Series Issues: Samurai Jack and the end of innocence. Episode CI.

A bittersweet victory for Jack.

(Source: Adult Swim)

What I got from this episode at the end is that Genndy wanted to give his series a finale that would fulfill the other side of the premise that he envisioned a long time ago rather than change it. There’s several ways this could have ended. We could have the idillic finale, and we had it in a sense, or we could have gone heartfelt… Well, we kinda had that too. I guess this was a little of everything, but I could’ve thought of a few alternatives.

I think it couldn’t have gone done without the battle against Aku. We needed to have all of Jack’s allies there. Ashi was bound to break her chains from Aku’s mental grasp. In the actual finale, Ashi is the one that opens a time portal. That could have gone several ways. I think I would have liked Jack to have that moment in which he decides if going through the portal is even necessary if he could kill Aku then and now. Is Jack’s world his past or his future? And wouldn’t Ashi have doubted in following Jack? After all, she’s bound to join/lead this army against the armies of Aku.

I can’t help but sense an opportunity lost in making Jack stay in the future. A little morale tale of how you can’t really go back… The initial premise of the show doesn’t have to be fulfilled. Jack can decide to move on rather than go back. It would have shown how Jack has evolved. He could have stayed with Ashi for a lifetime and then go back to face the Guardian for the portal. Of course, for that to happen, the whole area of the portal would’ve been hidden under a spell from Aku, who would have lied about destroying all portals.

Alternatively you could’ve given him a non-ending by making him stay and keep fighting Aku. That would be far from ideal, kinda leaving it open ended like that.

There could’ve been a point in which it was considered for him to just choose between the past with family and the future with Ashi. That would’ve been interesting unto itself. Technically he didn’t get a chance to do so in the final version. He got transported via portal to the very first time they fought, to end it there before the future would ever know of Aku’s evil. In that sense, he’s restored innocence to the world who would never know of Aku’s evil. The demon will still be remembered as a local myth, but no more than that.

But that bittersweet wedding that almost took place, yeah… You almost hope the gods of his ancestors would have intervened then. Jack’s sacrifice had to be framed as something he almost could’ve had. But now, he still gets something that the entire world has because of him. He won a future for everyone.

Finale Thoughts:

  • So many friends, so many adventures. They all turned into memories. Even his beloved Ashi. Then again, Samurai Jack may have wavered but he never gave up.
  • There was a little too quick of a thought in how Ashi ends up being the one to makes the portal back to the past. More time would’ve been ideal for a goodbye. We missed that opportunity to have Jack decide between the past and the future. Then again, he’s been tested enough.
  • I didn’t want a non-ending in which Jack keeps having adventures forever, or an ambiguous ending in which the screen freezes as he battles Aku. The shapeshifting Aku has survived cuts of the sword before. We had to see him exterminated for good this time.
  • We did get to see the Scotsman again. Most important, Jack did get to meet him again, even in his ghost form.
  • That being said, we could’ve used that time he took to introduced his plethora of daughters by name. It’s crunch time, every minute counts.
  • Finally, it’s a bit sad to say goodbye to Jack, but good to know he returned to his own time and his family. As sad as losing Ashi was, he saved the future. I just wish that he would ended with some company.

That will do for now.

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Series Issues: Doctor Who goes to the Extremis

Spoilers might rock a mic like a vandal.

(Source: BBC One)

Doctor Who is in. Well, not completely. Just virtually. I did enjoy the walk down memory lane as Doctor Who decides the fate of none other than Missy herself (Michelle Gomez in the house). I thought the idea of a culture that revolves around death intriguing. It’s kind of ruined in the end but let’s not yet discuss that. First we’ll have to deal with the Vatican. Sigh.

This one is a personal peeve of mine. I see the way that the Vatican is held in high regard being a very influential religion, but it’s hardly one that can suddenly call upon themselves to represent all faiths. It’s very similar to when the US thinks they can represent the entire planet in every superhero vs. aliens movie or tv show. So, yeah please both of you get over yourselves.

That being said, I do like the not so far fetched idea that the Vatican has a secret library of all things blasphemous called the Haereticum (there was an index of such books). At the same time, I hated the whole “you can come us for a confession anytime” as if such offer were some kind of privilege. The Veritas, literally “the truth” in latin, would be a title that the Vatican would not want exposed. The fact that it turns out to be a whole we’re-in-the-matrix deal might have died right there if it weren’t for the Missy prelude and later reveal.

