Roberta and I wrap up the new year of 2018 with a season 3 look back and chat about some events in 2018. Tune in for details on a contest we are holding as well for any artist or logo designer out there.
What were some of your favorite 2018 moments and what’s on your list for 2019?
The comic book geek in me is ecstatic from watching the 5 minute Flash trailer that debuted during the season finale of Arrow. So what better fitting review than to talk about the show it is spinning off from? Be warned… there are spoilers ahead. If you want my review without spoilers, scroll down to the last paragraph for my rating. Begin spoilery now…
This show keeps getting better. It still has minor flaws here and there. The forced CW mushy romance still rears its head, and just an excuse to have Stephen Amell’s shirt off during each episode seems to be a bit over done, but there is a good balance. Here is a show that started off sub par and made its way to becoming the BEST adaptation of a comic book TV series. The writers of the show aim to throw in easter eggs for the fans, and a good compelling story for those who are not fans of the comic books.
Let’s take a look at who we got to meet this season, and touch on our main characters:
Team Arrow (Oliver, Diggle, Felicity): This trio works well together and keeps each other on their toes. Felicity has proven to be a key in the team. Diggle being the muscle, serves more of a purpose with his connections, while Oliver is out in the field. Felicity though, she is the one who verbally gives Oliver a reality check when he needs it most.
Canary / Sarah Lance: Okay, so she only had the canary cry once, using a device to do it, but she didn’t need it. She kicked ass when it counted, and her dark history drove part of this story along. I’m glad to see her go back to the League of Assassins at the end. She basically passed the reigns on to Laurel (who will become the real Black Canary). To me, Sarah never felt like Canary except when she was fighting. Her attitude was off, and I didn’t like her being Oliver’s love interest. It wasn’t a good pairing.
Laurel “Dinah” Lance: Aside from needing to eat a sandwich and gain about fifteen pounds, Laurel was an annoyance most of the season. It wasn’t until she got her head out of drinking and drugs that she began to prove her worth. At the end of the season I was glad to see the Laurel I loved from Season 1 return, but in a better way. She is set up to take on the mantle she is destined as Black Canary. Sure she needs some combat training and a Canary Cry, but that’s what season 3 is for.
Detective Lance: Finally! After being a complete dick in season 1, he stepped up to the plate and became a great guy who was good at his job. Of course I will be sad to see him go if they kill him off. The season ended with him bleeding internally from an injury. If he does die however, this will set Laurel on her path of destiny.
Sebastian “Brother” Blood: Running for mayor of a city is a big enough task, but when you are a villain working for Deathstroke in the process, well things become more complicated. His role was a supporting one at best, but necessary in what was happening throughout the season. I am not sure I liked his “conscience” decisions in the end to help out, but I guess he realized how evil Slade really was. I did NOT like his mask. It screamed too “scarecrow” for me, but I’m glad he had some sort of attire to work as Brother Blood. I was surprised to see him killed off, but in the real world, people have to die at times, and his death was played well.
Barton Mathis / Dollmaker: As a guest villain, he was perhaps the creepiest of the season. We won’t see him again because of his death, but the way he was making people into “dolls” was downright terrifying and had me on the edge of my seat.
Sin and Roy Harper / Red Arrow: I paired these two because they were part of each other in a way. Sin’s role was just there to assist Roy in his troubles and be a friend to Canary. Roy’s Mirakuru injection sent him down a dark path just like in the comics. I loved the “Don’t ever call me Speedy” line when Arrow called him that, and seeing him suit up as Red Arrow was a giddy moment to say the least. Now that he is back to being a normal human without Mirakuru, I think we will see him move more on to being Arsenal soon.
Professor Ivo: I’m not sure I liked the use of Ivo in this way. His ship being called the AMAZO is a nice nod to the comics, but pretty much confirms that this is all we will EVER see of AMAZO and Ivo. The part was played well but the role felt forced.
Cyrus Gold: Okay, it was a small role, but why was it important? Because he died with the serum in his veins. What does this mean? Well, comic book fans… Cyrus Gold comes back from the dead as Solomon Grundy. The little poem was even recited in the episode, so I hope to see him back from the dead in season 3.
