Sadly, this is my first blog post in over a week. I’ve been at THIMUN, and just returned two nights ago. Naturally, I had quite a bit of TV to catch up on. New episode of Young Justice, Arrow, Green Lantern The Animated Series, and The Clone Wars had premiered while I was in the Hague. Sadly, we will be losing two of those four (possibly even three) at the end of their current seasons. Yup, this is horrible news. But it is what it is, I guess.
Star Wars: The Clone Wars
Season 5 Episode 15 – Shades of Reason
Shades of Reason was one of the most stunning episodes of the Clone Wars yet. It continues the Darth Maul/Deathwatch story arc, and it only gets better. With an army of the crime syndicates established, Maul and Vizsla begin a ruthless assault on Mandalore. Neither of them are really a part of the attack – instead, Maul sends the crime organizations to assault Mandalore. This allows Pre Vizsla, with the support of the Mandalorian people, to take control of the planet, with a series of staged arrests of the leaders of the crime syndicates and Savage Oppress, as well as some arrests that are not staged – Darth Maul and Dutchess Satine’s. One of the issues that I’ve had with this arc as a whole is how much they’ve underplayed Maul. He should have easily been able to overcome the Death Watch, and shouldn’t have needed Savage to break the two of them out. And Maul really should have been able to take out Vizsla a lot easier than he did. I didn’t think they would actually kill Vizsla off, but they did, and it was an excellent move. This – as well as the fast pace of the episode, the excellent animation, the intelligent story telling, and the wall to wall action – makes Shades of Reason one of The Clone Wars strongest episodes ever.
Season 5 Episode 16 – The Lawless
There’s no competition anymore. The Lawless is easily the best episode of the Clone Wars. Ever. Sadly, it is the conclusion of the Darth Maul/Death watch arc – though perhaps not the end of the Death Watch arc. Death Watch is falling apart, in the midst of a civil war between Vizsla’s right hand woman and her supporters and Maul’s troops. The blue/red markings are a nice touch to the rift. The episode begins with a speeder chase, after the dissident members of Death Watch rescue Satine. The rescue is in vain, but the chase scene is very well done. The rescue isn’t entirely in vain – Satine does get a message to Obi-Wan, who shows up in The Twilight, which we haven’t seen since the second season. But it isn’t any of this that makes the episode so stunning. Darth Maul kills Satine. While Obi Wan watches. That, I did not see coming. Not at all. Obi Wan’s reaction is kind of underdone though. Yes, he is a Jedi and can conceal or bury his emotions, but I expected his reaction to be a little more severe. Still, that’s just nitpicking. The best part of this episode is, hands down, the final act. In which Maul, Savage, and Sidious engage in a Sith battle royale. Finally, the issue of having more than two Sith is addressed by Sidious, as, in his words, Maul has been replaced.The ensuing lightsaber duel is, to use a single word, awesome. The three Sith battle savagely. Maul doesn’t use the Force, which is stupid, and could have allowed him to win. But seeing him go off after Savage’s death was excellent. Much like everything else in the episode.
Season 2 Episode 12 – The Fix
The Fix was the most slow paced episode since the first part of Season 2 (As in, before that annoying summer hiatus). But it isn’t a bad episode. The only battle in the entire episode really delivers, in typical Young Justice fashion. We finally get to see Deathstroke actually do battle here, and even with his ridiculous ponytail, he kicks ass. Lagoon Boy’s, to be specific. Have I ever mentioned that I really don’t like that guy at all? He tries to push forward his relationship with Miss Martian in The Fix, but there’s probably nothing happening on that front. It’s also in the Fix that M’gann finally sees the true consequences of using her powers, as she is captured by Tigress and Deathstroke in order to fix Kaldur. But the consequences of her not using her powers are also significant – especially at the start of the episode, when she doesn’t probe deep enough in the Martian beetle’s mind. I really enjoyed M’gann and Artemis’ voyage into Kaldur’s messed up mind, especially since it’s destroyed. The landscape is actually a destroyed Atlantis – and I loved that, and I find it cool that, as Atlantis is rebuilt in his mind, his mind is rebuilt too. Overall it was a great episode, despite the fact that it felt a little slow, despite all the plot twists.
