Loki Episode 6

SPOILERS FOR SEASON ONE EPISODE SIX OF LOKI

Episode: “For All Time. Always”

Loki has come to an end in an episode that shook me to the core. I had no idea where they were going to go with the story and when it was revealed, I was utterly shocked.

The normal Marvel Studios title card was different. Instead of the Marvel fanfare they always play, we hear voices…lines from the MCU. We hear Cap, Vision, Captain Marvel, and a bunch of others as the camera pans across the universe and we end at the sacred timeline.

Loki and Sylvie are at the castle at the end of time, ready to kill the person behind the TVA, the man behind the curtain, if you will.

And when Miss Minutes popped up out of nowhere, I legit jumped. Then, she was sinister as could be.

I had dismissed the idea of Kang the Conqueror. Sure, there were a ton of Easter eggs that seemingly were pointing to Kang, but I was sure that the ending would be a Loki variant as He Who Remains. I thought Richard Grant would be your answer. Or King Loki from the trailers. I felt that by introducing Kang, they would not be paying off the threads of the entire series that they have been building toward since episode one.

Then, the door opened…and there he was.

Jonathan Majors had been cast as Kang the Conqueror for Antman and the Wasp: Quantumania and when that door opened and Majors sat before them, I shout that they were doing Kang. I really did not believe it was going to happen. Majors, dressed in Kang’s green and purple iconic clothes, immediately began chewing the scenery and any concerns I had went away.

Let me touch on this now, because the arrival of Kang did not affect the story arc of Loki, it just readjusted it. I felt as if Loki needed to confront an evil Loki as the man behind the curtain to complete the arc. Instead, what he does to complete the arc is confront Sylvie. Their debate showed the wrap up of the story, one we did not really know we were following. Loki realizes that he cannot be trusted and that Sylvie did not trust him- and was not capable of trust. So when Kang presented them with an option, a choice that he did not already know the outcome, it played on both of their arcs. The writing here was sublime and masterfully brought it all back to Loki and Sylvie while introducing to the MCU audience the next big bad of the franchise.

I have been a supporter of the Loki/Sylvie relationship since it was starting to look that way, but I have to say that the kiss felt awkward and somewhat …yuck for the lack of a better term. Having that kiss be the trigger to the final decision was a blow to Loki. He had been building up to tell Sylvie how he felt about her, and she prioritized something else instead. Sylvie was not ready to put aside her life’s work to accept the temptations presented by Kang.

When she shoves Loki back through the time door, we could tell what was going to happen. I mean, we all knew that this was the path, right? We knew the sacred timeline was going to unravel in this show considering all the Spider-Man: No Way Home stuff with the other timeline villains and the rumors of Tobey Maguire and Andrew Garfield’s inclusion in the movie plus the Dr. Strange and the Multiverse of Madness movie and the next series What If…? all depending on their being a multiverse. Still, seeing it happen was something to behold.

Then, the show tossed in the old ‘Planet of the Apes’ ending that caused a ton of emotions. When Mobius says to Loki, “What’s your name?” I thought I might break. Then, there was the statue of Kang, front and center.

When the black scene came after this image, it was nearly a crushing blow. Leaving the show with this uncertainty at the end with Loki and Mobius broken and Loki, once again, all alone, which was his greatest fear, everything was made up for in the mid-credit scene when Marvel officially announced that…

This finale was not at all what I expected. It was unlike any other Marvel finale in that it was more of a debate, a morale decision that placed our heroes on opposite ends and placed the entire MCU in its path. They say how the MCU will be changed forever a lot of times, but you cannot deny that this episode changed the MCU moving forward.

I loved this series. Where does it fall among the others? That is hard to say. I think it may be just behind WandaVision, but not by much and after I let it digest some more, it may surpass it.

Next up: Starting August 11… What If…?

