So, first off: because I know your worlds just absolutely revolve around my little musings (lol), let me say, I am so sorry for the lack of posting last week. Between moving into a new apartment, some new, important responsibilities in real life, and how the Comcast guy was apparently in Alaska at the time – which is hilarious, considering that’s where I grew up – let’s just say it’s a small miracle that I’m posting this week, and last week was just utterly hosed.
As such, we’re commenting on two weeks this week. So, it’s This Week and Last Week on TV. 🙂
And what weeks they were! Black Lightning is driving us headlong towards its first season finale, Gotham baited-and-switched us several times over, and, finally, Agents of Shield is paving the way for its own finale in a few weeks by piling on the escalating action.
Commenting on them fairly lightly, I think, because we’re still putting things together in real life, but I hope you enjoy it!
1.11 “Black Jesus: The Book of Crucifixion”
& 1.12 “The Resurrection and the Light: The Book of Pain”
So, Proctor, convinced, for good reason, that Jeff is Black Lightning, sends Jeff’s vice-principal, I’ve completely forgotten her name… ah, Kara, thank you Wikipedia… to retrieve him. She uses a couple crooked cops to frame Jeff and have him arrested for dealing Green Light, then he’s to be taken by higher authorities to an ASA black site. Fortunately, he has friends looking out for him.
Gambi and Anissa take on the task of trying to redirect the ASA’s interest by “proving” that Jeff isn’t Black Lightning. So they rig up some gear, including a hologram and a self-driving van, to make a public spectacle. That’s enough to convince Kara, who was never really convinced in the first place, and she lets the ball drop on her end.
Still, Proctor probably would have taken Jeff anyway if not for Henderson’s interference. He digs up some easy dirt on a low-level corrupt cop and gets him to turn on their superior officer. With that, he’s able to exonerate Jeff before the ASA can show up, and, bonus, he ousts a pair of corrupt officers and gets a promotion. He’s dedicated to giving Freeland a better police force, which they certainly stand in desperate need of. I worry that the ASA won’t like losing that particular local connection, and they may retaliate in some way, but, for the moment, things might actually be looking up.
That, however, might just be because Proctor’s focused on Black Lightning. Tobias returns to the screen, and through him we get a pretty full explanation of things from Proctor. Three decades ago, the ASA ran an experiment with a drug that was supposed to make people passive, easier to control. Instead, it turned some of them into metahumans. They liked that idea, but, small detail, it killed people. Those kids in the pods are apparently being kept alive by the ASA, which is actually trying to save them. Not for any humanitarian reason, of course, they just want successful results.
Green Light is another experiment, and it makes people stronger, and gives some of them powers, and makes them fearless as well. But it still kills everyone who takes it. Thus, they scooped up the latest crop of metahuman kids, keeping them alive as well.
The evil government agency is trying to save the lives of kids. It’s for their own agenda, but, wow, I did not see that one coming.
To that end, they need Black Lightning, and they need him alive. He has abilities, he is likely the successful result of the experiment that they’ve been looking for. With him, they could save the kids… oh, and begin to create an enthralled army of supermen.
So, with Tobias as the strongest candidate for Lady Eve’s vacated seat on the Shadow Board, he is given the task of bringing Black Lightning in. Alive, even after the death of his sister. He has that girl, Syonide, helping him as usual, but also a little project he began and which Proctor finished: Khalil, with his legs restored, his muscles increased, and sporting dreadlocks.
Khalil is none to friendly towards Jeff, and he doesn’t even contact his mother, but he can’t help but call out to Jennifer. She has her own issues, especially with her superpowers and how she wants to get “fixed,” but she comes running to Khalil anyway. For a moment, he’s like his old self again, but it’s so very fleeting. He’s been barred from his old life by the people who “saved” him (after crippling him in the first place), and now he does their bidding.
As said bidding is to capture Black Lightning, Tobias, Syonide, and Khalil trespass onto holy ground: they attack Garfield High to draw Black Lightning out and take him down. The trap works, but with some hiccups. Syonide finds herself facing Thunder, and Anissa dominates… until she exhales, and the girl is so good at what she does that she strikes at that exact moment, stealing the advantage until Anissa can breathe in again. Elsewhere, Tobias and Jeff fight hand-to-hand, and I’m actually very surprised that they had Jeff winning that fight until Khalil showed up. I figured Tobias is strong and experienced enough that he’d have dominated Jeff. But either way, Jeff’s opponents manage to hit him so hard that his heart stops.
Tobias hardly sheds tears, but that’s not what they were supposed to do!
