show got less weird as it went along, which was kind of nice because I had serious doubt going into things.  There doesn’t seem like there was a lot of wasted potential though, for as much filler there was in the series.  Like Ptonomy, who started off kind of important and interesting but did nothing and served no purpose during the latter half of the series.  Also, is every one’s mutant power some sort of psychic ability?  That feels a little boring.  Then there was the squandered The Eye character who didn’t really do much besides act menacing.

I’m a little torn on the climactic series finale here.  We got the return of the Interrogator from the first episode, assumed dead, though he didn’t really do much aside from hang around in an interrogation room.  He did get a nice little story to flesh him out a bit and provide motivation for Division, basically, humans scared of mutants, whom they see as gods.   The hero is the villain in another person’s story, and visa versa.   He seems like he’s willing to work with our heroes some, which will probably come up more during the second season.  I also particularly loved the moment at the start where David effortlessly dealt with the Division soldiers and poor Clark realizes he is completely out matched.

Then there is the resolution of The Shadow King sub plot, or at least as far as David is concerned.  We see Syd use her powers again, to extract Farouk from David, unfortunately Farouk takes control of Syd then jumps into Kerry.  Farouk uses Kerry’s physical prowess to dispatch the rest of our heroes before a brief psychic showdown with David.

The end result sets up the next season, during the encounter the Shadow King is ejected from Kerry and into Oliver.  In the ensuing chaos, Oliver and Farouk escape in a fancy sports car.

There’s also a goofy “mid credits” scene where David gets taken away in what everyone is calling a Pokeball, which is the best description for it really.  The ball is probably sent by Division, there was a brief moment when Division mentioned deploying.. something, unclear.

This episode was a nice wrap up to the current arc, and a good set up for the future.  I think what will be real interesting is to see how the characters evolve in Season 2.  Particularly David.  It’s still not clear if his Schizophrenia was part of Farouk or if he really is Schizophrenic.    At this point it does seem as thought hey aren’t quite following the angle from the comics of absorbed souls or whatever,

Speaking of the comics, and this could be a spoiler, but there wasn’t a Patrick Stewart cameo like I’d hoped.  I feel like they could have managed to get him for a brief scene if they wanted to.  Maybe they are saving that for Season 2.

Legion – Chapter 7 – Everything Coming Together…

So, some of my worry has started to get answered here.  We’re getting a lot of direct answers to a lot of questions, which is good because there is only one episode left for the season.  I’m not saying there won’t be a twist, but things are feeling pretty solid.  I’m starting to feel pretty confident about what is real and what is all in David’s head.

So, anyway, we have a name now for our demon parasite, in The Shadow King, Faruk.  Most of the episode follows the exploits of everyone trying to escape from the prison that The Shadow King has created for them, including David himself.  I’m kind of curious, maybe I’m forgetting something, but it’s not clear where Ptonomy is most of this episode.  He wakes up at the end with everyone else but he doesn’t show up at all in the Asylum, not that I noticed.

I’m still not sure how The Eye or Oliver fit in either.  The Eye bites it though, rather unceremoniously, so we may never get answers.  Oliver seems to have escaped with the others, but I’m not sure how he got trapped there in the first place.

Probably the most exciting bit, right near the beginning, we get a glimpse and a hint, of the wheelchair, the one used by David’s real father.

Review – Movie – Logan (2017)

The latest and supposedly last outing for Wolverine, or at least, Hugh Jackman as Wolverine, Logan is one of the better comic book movies we’ve had for sure, though not totally flawless.  Most of my complaints with this movie however stem more from how sloppy Fox has been with the X-men universe continuity, and not so much with the film itself.  Much like the previous Wolverine movie, The Wolverine, this film pretty much exists in a vacuum from the other movies in the series.  There’s a vague underlying theme about how awful Logan’s existence is because, while he never dies, everything he cares about eventually does.  There’s also a brief mention of “The Statue of Liberty” which is a throwback to the original X-men when Hugh Jackman took up the role, but it felt more like an Easter egg than a plot point.

It also brings up the question of “Where does this fall in continuity”.  Is it the old time line or the new timeline?  If he mentioned the Statue of Liberty from the first X-men, that would imply this is old timeline, except there are a few little nods to the new timeline, like the return of the mutant Caliban seen briefly in X-men Apocalypse.   Or the point about how there haven’t been any new mutants in something like 25 years, which seems contradictory to X-men 3, which showed us some future where there were clearly some young mutants in the school.