2021 Emmy Nominations

Outstanding Drama Series

The Boys

Bridgerton

The Crown

The Mandalorian

Lovecraft Country

Pose

The Handmaid’s Tale

This Is Us

Outstanding Comedy Series

Black-ish

Cobra Kai

Pen15

Emily in Paris

Hacks

Ted Lasso

The Flight Attendant

The Kominsky Method

Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series

Regé-Jean Page, Bridgerton

Sterling K. Brown, This Is Us

Billy Porter, Pose

Jonathan Majors, Lovecraft Country

Matthew Rhys, Perry Mason

Josh O’Connor, The Crown

Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series

Emma Corrin, The Crown

Olivia Colman, The Crown

Uzo Aduba, In Treatment

Elisabeth Moss, The Handmaid’s Tale

Jurnee Smollett, Lovecraft Country

Mj Rodriguez, Pose

Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series

Michael K. Williams, Lovecraft Country

Bradley Whitford, The Handmaid’s Tale

Max Minghella, The Handmaid’s Tale

O-T Fagbenle, The Handmaid’s Tale

John Lithgow, Perry Mason

Tobias Menzies, The Crown

Giancarlo Esposito, The Mandalorian

Chris Sullivan, This Is Us

Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series

Gillian Anderson, The Crown

Helena Bonham Carter, The Crown

Emerald Fennell, The Crown

Ann Dowd, The Handmaid’s Tale

Yvonne Strahovski, The Handmaid’s Tale

Samira Wiley, The Handmaid’s Tale

Madeline Brewer, The Handmaid’s Tale

Aunjanue Ellis, Lovecraft Country

Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series

Jason Sudeikis, Ted Lasso

Anthony Anderson, Black-ish

Michael Douglas, The Kominsky Method

William H. Macy, Shameless

Kenan Thompson, Kenan

Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series

Aidy Bryant, Shrill

Jean Smart, Hacks

Allison Janney, Mom

Kaley Cuoco, The Flight Attendant

Tracee Ellis Ross, Black-ish

Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series

Bowen Yang, Saturday Night Live

Kenan Thompson, Saturday Night Live

Brett Goldstein, Ted Lasso

Brendan Hunt, Ted Lasso

Nick Mohammed, Ted Lasso

Jeremy Swift, Ted Lasso

Paul Reiser, The Kominsky Method

Carl Clemons-Hopkins, Hacks

Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series

Kate McKinnon, Saturday Night Live

Cecily Strong, Saturday Night Live

Aidy Bryant, Saturday Night Live

Rosie Perez, The Flight Attendant

Hannah Einbinder, Hacks

Hannah Waddingham, Ted Lasso

Juno Temple, Ted Lasso

Outstanding Limited Series

Mare of Easttown

I May Destroy You

WandaVision

The Queen’s Gambit

The Underground Railroad

Outstanding Television Movie

Uncle Frank

Sylvie’s Love

Oslo

Robin Roberts Presents: Mahalia

Dolly Parton’s Christmas on The Square

Outstanding Lead Actor in a Limited Series or Movie

Paul Bettany, WandaVision

Hugh Grant, The Undoing

Ewan McGregor, Halston

Lin-Manuel Miranda, Hamilton

Leslie Odom Jr., Hamilton

Outstanding Lead Actress in a Limited Series or Movie

Kate Winslet, Mare of Easttown

Michaela Coel, I May Destroy You

Anya Taylor-Joy, The Queen’s Gambit

Elizabeth Olsen, WandaVision

Cynthia Erivo, Genius: Aretha

Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Limited Series or Movie

Jean Smart, Mare of Easttown

Julianne Nicholson, Mare of Easttown

Kathryn Hahn, WandaVision

Phillipa Soo, Hamilton

Renee Elise Goldsberry, Hamilton

Moses Ingram, The Queen’s Gambit

Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Limited Series or Movie

Daveed Diggs, Hamilton

Jonathan Groff, Hamilton

Anthony Ramos, Hamilton

Thomas Brodie-Sangster, The Queen’s Gambit

Evan Peters, Mare of Easttown

Paapa Essiedu, I May Destroy You

Outstanding Guest Actor in a Drama Series

Courtney B. Vance, Lovecraft Country