Season 2 Episode 13 – Runaways
Runaways really kickstarts the plot line of Young Justice. While the plot has been moving at a pretty steady pace, it really picks up in this episode with Green Beetle revealing to Blue Beetle that he actually rebooted his Scarab when he silenced it, and the two of them are now in league with Black Beetle. This wasn’t a huge surprise, really, but it’s nice to see the show move on that point. And you can see it earlier in the episode too, when Blue Beetle takes out Red Volcano with absolutely no regard for human life. Red Volcano’s return is a major plot hole though, because he was dead, wasn’t he? I though they took him off the table in season 1. Maybe I should read the comics or something. Anyways, despite that major plot hole, Runaways was a good episode, that finally acknowledged the teens that the Reach had captured, now with active meta genes. This episode is actually a lot like Fireworks, the premiere episode, in the respect that a lot of it is about the runaways learning to work together as a team and use their powers effectively. Jaime finally reveals himself to Tai, and Luthor finally makes his inevitable proposal to the four members of the team. And he may very well be about to be betrayed by the Reach, as they seem to be building up Blue Beetle’s popularity, probably so that the public will trust him, ven when the prophecy comes true, if it comes true.
Green Lantern: the Animated Series
Season 1 Episode 19 – Loss
Based on the title, it was easy to guess where the episode was going, especially after Razer and Aya’s confrontation at Razer’s wife’s grave. Finally, in The Loss, we saw some headway there. After hinting at it for the past 18 episodes – well, maybe 17 – that relationship finally goes somewhere. The direction it goes is no surprise, of course, but the fact that we get something on that front is nice. The two characters actually see some forward motion in this episode. Also, after being forgotten about since the mid season finale, the Red Lanterns return, and, unfortunately, a Manhunter appears on their planet, and Zillius Zox – yes, that annoying ball from earlier this season – discovers Hal, Razer, and Kilowag battling it. And so, obviously, they have to take him hostage. Finally, we get the origin story for the Anti Monitor in this episode, which is very nice. And then there’s the climax. In which Aya actually dies. At first, it looks like it could be Razer that will fall, but Aya’s sudden burst of emotion leads to her death, as she rushes out to save Razer. And then dies. It was genuinely surprising. Sure, a bunch of deaths in Clone Wars is one thing, but in GLTAS? Surprising. And surprisingly well executed, actually, making this one of the best episodes of the show so far.
Season 1 Episode 20 – Cold Fury
Yes, Aya comes back. Not at all surprising, to be honest, but her crawling back onto the ship in a Manhunter body is still a relief. What comes after was something of a stretch, especially Razer telling her he doesn’t in fact love her. I guess that he just can’t handle the pain of losing someone he cares about a third time. And, evidently, Aya can’t handle the pain either. But before that, let’s talk about the opening. The Anti Monitor kills a Guardian, even after the Chief Science Officer exercises her formidable abilities on the Manhunters. Finally. It does raise a few questions, namely why she didn’t just do that last episode to deal with the Manhunter. The opening to this episode was good, but it’s the last two thirds that are truly stellar. The visuals are surprisingly well done for this part, as the Red Lantern fleet – with Shard at the center – facing off against the Anti Monitor and his horde of Manhunters. It’s also at this part that we see that Aya really is very similar to a child, when she shuts down her emotions to focus on the mission, and then sucks the ship’s power to eliminate the Anti Monitor. While many would expect she would just get rid of it, turn her emotions back on, and Razer would suddenly not be sad anymore, that’s the exact opposite of what happens, and the fact that GLTAS can surprise me like that is astounding. Aya absorbing the Anti Monitor is a masterstroke, and will make the remainder of the season veyr, very interesting.
Trust But Verify
After a series of lackluster, boring episodes, Trust But Verify finally gave us an episode of the same caliber as the first five of the season. Yes, there are some cheesy lines, but it’s actually quite minor. We finally get a villain that is actually a major threat – like, in the book threat. Oh yeah, that book still exists, remember? But that isn’t the center point of this episode. The center point is Diggle taking center stage as he investigates the Blackhawks, who are lead by his former CO, who he thinks could do no wrong. Except his company has been staging robberies, and a few are staged throughout the episode, allowing for some great cinematography and action. Diggle, at this point, is sort of Oliver’s moral compass, and, though he was wrong, shows Oliver that action isn’t always the best way to solve issues. My biggest issue with the episode was the fact that the Blackhawks were the antagonists. The Black Hawks are good guys in the comics, and in the show, they are the antagonists, and this isn’t really explained. They really don’t seem to have much motivation, a recurring trait in villains on this show. Meanwhile, in the realm of the flashbacks, we see Olvier actually begin to become who he is when he returns. We also learn that, at some point, he leaves the island. Oh, and his mentor’s a bad guy. Thea and Moira remain extremely annoying, but are still necessary for the show. I guess.