Nitpicky continuity stuff aside, the movie starts off a little rough but ends up on a pretty good note overall.  It’s also worth noting that this movie, like Deadpool, is definitely rated R.  Where Deadpool was more R rated for it’s crude sexual jokes, Wolverine gets it’s rating for language, a lot of gory violence, and one moment of very, very brief, non sexual nudity.  I only bring this up really because it’s worth noting in case anyone wants to take their 9 year old to the film and because it kind of felt a little unnecessary.  I hate to sound like some sort of grump over language, but given the history of the X-men franchise and the character, adding in a bunch of “fucks” almost makes some of the characters seem out of character and all of the extra goriness on the claw slashing didn’t really add a lot to the plot.

It all also felt a bit out of place as the movie progressed and more and more of Laura and her backstory, the young girl tagging along with Wolverine, became the focus of the film.  It’s like hey, here’s a bunch of kids going completely psycho in the movie violent way possible because “Edgy cool”.

The whole film also does a pretty effective job of being a bit of an emotional roller coaster, as everyone around poor Logan seems to get harmed or killed by the people following them.  Not to mention Logan himself, who is not anywhere near peak form as the poisoning in his body from his Adamantium skeleton is finally getting the best of him.  He’s feeling a lot of pain, his claws don’t always work, and he isn’t quite healing as well as he used to.  It certainly helps give some urgency to the character.  The regular X-men movies usually managed to write off Wolverine when Magneto was around, since Wolverine can’t do anything to Magneto, The Wolverine had Logan under the influence of some poison that suppressed his abilities, I guess something needs to be done to make a guy who can’t be harmed interesting (see also The Hulk).

The core of the movie is about the interaction between Logan, Laura and Xavier as they run from a band of pretty bland bad guys.  They are involved in Laura’s past, but they are essentially just an extension, spin off or figure version of Alkali and Stryker’s band, that same old repeating thread.  There is also Weapon 24, who is the main baddie for Wolverine to battle.  It’s not super clear what makes this guy so special other than “He’s like Wolverine only extra feral” and ultimately is pretty much a throw away nobody who only exists as someone who can stand toe to toe with Wolverine and not get killed in 1 claw swipe.

Laura manages to be an interesting character, despite being mute for much of the film.  The aged Charles Xavier is also incredibly likable in this movie, though his purpose and point isn’t super clear to the big picture.  He’s basically become a super powered senile old mutant, he has some mysterious vaguely explained crisis from the past, and serves as a father figure to Logan who in turn serves as a father figure to Laura, which makes a fun dynamic, but also felt like there were some pieces missing to help explain, at the very least, why Logan hadn’t just put him out of his misery already.  I mean I get that they are old friends, but he really feels like he is suffering with no possible recovery, if Logan really cared he could have saved both of them a lot of trouble a long time ago by giving him a quiet quick send off.  I know that sounds cruel but in the context of the film world presented, it honestly isn’t.

But alas, now I’m getting off on a tangent, and running a bit long.  Logan really is a good film, it’s definitely the best of the Wolverine trilogy, though I’m not sure that it’s quite the best X-men film.  It’s also a nice send off to Wolverine while also serving as an origin story for X-23, Wolverine’s replacement.

Legion – Chapter 6 – The Mind Rots from the Inside

Things are actually finally coming together a bit.  Which is good because we only have two episodes left after this one.  Legion has been renewed for a second season however, which is good news, I suppose, though I kind of wonder where they could really go next.  This entire season seems to be all about, I dunno, freeing, saving David from his demons, I suppose.

And what a demon.  Demons?  That’s not super clear.  Aubrey Plaza as Lenny though was really great this episode.  There was also a bit of a brief glimpse that she is the fat ugly guy haunting David’s mind as well.  More specifically, being a parasite on David’s mind.  It’s still not clear on some of the other glimpses or characters.  Who is The Worlds Angriest Boy in the World who keeps popping up.  Is The Eye real and how does he fit into all of this?  Who is the diver, really, and why is Cary wearing his suit at the end?

Speaking of Cary, and Kerry, they got quite a bit of real development this round as well.  Cary went off and met with the mysterious diver and poor Kerry is being stalked by The Eye around the asylum.  Then there is Melanie, who didn’t do a lot in this episode but seems to have discovered the truth by breaking out tot he real world, though the question is, how can she save them from being shot?  I half expected her to just stand there and take the bullets thus saving David and Syd.

I feel like a broken record but I’m still not entirely convinced anything is real.  It’s essentially a battle between the good personalities of David’s mind and the evil ones, for control of the whole.

Also Lenny brought up David’s real dad again, though no reveal on who it was.  She did mentions something about “Playing the saint while giving up his son,” which really kind of does imply a particular character from the larger X-men universe.