Yes, Missy is alive and well in the vault. She also might be the only chance the Doctor has to prevent the coming invasion/apocalypse thing. As for that civilization that revolves everything around death, I didn’t quite get them being so cartoon-like afraid of demise based on the Doctor’s record. Wasn’t death their thing? Wasn’t the last Time Lord unarmed?

Still, all and all, a pretty good episode that hopefully is the start of the main underlying story finally coming to fruition. Bring on Missy, bring on the enemy and let’s see what the oncoming storm can bring.

Highs/Lows/RandomNumberGenerator:

  • All computers can rock a random number generator, and yes you can have more than one generated in the same program and it will not be the same. The rnd() function usually generated a number between 0 and 1 and you multiply by the range you one and round it up. Yes, it is possible they match. But they rarely do. So, stop saying computers are bad with random numbers. They’ve been able to come up with them for a while.
  • The Veritas’ big reveal ends up being that we’re in the matrix, or rather than they were. Not the first time that I’ve seen a TV show do the matrix, but then again not even the matrix was the first to do the matrix either. It’s a tale as old as time in sci-fi.
  • Missy was the best part of the episode. The Pope didn’t even register.
  • I was enjoying the idea of a civilization where culture revolves around death and execution. However, it goes south at the end when the Doctor’s list of fallen enemies is enough to scare everyone around in an almost cartoonish fashion. Shouldn’t they have a more mature approach to death? And shouldn’t they know the ways in which the Doctor’s enemies have failed, meaning they shouldn’t be in harm’s way if they just don’t threaten him?
  • The oath is revealed. The Doctor must guard Missy’s body in the vault for a thousand years, but not necessarily dead. There’s obviously loopholes.
  • We’re still a long way from the finale, so I’m glad we got Missy halfway through. That means there’s more coming up.
  • Really? The computer inside the simulation has an outbound mail server… Ok, ok… I’ll stop with the computer geek stuff.
  • Why do we end on the oval office of the Whitehouse? Why does Bill have to ask if that is “the President” as if there’s not a hundred presidents in the world? Because even for show from the UK, the US Whitehouse has more gravitas that 10 Downing Street. It really shouldn’t.
  • I’ve learned that although there was not a library, there existed an index, a list of all publications heretical and immoral called Index Librorum Prohibitorum. Whether that implies that the Vatican Secret Archives had a section for the books listed in the index, I have no confirmation.

That will do for now.

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Superhero Weekly: Supergirl gets political in Resist. The Flash burns up Infantino Street. Arrow goes Missing.

Spoilers will try to remain non-partisan.

(Source: The CW)

I can’t say the same for Supergirl this week. Resist is filled with political messages from the beginning to the end. Most of it comes from Calista Flockhart’s returning Cat Grant, as she lounges from Airforce One to her office at CatCo dispensing speeches on female empowerment and obvious digs at a certain reality star president. Yes, Cat can be really cool, but shouldn’t cooler heads prevail? Is this the moment? Am I taking Cat too seriously?

Lynda Carter is back as President Olivia Marsdin. That was pretty amazing casting, but can we talk sense of a moment? Why would the President of the United States decide to head straight towards an armed conflict? Airforce One does not have offensive capability. It barely has any defensive one. This is not a secret. The fact that it gets blown up does not surprise anybody. Cat (who keeps dropping names like if her life depends on it) survives thanks to Supergirl. The president survives thanks to the fact that she’s an alien. The crew of the plane and the members of the Secret Service that were in the plane didn’t make it. Not the wisest of moves.

Still, the ladies have this one. Lena Luthor, my favorite character, remains the smartest mind in the room and she is on point to the end. Rhea perhaps was the weakest link, driven by ego and emotion. Even Lillian Luthor was far more effective in her choices than the Daxamite Queen. Cat demonstrates she’s still the Queen of All Media.

(Source: The CW)

It was filler for most part of the episode. The Flash recruits Captain Cold, once more removed from time. Argus holding a piece of Dominator technology. And all for naught, as the spectacular cannon doesn’t really have enough kick to trap Savitar to the Speed Force.

But let’s focus on what was done right, and that means the two scenes I liked. First, is the ambiguous speech delivered by Killer Frost to Savitar as he repairs his suit. Is that Caitlin Snow peeking from behind Killer Frost’s words?

And second is that dark and haunting swan scene. Seeing Iris’ video message to Barry as he runs that short distance that feels like light years away was a tug at the heartstrings. Yes, it was dark and tragic but to quote a certain Grand Admiral, “but it was beautifully done.”