Charles Dance, The Crown

Don Cheadle, The Falcon and the Winter Soldier

Timothy Olyphant, The Mandalorian

Carl Weathers, The Mandalorian

Outstanding Guest Actress in a Drama Series

Alexis Bledel, The Handmaid’s Tale

Mckenna Grace, The Handmaid’s Tale

Claire Foy, The Crown

Phylicia Rashad, This Is Us

Sophie Okonedo, Ratched

Outstanding Guest Actor in a Comedy Series

Chris Rock, Saturday Night Live

Dave Chappelle, Saturday Night Live

Daniel Kaluuya, Saturday Night Live

Dan Levy, Saturday Night Live

Morgan Freeman, The Kominsky Method

Outstanding Guest Actress in a Comedy Series

Maya Rudolph, Saturday Night Live

Kristen Wiig, Saturday Night Live

Issa Rae, A Black Lady Sketch Show

Jane Adams, Hacks

Bernadette Peters, Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist

Yvette Nicole Brown, A Black Lady Sketch Show

Outstanding Variety Sketch Series

A Black Lady Sketch Show

Saturday Night Live

Outstanding Variety Talk Series

Conan

The Late Show with Stephen Colbert

The Daily Show with Trevor Noah

Jimmy Kimmel Live

Last Week Tonight with John Oliver

Outstanding Competition Program

The Amazing Race

Nailed It!

RuPaul’s Drag Race

Top Chef

The Voice

Outstanding Host for a Reality or Reality-Competition Program

RuPaul, RuPaul’s Drag Race

Bobby Berk, Karamo Brown, Tan France, Antoni Porowski and Jonathan Van Ness, Queer Eye

Nicole Byer, Nailed It!

Padma Lakshmi, Tom Colicchio, and Gail Simmons, Top Chef

Mark Cuban, Barbara Corcoran, Lori Greiner, Robert Herjavec, Daymond John, and Kevin O’Leary, Shark Tank

List from https://ew.com/awards/emmys/emmys-2021-nominations-list/

Loki Episode 5

SPOILERS FOR EPISODE 5 OF LOKI

Only one left.

Episode 5 out of 6 brings us into the Void, the place at the end of time where everything that is pruned goes. The best analogy I heard was from Vanessa of Late to the Party, who compared the Void to the trash icon on your computer screen. When you trash something, it goes into the file until you ultimately delete it. That is a great way to look at this.

Alioth. I was unaware of this character’s Marvel Comics background, which only makes it more cool. Yet this giant creature was a real cross between the Langoliers and the Smoke Monster from LOST. As a huge LOST fan, I immediately identified the character design that resembled Smoky and I loved it.

We see our Loki variants greeting Loki as he arrived in the Void. Kid Loki, Classic Loki (who is Richard E. Grant), Boastful Loki and Alligator Loki led Loki through the wasteland of the Void that held Easter Eggs galore… including the infamous THANOS-COPTER!!!! Thanos copter is a real thing that happening in the comics and that it existed in one of the alternate timelines is just a hoot. Also…keep your eyes peeled for Throg.

One of my favorite moments in the episode was one of the quieter parts of the episode. Richard E. Grant explained how he avoided having his neck broken by Thanos. He said that he used his illusion ability to create an image that fooled even Thanos. That was a fan theory that was floating around after Avengers: Infinity War when they were looking at possible ways that Loki could have survived. When the writers used this idea as the way Richard Grant could survive, it was fun.

The President Loki variant made his long awaited appearance too, bringing a bunch of henchmen with him. This led to one of the greatest, most chaotic moment of the series as the group of Lokis were betraying each other and battling for supremacy. In a homage to Peter Pan, Alligator Loki bit the hand off of President Loki. The scream of Prez Loki was a series highlight for sure.

