Three guys talking about comic books, sports, movies, TV shows and the numerous other pastimes that make us Gentlemen of Leisure.

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Last Week in Pop Culture #30

Around the Web
I have a bunch of new and old X-Men stuff up in honor of Days of Future Past; check it all out here.

Also, this week's Market Maven column, as well as a column looking at April's sales numbers, can be found here and here

Once Upon a Time: Kansas


Knowing full well going in that a two-hour finale remained, I was fully expecting the other shoe to drop as soon as things started to go well in the fight against Zelena (not unlike how Pan's seeming defeat two episodes before the mid-winter break presaged the reveal that he switched places with Henry). The only problem was whatever it is that happened was way too unclear to be much of a cliffhanger. Was that Zelena? Her magic, operating on its own? Was her death part of the spell, something that wouldn't be triggered until she was "killed"? Bottom line: you want your cliffhangers to make the audience go "whoa!", not "huh?"

Emma's magic being gone even after Zelena's defeat is stupid. It had already been established that whatever spells she cast were undone should she die/lose her power (which is a kind of stupid on it's own, but hey, if you're going to establish a rule, no matter how dumb, you'd best follow it).

Nice how this episode everyone was concerned about not hurting the flying monkeys while last episode they attacked them with impunity.

I'm fine with the idea that Zelena is more powerful than Regina, but it would be nice if Regina could at least put up a fight instead of just getting pushed over every time they face off. 

The whole "Emma sacrifices her magic to save Hook" was just dumb. Storming off after Zelena with no real plan was dumb, and then, I dunno, revive him with magic instead of mouth-to-mouth?

Agents of SHIELD: Ragtag


The flashbacks to Ward and Garrett's past together was a lot of fun, but part of me wonders if it would have been even more effective coming earlier in the season, before we knew about Ward's heel turn (obviously, while omitting the direct references to Hydra)? At the time, it would have just been seen as a glimpse into Ward's training and his loyalty to Garrett. Then, after the Hydra reveal, we'd see it all in a brand new light. Or would focusing that much on Ward have been too much of a giveaway?

All of the old 60s era Howling Commandoes spy stuff was tons of fun.

Good on Fitz for triggering that localized EMP around Garrett. Total "f#%k yeah!" moment.

So did Ward kill the dog, or not? Maybe I just looked away from the screen at the wrong moment, but it seemed like he didn't, yet others are talking like he did. I took his inability to kill the dog to be a (rather obvious) bit of foreshadowing for how dumping Fitz and Simmons into the ocean won't actually kill them, but still make it look like he did kill them to satisfy Garrett.

Though if he did, indeed, "save" Fitz and Simmons, I really, really hope it's not the start of an ill-advised redemptive arc for him.

We learn that Skye's parents were "monsters" that tore through the Hunan province looking for her. This one really hopes they're not setting her up to be Mantis (granted, Hunan is China, not Vietnam, but still).

Other Shows I Watched
The Simpsons "Pay Pal", "Yellow Badge of Cowardge", Bob's Burgers "Wharf Horse (Or How Bob Saves/Destroys The Town—Part I)", "World Wharf II: The Wharfening (Or How Bob Saves/Destroys The Town—Part II)" Family Guy "He's Bla-ack!", American Dad "News Glance with Genevieve Vavance", "The Longest Distance Relationship", Veep " Fishing", The Goldbergs "The Age of Darkness", Modern Family "The Wedding (Part One)", Glee "Tested"

6 comments:

  1. One more annoying thing about Kansas- they implied that Dorothy had some sort of magical powers even though she came from a Land Without Magic.

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  2. I believe Ward did not shoot the dog but Garrett did (using a sniper rifle).

    The idea is, I think, that Garrett knows Ward has a soft spot and he has decided to take it upon himself to "clean up after Ward."

    Also, I think Ward's intention was to kill Fitz and Simmons by dumping them. It was just the only way he could off them because he couldn't open the chamber (and I assume it was bullet proof).

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  3. I didn't think the dog died either. I'm not sure whose POV the sniper rifle was supposed to represent, but in any case, it seemed to me like that shot missed. It looked like the dog got away.

    I hadn't considered that Skye could be Mantis. I sure hope that's not the case. Though I would appreciate if, since she's apparenlty not what she seems, her origin has some basis in Marvel comics rather than being entirely made up.

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  4. @Anonymous: One more annoying thing about Kansas- they implied that Dorothy had some sort of magical powers even though she came from a Land Without Magic.

    Yeah, I took that to mean Dorothy had some kind of power in Oz just because she's Dorothy, but either way, it's a clear example of OUAT not bothering to establish or follow any kind of consistent rules when it comes to magic.

    @Dr. Bitz: The idea is, I think, that Garrett knows Ward has a soft spot and he has decided to take it upon himself to "clean up after Ward."

    That's what I thought too, until I started reading otherwise. So at least I'm not alone in thinking that.

    @Matt: Though I would appreciate if, since she's apparenlty not what she seems, her origin has some basis in Marvel comics rather than being entirely made up.

    Ditto. I mean, Mantis would be terribly annoying, but it would still be better than some random made up thing specific to the show.

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  5. Once Upon a Time: Kansas

    The "clop clop clop" of Emma walking down a hallway early in the episode was so noticeable that I was sure it had to be a plot point of some kind.

    I'm with you that Emma losing her magic to save Hook made zero sense. Wasn't he supposed to be cannon fodder? Not that she was any more effective before then, having trudged out with Hook to confront Zelena only to have Zelena teleport away after a few seconds.

    "Heroes don't kill" is a fine mantra but as we've mentioned here before it nearly always has to be followed by "unless they need to." Now, "Heroes always find another way," I'm totally down with that, but it's just a wee bit different than the usual absolutist "Heroes don't let people die" that leads to, like, handing over the Dark One's dagger to let Cora and Regina control Rumpelstiltskin just to save one life, no matter how precious, that would immediately be in jeopardy again along with the entire town.

    My other big pet peeve this episode was that we barely ever see anyone in Storybrooke yet the hospital, like the local newspaper with tons of classifieds, is fully staffed yet Dr. Whale apparently practices everything and he's the only one who does. Never mind that he's Victor freaking Frankenstein, too; just the fact that he dated Emma and is now elbows deep in her mother's hoo-hah should be worth a passing comment.

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  6. Agents of SHIELD: Ragtag

    // Or would focusing that much on Ward have been too much of a giveaway? //

    Maybe but probably not necessarily. All we'd have needed was an episode where he was critically wounded, with the other characters saying how little they really know about him and Garrett just making a stoic face, for the flashbacks to roll entirely unsuspiciously.

    Glee: Tested

    This might be my '80s bias showing, but the episode had some killer music.

    "Let's Wait a While" was hilarious. The whole thing felt like an SNL video short in which Artie, Sam, and Mercedes were trying to seduce Julie into their lifestyle of breaking out into song.

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