It’s only lucky that Jennifer was there, and figured out, with Gambi’s guidance, how to shock her father’s heart into beating again. So, Jennifer, think your powers might be good for something now? 😉
Jeff is alive but unconscious, the family is in hiding, and Proctor still wants Black Lightning, and Thunder, dead or alive.
All of this besides the personal drama of Jeff and Lynn possibly getting back together long-term, and the revelation that Tobias brought Lala back from the dead, with some added programming to make him obedient. And what does he intend? Well, he’s not stopping with Eve. He means to kill Proctor, which would not be so bad, and take over the Shadow Board, which would be so bad.
So, action, intrigue, drama… I’m thinking Black Lightning‘s first season is definitely going to be a winner, but we’ll have to see how they top it off. 🙂
4.17 “Mandatory Brunch Meeting”
& 4.18 “That’s Entertainment”
If Tetch and Crane weren’t bad enough for Jerome to have recruited, he gains an entire Legion of Horribles with the additions of Firefly, Freeze, and Penguin to the ranks. That’s a rather notable swathe of Batman’s rogue gallery, right there, and of the surviving foes that Gordon and company have faced throughout the series thus far, all in one room.
The first thing Jerome is after turns out to be his own twin brother, Jeremiah. Said brother is obviously a bit unhinged himself, but he’s also in control of himself. As a child, he lied to their mother, said Jerome threatened him with a knife and with fire, so he was taken away to safety by their uncle, raised right, graduated a prestigious school, became a gifted and noted architect and engineer under the name Xander Wylde, even worked for Thomas Wayne, all at a very young age, while Jerome was left behind, with very little love in his life. Jeremiah always knew his brother would come for him, so he designed a labyrinthine house underground, a place he could control, where he could both hide and contain Jerome simultaneously. As that was done years before Jerome even began killing people, I’d say it was pretty decent foresight, but he failed to account for two things: Jerome having friends to rescue him, and Jerome being able to solve the maze.
He was just lucky to have Gordon and Bullock in close proximity at the time. His servant, Echo (another name from DC, if I recall, a fairly capable minion), was formidable, but got hypnotized. Bullock’s approach to avoiding that was charmingly simple and effective: charge forward, screaming and shooting. They managed to save Jeremiah from his brother, but things were only just beginning.
That episode ended with one of the more horrifying sights the show has offered us thus far: the debut of the Joker’s gas, the one that makes people laugh and smile inhumanly as they die in agony. Oh, the creepy and terrifying things we humans come up with.
Jerome has this huge scene planned, involving a ton of Joker gas, a crowd at a concert (oh, they were playing an old Batman theme song!), some carefully-chosen hostages in the form of Bruce, Jeremiah, and others, that sort of thing. He blows up heads and straps Penguin inside the airship delivering the gas after the man tries to betray him, but Gordon and the good guys manage to pull through. The entire scheme is foiled, most of the hostages are saved, and, bonus, Jerome dies. Again. Hopefully for good this time.
Unfortunately, even this is all according to Jerome’s plan. His days were numbered, after everything he’d done. So to continue on, he enacted his ultimate revenge on his brother: turning him into the next incarnation of the Joker. One dose of a very special gas, destroying Jeremiah’s sanity in one, single stroke, snuffing out all the good he would ever do, and the friendship he might have had with Bruce, replacing it with madness. The city sleeps well believing the menace is passed, but it’s only just slithered underground to emerge again, soon.
Not sure how much I like that idea, that route to take with the Joker. That’s a recurring thing with Gotham, though, where they do things we both like and dislike with the characters. Jerome was set up as the Joker, and he was fantastic, right down to the freaky, inhuman smile. And now they replace him with his barely-introduced twin brother who goes insane because Jerome posthumously douses him with a specific gas? Hm. Not sure how much I like that.
Elsewhere, Lee had an impromptu showdown with the Riddler. As Riddler set up his Riddle House in the Narrows, promising a fortune to any who bested him and delivering misery to everyone who failed, Lee steps in to put a stop to that. She takes on the challenge: answer a riddle and give one he can’t answer. But, ah, Lee isn’t just playing the game. She plays him. She tricks him into divulging the answer to the first riddle: a promise. And then she gives him a riddle that’s easy to answer, “I love you,” but which he can’t say to her. So, she wins.
And then she nudges him towards robbing banks.
I’m guessing she wants the funds to help the Narrows, but with this new, game-playing version of Lee in charge, one can’t be certain of anything she’s doing.