Barry Allen: We saw overeager police scientist Barry talking about his past and referring to the yellow storm (Professor Zoom) that killed his mother when he was a kid. He’s all about heroism and is the one to give Oliver his mask. Not only that, but we actually see the origin of the Flash. He gets struck by lightning that will give him the powers from the chemical bath he landed in. And yes, he is in a coma, but it was all set up for Flash TV show. I loved every moment of him on screen.
Mark Scheffer / Shrapnel: A very minor role, but it was nice to have a second rate comic villain appear, albeit briefly.
Nyssa Raatko: I had only ever thought that Talia was Ra’s Al Ghul’s only daughter, but then I did my research. Nyssa was a daughter as well, and her role as an assassin felt real. She was deadly with a lack of emotion (except her fascination with Sarah). I give her extra kudos for saying Ra’s Al Ghul the way it is supposed to be pronounced.
William Tockman / Clock King: Like the Doll maker, the Clock King was a welcome guest villain. He was much more manevolent than I’d have pictured him to be from the comics, but they had to do that to make him work. I’ll be excited to see more of him hopefully soon.
Bronze Tiger: Does Michael Jai White ever age? He looks the same as he did in that horrible Spawn movie from the 90s. His purpose in season 2 was equivelant to China White’s in season 1. Not much was said, but he is a trained killer, so dialogue isn’t something needed. His fight scenes were fun to watch too.
ARGUS, HIVE, Suicide Squad, Task Force X: All of these were mentioned and linked together. Deadshot, Bronze Tiger, & Shrapnel kicked ass on this team with Waller in charge. The episode where they went out on their first suicide mission with Diggle was a change of pace for the show, and I’m glad. We needed that episode in there. Best part though is probably that Harley Quinn’s voice was heard and you catch a glimpse of her hair. We now know that she is a potential for the show at some point.
Amanda Waller: What can I say? Other than I’m glad that she’s an attractive woman instead of the overweight one from the comics (I never bought an overweight government agent of her power). She was exactly what her comic book counterpart was. A pain in the ass, with good intentions, but a messed up thought process on how to go about delivering the goods.
Birds Of Prey: Okay, sort of. Not really. It is just that Helena Bertinelli (Huntress) got to meet Canary. No they didn’t get along, but they didn’t always in the comics either. Let’s just say this was a good set up to what might eventually appear as a trio (Canary, Huntress, Oracle). By Oracle, I can only assume Felicity at this point, UNLESS, they definitely tie this in with the movies, in which case Batman Incorporated is supposed to be part of Man of Steel, and Barbara could be a part of that in some form. That’s straying from the review though so I won’t elaborate.
Ravager: I thought Isabel was just an annoyance for most of the season, but knowing she worked for Slade the whole time, when they revealed that I immedately knew who she was. Her costume was cheesy, but matched the comic book one to the details. Her death was priceless in mid sentence.
Slade Wilson / Deathstroke: His army of super soldiers was a nice addition, but Slade himself is just the perfect villain. He is Oliver’s Lex Luthor. Slade will escape from his prison I’m sure. The classic costume and his updated one were nice touches. I have NOTHING negative at all. Every moment that Manu Bennett is on screen as Slade is priceless. You just want to see what he is going to do next.
So there is your character breakdown of season 2. I believe this show keeps getting better and better. Moira’s death, Malcom Merlyn (Dark Archer) coming back as a season 3 regular, and Thea Queen joining him are drastic points for the series. I believe (and this is just a theory of mine) that Thea will take her mother’s maiden name since she really isn’t a queen. She may also change her name. What am I saying? My theory is that she will become Mia Dearden and be trained by Merlyn. Mia in the comics is a sidekick of Oliver’s at one point and takes on the mantle of “Speedy”. Also, not to forget that Oliver did knock a girl up in the past. I’ll bet that her last name was Hawke. At some point we may see his son in a few seasons showing up. Connor Hawke took over the mantle of Green Arrow for a while in the comics, and was a sidekick.
