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What happens when you see the twist coming, but there’s a twist inside the twist? I don’t know if there’s a name for it, but a good one might be “Trompe L’Oeil,” the title of this week’s episode of Westworld. The French phrase already means “optical illusion”, a way of saying that what you’re seeing isn’t really what you’re seeing, but for fans of the show who thought they were seeing something in one particular character on Westworld, it turns out that they were only seeing part of the story. The final revelation of one of Westworld’s particular ongoing mysteries was ultimately outdone by what another character does after that secret’s revealed. (more…)

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The Walking Dead continues its push into the Negan storyline as he and his motley crew pay their first visit to Alexandria. Some aspects of the visit were fairly predictable, while others were mildly surprising. Yet still, some moves were head-scratchingly confusing. It is understandable that the show has to hit its marks in order to further the story, but for those who even have a vague sense of what is coming, it’s hard to tell how long it will take things to play out. We already know that the show has been renewed for Season 8, but does that mean things will take on a slower, more deliberate pace? Granted, this is only the 4th episode of the season, but is two seasons too long for a build up to the inevitable confrontation? (more…)

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There’s a scene in Independence Day: Resurgence where the human heroes awaken a new alien lifeform that some online wags euphemistically dubbed “the Siri Globe.” Within seconds it learns English and starts spitting out exposition because human language is “primitive” and really director Roland Emmerich wanted to get back to blowin’ stuff up real good. Most alien contact movies, even the smart ones, don’t like to get dogged down in process because showing scientists learning how to interact with aliens is not as interesting as the interactions themselves. But in The Arrival, director Denis Villeneuve comes along and says, “Yes it can.” (more…)

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Last week on Arrow, we finally saw the finale of the Tobias Church story arc. The gangster with a plan was laid out on a slab courtesy of one mystery man by the name of Prometheus. Unfortunately for Oliver, Tobias gave Prometheus the info on who The Green Arrow is without the mask. This time around, Ollie and Team Arrow will have to deal with figuring out who Prometheus is and what game plan he has in mind. With ‘So It Begins’, we enter into a new Arrow chapter and looks like it could be an interesting one. (more…)

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When we last left Supergirl … actually, scratch that. What happened on last week’s episode of Supergirl matters less than you think. Season 2’s fifth episode, “Crossfire,” replaces the “super-villain of the week” with a local gang armed with alien firepower. Supergirl/Kara Danvers (Melissa Benoist) encounters the gang moments before they rob a bank. She’s caught completely off-guard by the alien weaponry, losing the fight (in superhero stories on the big or small screen, superheroes invariably lose or tie their first fight with a new foe), but not her thirst for justice (that’s unquenchable, of course). The real culprit, Project Cadmus, the not-so-secret, anti-alien organization with deep pockets, is playing the long game, using the attacks to sow anti-alien sentiment and a backlash against the recently passed Alien Amnesty Act.

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The mysteries of Westworld are plentiful, but one gets the idea from watching this week’s episode, “The Adversary,” that we’re getting close to some kind of reckoning. For better or ill, I indulged in learning more about some of the most popular theories about what’s going on in the park, and on the show, and while the combined knowledge and consensus of the internet has been interesting to learn about, I couldn’t help but get the feeling that “The Adversary” was designed with the intention to undo all that deduction. Perhaps Westworld, this week, wanted to tell us we’re not as smart as we think we are. (more…)

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After the losses of the season premiere, it feels as though we are going through something akin to the 5 stages of grief when it comes to The Walking Dead. Last week, we were all still pretty depressed. This week, however, feels closer to acceptance than anything else. Acceptance comes as the audience realizes that The Walking Dead has a rhythm and pace that we all know. Some love it, while others hate it. Whichever side of the fence you sit on, you know that after a strong opener, The Walking Dead will now spend a number episodes explaining what is going on. In the case of episode 3, we were treated to an interesting view of what Daryl was going through as a prisoner of Negan. (more…)

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Anyone who thinks – let alone imagines – that Stan Lee and Steve Ditko’s Doctor Strange, the latest entry in the ever-expanding Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) will revolutionize big-budget superhero-oriented blockbusters will be likely disappointed. Story wise, there’s nothing in Doctor Strange that can be described as revolutionary or even evolutionary, but that’s looking at Doctor Strange through one narrow lens, a lens that obviously ignores that film operates on a visual, cinematic level too and there, Doctor Strange succeeds beyond even the highest of expectations shared by comic-book fans and MCU fans (i.e., everyone else). Despite a sporadically intriguing, mid-level career as a genre filmmaker, Scott Derrickson (Deliver Us From Evil, Sinister, The Day the Earth Stood Still, The Exorcism of Emily Rose) has delivered a superhero entry bursting with visual ingenuity, creativity, and imagination unparalleled in superhero-themed filmmaking, in or out of the MCU, expanding the MCU into a multiplicity, into a multiverse of possibilities that will repay a near infinity of repeat visits.

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Last week on Arrow, the new team was finally starting to come together. But when they had to go stop Tobias Church from doing bad things, The Green Arrow was nowhere to be found. He was out rescuing Diggle at the time and, unfortunately for the team, that meant Wild Dog got nabbed by Church and his gang. So now it’s up to them to get him back and stop Church from doing even more bad things. The season is going pretty well thus far, but can ‘Human Target’ make it 5 in a row? (more…)

Survivors

An alien fight club is all the rage on the fourth episode of Supergirl’s second season, “Survivors.” Apparently, everybody talks about the alien fight club, but by “everybody,” we mean National City’s power elite, the movers and shakers, the wealthy and powerful who, bored with spending their fortunes on expensive toys, have decided to go into B-movie territory and gamble away large sums of cash in exchange for watching illegal underground fight clubs led by Veronica Sinclair (Dichen Lachman). She goes by “Roulette” because in a city filled with superheroes and supervillains, why not give yourself a colorful, if on-the-nose, nickname? Roulette always bets on herself and by episode’s end, it’s clear she’s not lying when she claims she has powerful men and/or women keeping her safe from prosecution or government interference.

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