As for Barbara, she accepts her role as the new leader of the League of Shadows with glee, using their power to strike down her enemies. But the sisters of the League have other ideas, and take her to a vault which only Ra’s could open. Therein, they find relics and tomes with ancient secrets, and a painting that seems to show Barbara and Ra’s side-by-side four hundred years ago.
Tabitha isn’t exactly on board with all this, especially with the huge and sudden change in Barbara’s priorities, so Barbara has her girls throw her out and kick her while she’s down. That’s when men emerge from the shadows, helping her up and then tranquilizing her, saying something about how they serve Ra’s, and Barbara is an imposter.
So, intrigue abounds! This show is very good at that, have you noticed? It has action and dire situation, but it all rests upon the intrigue beneath it. Very well done!
Finally, Bruce has a birthday, which Selina shows up for, and for which Alfred bakes a cake and gives him a very dark, powerful, bulletproof car. Batmobile precursor. Heh, I wonder how long it’ll take Bruce to use Jeremiah’s engine design for the real thing.
5.16 “Inside Voices”
& 5.17 “The Honeymoon”
Coulson’s stay at Hale’s Hydra is unpleasant, but brief. After Creel touches the gravitonium and detects the life within – apparently, Raina fed Ian Quinn to it alongside the professor – he goes after Coulson, which gives Coulson a chance to turn him and get help rescuing Talbot and getting out. They find Talbot easily enough, but Ruby and the robots are hot on their heels, so Creel has to hold them off until Coulson and Talbot can escape. Ruby nearly kills him, despite Hale’s orders, but the two men manage to get out and keep moving until Daisy can find them.
That’s accomplished with the help of Robin. It takes her a bit, as she’s apparently lived through the day of her death, which would be traumatic for anyone, let alone a little girl. It’s only when she sees May, her adopted mother, that she begins opening up again. Her real mother is obviously hurting from that, but she’s also noticed that she’s not in any of Robin’s pictures, and it’s a comfort knowing Robin will have someone looking after her. With Robin back in play, she draws a picture of Coulson and Talbot in the woods beneath three peaks. She knows Coulson is going to die, but he’s also the one to put the pieces together. The pieces of this elusive, all-important puzzle to save the world.
Unfortunately, when Daisy rescued Coulson and Talbot, and had her first showdown with Ruby, Deke got wounded as he tried to be her backup. They managed to get him back to the base, but Mack and Piper were the best medical care available, so it was even closer than it would have been. He’ll be fine, though. He even awake just long enough to talk about how much he wants to kiss Daisy, if she wants to kiss him too, but he thinks she hates him, before they knock him out again.
As for where the usual medical care was, Simmons, Yo-Yo, and Fitz are the immortal three now, using the supposed guarantee of the end of the world and their survival through it in order to tempt fate and take the fight to the enemy. They stage a dramatic test, with severe, lethal results for failure, both to prove their point and to trick Mack into letting Fitz out of his cell while also locking Mack inside it. They go on a daring raid of a suspected Hydra facility and are rewarded with Ivanov and the robots standing guard over the device intended to infuse human DNA with another material. They get in, break something critical to it, and don’t quite make it out. Yo-Yo’s speed backfires, her new arms unable to keep up, putting her in great pain. Fitz-Simmons draw the robots’ attention while she sneaks out to call for backup, but she meets Ivanov first and takes him down, which takes down the rest of the robots just in time to save her friends. But then more company arrives.
Strucker finishes his work, the schematics on the chamber, put together from all across his father’s documents, and takes them to Ruby. Ruby is grounded after her failures and insubordination, but Strucker convinces her step up now. She overpowers Hale and locks her in her room, while Strucker kills other personnel and paves the way for them. Thus, just when it seems like they’ve won, Fitz-Simmons find themselves at gun and chakram point. Either Fitz fixes what he just broke, or Simmons dies.
Daisy happily hands the mantel of leadership back to Coulson and begins looking after Talbot, while May rips Coulson a new one over his reckless I’m-going-to-die-soon-anyway behavior. Yes, Daisy has what it takes to lead Shield, but not yet. She needs more time to develop, and Coulson is trying to push her to it too hard and too fast. Daisy isn’t ready yet. But if what Yo-Yo learned from her future self is true, that they have to let Coulson die in order to save the world, then she, like most leaders, will just have to rise to the occasion.
Oh, and Hydra managed to program Talbot to comply while they had him. We find this out exactly when he calls his wife, who Hydra is holding at gunpoint. He wants to apologize and reassure his family, and the episode ends with Hydra turning that around against Shield.
So, their trusted friend who they just rescued is about to attack them within their final refuge while the desperate hope of saving the future slips ever further through their fingers.