At the TVA, Sylvie and Ravonna were having their confrontation and, I’m sorry, but I did not believe one word that Ravonna said. She was trying to manipulate Sylvie, to delay her long enough for the Minutemen to arrive. However, she had told Sylvie that Loki was still alive and she told her about the Void. As a way to escape, Sylvie pruned herself. That was quite a leap of faith considering Ravonna is clearly a liar. Ravonna goes to talk to Hunter B-15, who is in a special holding cell and she wanted to get whatever info she could get from her. It does feel as if Ravonna did not know that the Timekeepers were fake and she did not seem to know who was behind everything. I still got the indication that she was loyal to whoever was pulling the strings.

Back in the Void, Sylvie awakens and is found by Mobius! Mobius is alive too and this was one of the fish-pumping moments of the episode. When Mobius was pruned last week, it was one of the most difficult scenes because Owen Wilson is such a great part of this series, and to see him back was such a wonderful thing.

Our group of Lokis meet up with Sylvie and Mobius, and they come up with a plan on how to find who was behind the TVA. Sylvie had touched the monstrous Alioth and she saw past it. She believed that she could enchant it. The entire ending sequence with Sylvie and Loki working together while Richard E. Grant distracted Alioth was just tremendous. And it opened up the path to a castle, where clearly our “Wizard of Oz” would be found.

There is so much to unpack here because this episode was packed full of awesomeness and it does an amazing job setting up the confrontations for next episode. Loki and Sylvie on their way to the end of time and Mobius on his way back to the TVA for a final confrontation with Ravonna Renslayer. Mobius tells Loki that he is going to “burn it to the ground.”

The relationship between Loki and Mobius was cemented this episode too, as the two friends shared a hug before Mobius returned to the TVA. It was one of the sweetest moments of the show, and it showed the playfulness as well as Mobius, as he was hugging Loki, whispered to Sylvie that she was his favorite. It was a perfect example of the friendship formed by these two.

One more Wednesday to go. This show has been so wild that next week could bring us literally anything. I mean, we have already had an alligator Loki….

What is next? Is it … Kang?

Loki Episode 4

SPOILERS FOR LOKI EPISODE 4

I am not okay.

Episode 4 was a rollercoaster of emotion and was just so unexpected that I am not sure how to handle it, or to even begin to recap it. I’m just going to go through some of the major points of the episode without worrying about any sort of order.

We see Sylvie in Asgard, prior to her blonde hair and prior to the name change, being taken by the TVA agents led by Ravonna Renslayer herself. This was before Ravonna had become a judge and we see how, even as a young girl, you cant trust a Loki. Young Sylvie stole one of the time doors and took off, starting an obsession for Ravonna and the consistent search for this variant.

They are not specific for why they took young Sylvie, since all she was doing was playing with her toys in Asgard. There is something more to this than what we have found out yet. Sylvie winds up asking Ravonna if she remembered this, but Ravonna lied and said she did not. However, there is something there.

Loki and Sylvie survived on Lamentis-1 because something major had happened and there was an actual Nexus timeline that was formed, despite it being at an apocalypse. This drew the attention of the TVA and they returned the Lokis to TVA headquarters. Some may wonder why they didn’t just leave them to die on the doomed moon, but with the new timeline being formed, they could not risk it. Instead, they brought them back to HQ to interrogate them.

And we got the return of Jaimie Alexander as Lady Sif! She was in the Time Cell they put Loki in as a way to punish him. It was an old memory of when Loki had cut Sif’s hair and she punched him out. What a great cameo this was.

Loki and Mobius continued their dialogue with one another, both of them disappointed with the other. Mobius is trying to get Loki to tell him how that Nexus Event occurred on Lamentis-1 and Loki trying to tell him about the information he got from Sylvie las episode. Mobius was starting to piece things together, especially after discovering that Ravonna had put to death C-20 because she had been “compromised by the Lokis.” Hunter B-15 was another one who was having a crisis of belief as the enchantment from episode 2 was still bothering her. She went to Sylvie for answers. This trip back to Roxxcart was our first real emotional beat of the episode. When Hunter B-15 saw the memories of her past life, her line of how she looked happy was tough.

