Gotham: Smile Like You Mean It – Darkness (Review)

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At long last, Gotham has seen the resurrection of Jerome Valeska with a little help from ineffectual Jerome copycat Dwight. In “Smile Like You Mean It” Dwight has some issues with bringing The Joker back from the dead and resorts to cutting Jerome’s face off.

Wearing it like a mask, a’la The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, House of a 1000 Corpses, or The Devil’s Rejects  Dwight gives a live speech via Channel 9 to the Jerome fan club. While the re-emergence of Valeska was the big storyline here, there was also the Penguin take down, by Ed, Barbara and Tabby as well as the Kyle storyline.

It is Selena’s tale that is the most far reaching in this episode of Gotham. We now know just what caused the falling out between the future Cat Woman and Bruce Wayne. (It was also nicely worked into the “spat” between the two as Wayne is getting better at the whole taking care of himself business. Kyle only hits him twice…)

Some of this episode required major suspension of disbelief for the thing to work. Tabitha, whose recently severed hand has healed incredibly fast, was able to dispatch Oswald’s former associates very easily.  Shooting Tommy Bones and the men in the nightclub with no hesitation or difficulty using that right hand stretched credibility a good bit.

Granted, Tabby’s incredibly healed hand was no less impressive than Jerome’s re-attached face. However…Jerome’s wincing performance while stapling back his visage was funny enough that one could ignore the lack of sag and drag around the eyes and mouth.

Gotham this week required a lot of forgiveness when it came to certain plot lines. Another problem arises with the Oswald Cobblepot and Ed Nygma story. Oswald has always been mad as a box of frogs but he is not stupid.

The teaming up of Barbara and Ed, along with Tabitha – who reminds her partner that Oswald will die by her hand (pun intended) when Nygma’s exercise is through – is coming to a close. It is hard to believe that Cobblepot has not worked out just yet that the whole thing is a ruse.

By the end of the episode, Jerome blows up Dwight and the Gotham power plant plunging the city into darkness. Valeska’s closing message is one of madness and mayhem, one that his fan club will act upon, and James Gordon is, quite rightly, concerned.

Selena has “gone off” Bruce Wayne. Her issue is his having not told the truth, which, as any man should know, is the same as lying to any woman.    Lee is also annoyed with Gordon, she helps out with the interrogation of the cop/mole but tells Jim to keep his mitts to himself and that he cannot tell her what to do.

Gotham airs Mondays on FOX.

CAST:

Guest starring Ivana Milicevic as Maria Kyle, Cameron Monaghan as Jerome Valeska and David Dastmalchian as Dwight Pollard.

 

 

Agents of SHIELD: Parting Shot – Ending in Tears (Review)

On Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Parting Shot it all ended in tears for Bobbi, Lance and the rest of their “former” team and Malick staged a coup. This was another of those “reach for the tissues” episodes where viewers who cared sat swallowing and dabbing their eyes as Lance Hunter and his ex Bobbi Morse take one for the team.

ADRIANNE PALICKI
MARVEL’S AGENTS OF

On Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Parting Shot it all ended in tears for Bobbi, Lance and the rest of their “former” team and Malick staged a coup.  This was another of those “reach for the tissues” episodes where viewers who cared sat swallowing and dabbing their eyes as Lance Hunter and his ex Bobbi  Morse take one for the team.

On the bright side,  Parting Shot did prove that Malick on his own, i.e. sans Hive, is not all powerful. The leader of Hydra can be defeated despite his overwhelming wealth and dedication to the cause. It also allows the characters of  Morse and Hunter a chance to leave properly for a spin-off;  Marvel’s Most Wanted.

This episode was flashback heavy, although this did stop over halfway through the proceedings. At the start,  Lance and Bobbi are in cuffs and in an interrogation room, being questioned by a Russian security type (from Central Casting) who promises he will get answers.  Bobbi, sweetly asks for a cheeseburger with curly fries…crispy.  While Lance maintains his “looking for mushrooms mate,” story.

Coulson’s team rush to see what Malick is really up to in Siberia and they discover another inhuman, a Russian General who is to helping Malick overthrow the Prime Minister.  This new threat initially appears to be able to control his shadow. Later it is revealed that he can control a dark matter version of himself.

General Androvich is there only to kill  Prime Minister Olshenko but he too is stopped, but not in his inhuman state.  Androvich’s  weakness is his human form.

MING-NA WEN, NICK BLOOD
Agent May and Hunter.

The coup is stopped but at the cost of losing Morse and Hunter. Malick is defeated but,  at the end of the episode, we find that he is not down.  His daughter Stephanie (Bethany Joy Lenz) makes an appearance and this young woman is definitely a “daddy’s girl.” 

Stephanie wants to meet Hive and Malick tells his daughter that he is still “gathering.” The head of Hydra also admits he does not know what Hive (the real Hydra head) is planning.

Before that prologue moment, however, Phil Coulson tries to save his two S.H.I.E.L.D. agents but has  to cut them loose. His other option, desk duty after a name change, is turned down by both Bobbi and Lance.  Phil does manage to get the charges dropped and the Russians let the two go.

Afterward, Morse and Hunter are in a club drinking beer and discussing what to do next. Hunter says that the spy community will never trust them again and they prepare to leave. A bar waitress drops off a drink. It is from, she says, an admirer who asks not to be revealed.

The couple spy Gemma as another drink arrives.  Soon all their former team-mates are spotted. Bobbi wells up and so too does the viewer.

Bobbi: “It’s the Spy’s Goodbye.”

Coulson’s core team is being whittled down and  now only Daisy, who was really a new recruit and not part of the original group of agents, May, Gemma and Fitz remain. (Mac is another recent addition.)

It is interesting to note that the “spy’s goodbye” ritual of buying a drink for the departing member, only consisted of, what appeared to be, one drink from each of the team.  Surely, two drinks would have been more appropriate as two S.H.I.E.L.D. members are leaving. It seems that of the two, Bobbi will be deeply missed and Lance will not. (Or vice versa?)

Either that or the spy trade pays really poorly and no-one could afford to buy both Morse and Hunter a drink apiece. (Although surely Coulson could have coughed up enough for two…) Regardless this farewell sequence brought on waterworks  from at least one viewer no matter how many drinks were bought.

Both Nick Blood and Adrianne Palicki wil be missed.  Blood’s English slang, “muppet” and so on was a breath of fresh air and the loss of Palicki as a strong positive female character is just distressing.  

POWERS BOOTH
Powers Boothe as Malick

Still, the fight goes on and Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. will carry on regardless also the news is that, once again, there will be a huge big-screen tie-in with the upcoming  Captain America: Civil War. The series airs Tuesdays on ABC.