(Source: The CW)

Meanwhile in Arrow, Chase is in prison but he has minions about. Evelyn Sharp is back and so is Black Siren. That also means we get this heartbreaking moment in which Quentin Lance has to see one of his dead daughters come back to life just to learn it’s not her. That was cruel and unusual punishment.

Chase also has the help of Talia’s Al Ghul faction from the League of Assassins Catalog. That means Oliver will soon find himself enlisting Malcolm Merlyn, and further down the line, Nyssa Al Ghul. He also has a very clear idea of where he’s taken his prisoners. Lian Yu island should consider advertising with some travel agencies. It’s starting to become a popular destination.

The big cliffhanger at the end was worth waiting all this time for. In the hidden underground prison of Lian Yu, Oliver recruits his last asset. It’s Deathstroke himself.

Highs/Lows/PositronCannonsAndSpeedForceBazookas:

  • I know everyone has a political agenda right now, and I’m not a fan of certain president that will go unnamed, but I feel Supergirl has played a little too much political fan service, specially in this episode.
  • Cat Grant (Calista Flockhart) returns. Yes, she’s a rocket but you don’t interrupt a speech between two leaders of different worlds because you think you know best. I’m aware all parties were female but a) Rhea was acting like a conqueror b) President Marsdin was demanding a surrender without having the advantage and c) Cat decided to interrupt? Sorry, but that was an ego trip on Cat’s part. I usually enjoy those, but not when the stakes are this high.
  • On the other hand Cat still rocks it as Supergirl’s mentor. That was an inspirational speech.
  • I’m on the fence of the galvanizing speech that moves everyone to resist, it’s a bit of a throwback to one that Cat made on season one, and I guess with that history it works.
  • President Olivia Marsdin (Lynda Carter) is all but asking Rhea to shoot her down. Was that really a strategy? Was that really smart? What about the other people that died on that plane?
  • “At least tell me you’re still a democrat.” Cat Grant still gets the best lines. I know exactly why Calista was going for a full roast, and I don’t like the guy either but is this the platform? It doesn’t fit the scenario either, with Lynda Carter cast as the President. Was New Daxam supposed to be North Korea?
  • I was expecting Cat to figure out that James is the Guardian in no time. Yes, you can see his eyes. Also, I had a bit of a hard time telling him apart from the other stormtrooper rejects.
  • Surprisingly, it’s Lillian Luthor of all people who seems to put her politics outside for the cause. Well, until she decides to betray them at the very end. To quote Supergirl, at least she is consistent.
  • Mon-El finally is a secondary character, which works better for him.
  • That ending, with Superman suddenly destroying the positron cannon and knocking aside Kara, let us know that we’re seeing a Krypton vs Krypton battle on the finale. I guess we’re going for a mind-controlled Kal El.
  • The idea of hiding Iris in Earth Two was smart. I have a smarted idea that should’ve occurred to someone the moment you heard that Argus had meta dampeners. HIDE IRIS IN ARGUS. Nobody has superpowers in there, correct? Okey, then keep her there!
  • Actually, if you got Layla to give you the Dominator device, why not ask for a sample of one of those dampeners so you could really trap Savitar? Cisco, I’m looking at you dude.
  • I disagree with Barry. Killer Frost is not immediate danger of death. Cisco could have helped in that fight and vibe Iris to safety. That fight between Killer Frost and Vibe should’ve happened on a different night.
  • Yes, it was a beautifully sad and haunting death scene, but here’s the problem now. It loses its merit if you bring her back. I know we all want Iris back, but it almost feels like a shame to undo that scene.
  • Arrow has gone back and forth with Damien Dah- sorry, my mistake. Let me start over. Arrow has gone back and forth with Adrian Chase a lot lately. He’s still one step above Damien, because Damien was just fucking annoying and boring. Chase still manages to do crazy in a slightly more interesting way.
  • Olicity shippers rejoice, they’re almost back together.
  • The flashback story has Oliver being drugged by Konstantin Kovar. My money was on him being Prometheus earlier in the season.
  • Deathstroke is getting a get-out-of-jail card. Something tells me he won’t be going back to it.
  • All three finales next week, and I’m actually glad since I need a break from the CW/DC universe. I don’t know if I will follow all three series again next season. I’m a little superhero-ed out, but I’ll pull through just for one more episode of each.

That will do for now.

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