Of course, we were just starting with the emotions here because, after accepting that Loki is telling him the truth and having a powerful moment of trust between Loki and Mobius, they were confronted by Ravonna and other agents. After a defiant Mobius let Ravonna know how he felt, in an unbelievable moment of the series, Ravonna had Mobius pruned.

You could see that Ravonna felt terrible about this too, even though she held back her own feelings on the situation. Mobius had been her friend and confidant, but she was just doing what she felt she had to do. That does not make it any easier as we watch this character we have come to love in a short while get pruned. The pin in Loki’s face was tough too considering he had just professed friendship for this man.

Loki and Sylvie are taken into the golden elevator and are taken before the Timekeepers, who we had gotten a quick glance at earlier in the episode. I am not sure why this was done. This is the one big question mark I have in this episode because we find out that the Timekeepers are just androids as Loki and Sylvie, with help from Hunter B-15, break free and start to fight. Sylvie winds up decapitating one of the Timekeepers, revealing the truth. So, who wanted Loki and Sylvie brought here instead of just pruned as Mobius and C-20 had been? They do wonder who is behind the TVA if the Timekeepers are not real. That is most likely a major point still to come. Is it Kang? Ravonna? Another Loki variant?

Just when it seemed that things were going well, Ravonna is able to prune Loki. I can’t tell you how my jaw dropped. I had yelled out a “No” when Mobius was pruned, but this one was a shock. I stared at the screen dumbfounded. I did not know if there was going to be another Loki variant coming or if the rest of the show was going to focus on Sylvie. I was not thinking logically, since we have seen other scenes in trailers featuring Tom Hiddleston’s Loki that I should have understood that something was up, but it did not stick with me.

Sylvie got the drop on Ravonna and demanded that she tell her everything, holding one of the pruning sticks on her.

Then, we got our first mid-credit scene for the Loki series and it was a mind blower for sure. We see Loki awakening from his pruning and he wonders aloud if this was Hell and if he were dead. A voice tells him that he was not dead yet and if he wanted to stay that way, he needed to come with them. And then we saw it….

Kid Loki! Richard E. Grant in comic book Loki attire! Another guy… is he meant to be a variant of Heimdall? Um… is that an alligator Loki? And where is this taking place? The landscape behind them is certainly all messed up. The Loki series is clearly about to go batshit crazy… and I am all for it!

Can next week be here now, please?

Loki Episode Three

SPOILERS FOR EPISODE THREE OF LOKI ON DISNEY +

Episode three is in the books and there were some frustrations with it. Off the top, I loved the episode and I thought it was really well done. It is just a few things that I missed. The biggest was that I missed the presence of Owen Wilson. Wilson’s Mobius has been such a huge fixture in the series so far that his absence was totally felt. The other point that bugged me was that this was too short. It was over before I knew it and I was having WandaVision vibes. That show always ended at a point where I wanted more and Loki episode three was the same way.

Having said that, I enjoyed what they gave to us and there were absolutely some important reveals that they gave us.

Entitled “Lamentis”, this episode found our “hero” trapped on a doomed planet that is about to have the moon crash into it. It is an awesome setting and the background CGI is well done.

There has been plenty of speculation that this “Lady Loki” was not a Loki at all. Because of the use of the name Sylvie in the foreign language credits, people believed that perhaps this was actually The Enchantress and not a Loki variant after all. That has been laid to rest as we find out in this episode that Sylvie is the variant’s name, one that she changed from Loki. She is a variant of Loki, after all. I think that they are taking pieces from both Enchantress and Lady Loki from the comics to create this new character for the MCU. That is fine with me.

Early this week we see Sylvie and Loki taking on each other, as well as the TVA. The attack on the sacred timeline last week was a way to allow Sylvie to arrive at the TVA and get to the Timekeepers with minimal effort. She did have to fight several of them, and she discovered that her enchanting magic did not work here, which probably means that she had never been in the TVA before. She was confronted by Judge Renslayer at the golden elevators which supposedly would take her to the mysterious Timekeepers.