I’m interested in hearing your thoughts. Like it? Hate it? Think I was wrong or have something to add? Speculations you have for season 3 or the Flash series (since it is technically a tie in). Did I leave something out? Chime in. I’m giving Arrow Season two 8 out of 10 sCrypt Coffins. I’d like to give it more, but there are just certain things that don’t make it perfect in my opinion. It does however remain one of my most anticipated shows to watch and I can’t wait til september.
There is a LOT to cover here, but I’ll make it as brief as possible. First off, if you AREN’T watching Once Upon a Time, then you need to stop reading and start at season 1. I guarantee you will get so wrapped up in the characters and stories that you will not stop until you are caught up. There will be spoilers in here so skip to the end paragraph if you want my rating of both shows. Yes, I threw Once in Wonderland in here because to me it is part of season 3 albeit on its own.
I’ll start with part 1 of season 3 Once Upon a Time. The main villain here is Peter Pan and the Lost Boys. The reveal of who Peter truly is in relation to Rumplestiltskin really shows why Rumple is the way he is. Wendy’s story arc is good here, and Peter as a villain works surprisingly really well. He was the villain you loved to hate.
We also see a turn for the better with Rumple and Regina here, that leads to them being more heroic than ever. In fact, it is safe to say they are now heroes for season 3, and likeable ones at that. Neil (aka Baelfire) however becomes the ultimate hero by sacrificing himself to save everyone.
What took me by surprise is that at the mid season break, it finished up that storyline, so instead of one long season arc, we actually got 2 shorter arcs, but I think this was a good thing to keep the show fresh. The episode with Ariel and Eric was satisfying, and seeing that the Evil Queen Regina took on the form of Ursula the sea Witch was fun as well.
Now we get on to Once Upon A Time In Wonderland. It really is ashame that this didn’t get renewed for a second season. I think the time slot was a bad choice. This should have aired at the mid season break slot of Once Upon A Time, but instead was on a different night where not many people tuned in. It DID however give us a good look at Wonderland and those characters, and they wrapped the whole storyline up. Basically, they didn’t leave us hanging to wonder what happened, and they left it open to include the remaining characters in the main show at some point.
Anyway, so we have Alice being taken back to Wonderland to save her lost love, who is a genie. Now keep in mind that this genie, AND the Sultan, are NOT the genie and Sultan from Aladdin, BUT, Jafar is the main villain. Speaking of which, Jafar is one of the best villains on this or the main show to date. His portrayal and agenda echoed what is known of the character, and he is not limited by simple morals. There is a soft side to him, however, which keeps the human part of him real.
Anastasia/The Red Queen was an annoyance at first, but the last few episodes had me liking her. The White Rabbit, Caterpillar, The Bandersnatch, The Knave of Hearts (Will Scarlet), and Alice herself all had great purposes in the series and I enjoyed every moment they had on screen. We even had a little back story with Robin hood and his merry men, which was a break from the norm of the show. The character of Elizabeth “Lizard” was odd at first, but a welcome sight…. until she died, which choked me up a little (I’ll be honest… I never like seeing a pretty woman die).
Cora appearing as the Queen of Hearts was expected, and she lived up to the menacing person she portrayed in the main series. Of course this was all in flashback here, but it was needed for back story. The Well of Wonders and the genies had a nice little plot thrown in there, but we could have probably skipped over that whole angle (though the demon of the well was creepy as hell).
At first I was disappointed by the Jaberwocky, but five minutes after her first appearance on screen, I grew to really like her as a creepy, fear inducing villain, and I hope she comes back at some point.
My only problem with characters here are the Tweedles. I didn’t like how they looked, and I felt they were used inappropriately for the most part. Their roles could have been better planned. As far as overall plot, Jafar trying (and succeeding) in rewriting the laws of magic seems to directly affect the events in the main series. In other words, despite the connection being little to both shows, they seem to acknowledge the events of one another to some extent. One last thing to mention is that there were definite ties to Storybrooke and the real world. I doubt we will ever see Alice again or the Genie, but Wonderland will be back in some form in the main show, I’m sure of it.