Another major reveal this week was that the TVA have not been created by the Timekeepers, as we were told, but were actually variants from different worlds, just like our two Lokis. Loki was shocked by this revelation and he mentioned that the TVA agents did not know this. This is another piece of information that makes us believe that the Timekeepers are not exactly what they seem to be. The façade is starting to be peeled away.

Another huge part of the episode dealt with love. Loki was working on a metaphor to explain the feeling of love. This was happening during the scenes where Loki and Sylvie are on a train heading for an escape ark, hopefully to survive the apocalypse of Lamentis-1. The dialogue between Loki and Sylvie continues the show’s excellent in the area, as they provide us with background details of what these two people think, feel and the life in which they have experienced It is also where the show confirmed Loki’s status as bi-sexual. I know this was a big moment on Twitter right after it happened and I am happy for anyone who was made happy by this news.

Then we got drunken Loki singing.

Loki and Sylvie’s mad dash through the city to try and find the escape arc, only to have it destroyed at the end provided us with some masterful shots and some beautiful imagery. The final shot of the episode left us in a desperate state, wondering how Loki and Sylvie were going to get out of this. The feeling of hopelessness washed over us all and then the sudden end of the episode made it even more despondent.

Some short thoughts:

  • Is there a romance on the horizon with Loki and Sylvie, a variant of himself? How would that work?
  • Who was the lady with the power weapon? Was she just a random character?
  • Lamentis-1 in 2077… any significance of this or just a random setting?
  • Loki this week had some definite Dr. Who vibes, or as was said by a few others, Time Machine vibes. Time Machine is on the DailyView list. Maybe I should see how familiar it is.
  • Loki slamming the glass down and demanding “Another!” was very much a throwback to the first Thor movie. Chris Hemsworth does the exact same thing.
  • Rampant speculation: Is Kang the man behind the curtain of the TVA? Possibly, yes.
  • I guess we now know what Hunter C-20 was referring to when she was saying “It’s all real” as we saw what Sylvie did to get the info on the Timekeepers.
  • I get tired of people online complaining about “filler episodes.” This is part of the narrative. It gave us important pieces of information. Online people complain when they aren’t fans of something or when they have expected something that doesn’t happen. Doesn’t make it filler.

Again, the bereft nature of this week’s show was frustrating, but that is because it was so good, I was not ready for it to be over.

Bring back Owen Wilson!

See ya next week.

Loki Episode Two

SPOILERS FOR EPISODE TWO OF DISNEY + SERIES, LOKI!!!

The second episode of Loki has dropped on Disney + last night/early this morning and it is continuing the excellent that episode one brought and it has significant impact for the MCU.

First off, I love the interplay between Tom Hiddleston and Owen Wilson. They look to be having a massive blast with every scene together. I love the dynamic and the way they both seem to know exactly what the other is trying to do. Mobius calling Loki out on his plan to take over the TVA and Loki saying to Mobius that it was cute that he was trying to manipulate him. The way Mobius tries to inspire Loki by playing into his ego and Loki always looking for the best situation for Loki. This pairing is gold.

The chase for the evil Loki variant that is causing problems is on and Mobius is playing on Loki’s ego to try and keep him focused. The beginning of the episode had a lot of paperwork, investigating files in search of any clue that might give them an idea of where the Loki variant is hiding. Loki comes up with an idea…something he would do. Apocalypses! Loki theorized that this variant could be hiding in the time prior to an apocalypse because it would not matter what was done, the timeline would not break off because they were all dead anyway. This is such clever writing and it leads to Loki and Mobius testing the theory at Pompeii.

After confirming Loki’s idea, they had to find which apocalypse was the one the variant would be hiding in. Thanks to the candy from last episode, they are able to narrow it down to some time around 2047-2051. As they continued to investigate this, Loki comes across the information about Ragnarok and the destruction of Asgard by Surtur. Again, we see how these pieces of information affect the God of Mischief, a single tear forming in his eye.