Returning to the main series, let’s talk about part 2 of Season 3. Here is where I was highly interested, perhaps more than I’ve been in the whole series. Why? I’ve personally read all 15 of the original L Frank Baum Oz novels, so bringing that in here was more than a welcome sight for me. Before I get into the main plot of this half, I’ll touch on the characters. Aurora, Phillip and Mulan were underused as usual. I almost don’t even want to see them in the show anymore unless some kind of good use for them is found. Rapunzel’s addition felt rushed, and I HATE when they change the race or sex of a character. (IE I don’t want to see a Black Indiana Jones or a white Blade). It annoys me, and especially with Tangled being so fresh in my mind of Disney movies, I had an image of Rapunzel in my head. Other than that, I don’t have an issue.
The new take on Lumiere (the candleabra) was interesting and refreshing. Blackbeard and Glinda, though minor roles, served their purposes and worked well in the story. Dorothy Gale coming to Oz was both hit and miss for me. I liked what they did with her, and how the fairy tale was twisted, but again, this felt rushed. I only hope we see more of her and Oz characters because in the long run, there is a lot of Oz that could still be used (even from the original characters we all know and love, that have yet to appear).
Now on to Zelena (The Wicked Witch of The West). She truly was wicked. I like the explanation of her green appearance (envy) and why she was so wicked. She had similar goals as Jafar in Wonderland, but for different reasons. The use of the flying monkeys and even the great wizard of Oz himself helped her to achieve her goals, but she still met her demise at the hands of Rumplestiltskin.
Of course, then we had the whole Captain Hook and Emma going back in time, but they sorted out the past and returned to a wonderful future. Charming and Snow White named their newborn son Neil. Emma embraced her magic and purpose and decided that her and Henry were going to stay in Storybrooke. Rumplestiltskin and Belle married. Regina and Robin Hood were happy together.
It was all a peaceful ending that made me worry. I worried because I thought “This is it.” Everyone has a happy ending. There is no need for another season. I’m so glad I was proven wrong, but now I have to wait until the Fall for more episodes. Like Once Upon a Time normally does, we are left with massive cliffhangers. In the last two minutes of the show’s season, we learn this. Rumplestiltskin still has his own dagger, even though his wife believes that she is the one that has it. This is sure to cause a problem in the future. Regina, finally void of her Evil Queen status is suddenly screwed by Snow White’s family again, because the one person that Emma saved in the past was supposed to die. That person was the Maiden Marion, who was married to Robin Hood and mother of his child. This then takes Robin Hood away from Regina, and her vengeful “Evil Queen” may or may not emerge to exact vengeance upon Emma for ruining her happiness.
Somehow I think they will avoid this mostly. Why? Henry still believes and loves his step mother, Regina, as a good person now. His love for her will stop her from being as vicious as she used to be. Also Tinkerbelle predicted that Regina is destined to find happiness with the man with the wrist tattoo. Now of course, this could have been redacted because of the whole time travel alteration, but I think that somehow they will work on getting Robin and Regina back on track. After all, he can’t just ignore the feelings he has for her.
Let’s see. What else? Other than a fun Back to the Future reference, and a cameo by a stuffed Mickey Mouse doll, there was perhaps the biggest reveal of all. Regina tells Emma that “You better hope you didn’t bring anything else from the past back with you.” We find out that one of Rumplestiltskin’s artifacts came through the portal. From it escapes a woman in a flowing blue dress and pale skin. We don’t know what her face looks like, but if anyone has seen Frozen, then you know it is the Snow Queen herself, Elsa, as she freezes and shatters the artifact from which she emerged.
Other than the Frozen story coming to season 4, it has also been confirmed that the Knave of Hearts will be making his way onto the main show, and that Disney’s Brave and Princess and the Frog (retelling of the Frog Prince) will all be included in some manner.
This show keeps getting better, and I’ve learned to expect nothing except greatness and frustration on waiting for the next episode. I give season 3 of Once Upon a time 9 out of 10 sCrypt Coffins, and Once Upon a Time in Wonderland gets 6 out of 10 coffins. The reason I rate Wonderland lower is because of the obviously limited budget for the effects, and it really didn’t get compelling enough for me until the last 7 episodes. What did you think of these shows and what do you speculate for the future of the series?