Loki finds where he believes the variant is located in 2050 and they send a strike team to search for the rogue variant. They wind up in this retail store in the middle of a huge storm. It is here where the major reveal occurs and we get to meet the Loki variant that has been causing all this chaos… Lady Loki.

Then, the even more major event happened. Lady Loki had been stealing the “time bombs” from the TVA agents that she killed and we see her plan. It was to attack the sacred timeline itself. The bombing of the sacred timeline looked to release the multiverse once again as variant branches began exploding from the line.

Rampant speculation: Lady Loki had snatched one of the TVA agent (C-20) and, apparently, got from her the location of the Timekeepers. Could Lady Loki have sent some of those reset charges to the location of the Timekeepers. Could the Timekeepers be reset?

Quick hits:

  • Mobius has never met the Timekeepers. Is that an important piece?
  • Will the series end with Mobius on a jet ski?
  • Miss Minutes returns as a tutor program for Loki.
  • Loki uses his magic to dry himself off.
  • The music on this series is spot on. It perfectly encompasses the tone and mood of each scene.
  • Can Loki be trusted? I have no idea.
  • Roxxcart… a market from Roxxon perhaps?
  • We got more from the Ravonna Renslayer, played by Gugu Mbatha-Raw, this episode. It looks like she is going to play a bigger part than we first thought.
  • “Holding Out For A Hero from Bonnie Tyler is having quite the comback.

This has been amazing so far. With Loki stepping through the time door in pursuit of Lady Loki, leaving Mobius and the TVA agents behind, who knows what is going to happen next.

Loki Episode 1

SPOILER WARNING FOR EPISODE 1 OF THE DISNEY + SERIES, LOKI.

Well, here we go again.

After two highly successful and entertaining Disney + Marvel series, WandaVision and The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, Marvel Studios has arrived with the start of its third, hugely anticipated series, Loki. The first episode debuted on the streaming service in the middle of the night with what has to be considered one of the most impactful episodes for the MCU of any of the Disney + series so far.

The episode began with a recap of Avengers: Endgame, specifically the time travel in New York where we see Loki escape the clutches of his brother Thor and the others by using the Tesseract that Iron Man and Ant Man were attempting to steal in their “time heist.” These scenes are vitally important for anyone who was unsure about who this Loki was or for those two or three people who have never seen Endgame before.

We find out that the Tesseract takes Loki to Mongolia, into the Gobi Desert (in a scene that was reminiscent for me of when Ben Linus turned the wheel and was transported off the Island on LOST). Here, Loki gets confronted by members of the TVA.

The TVA stands for the Time Variance Authority, which turns out to be an all-powerful organization in place to keep the timeline clean. These time agents arrive any time that something happens that is not supposed to have happened and they deal with it. Actress Wunmi Mosaku played Hunter B-15, a standout in this first episode.

We are introduced to another one of the TVA agents, Mobius M. Mobius, played by Owen Wilson. Wilson and Tom Hiddleston’s chemistry is off the charts and it is setting up an awesome buddy cop type story moving along in Loki. Mobius, as is the entire TVA, is shown as a bureaucratic agent, much like all of the government agencies that we are familiar with. We can relate to Loki and his frustrations over the seemingly mindless paperwork and hoops that require jumping through.

The main thrust of the episode was taking this “variant” Loki from the 2012 time and showing him the parts of his life that he had not lived through yet. This is done through the use of clips from Avengers, Thor: Dark World, Thor: Ragnarok and Avengers; Infinity War. Watching Loki watch himself go through the loss of his mother, father, and his own death, as well as a nice moment between him and his brother, was extremely emotional. It allowed this version of Loki to reflect upon his life and the loss that is ahead. We know that these events lead to Loki discovering that he is more than just a would-be world conqueror, but to see him see it was tough.

We then get the set up for the remainder of the season. Mobius tells Loki that they want his help in stopping a variant that is causing trouble in the timeline… and that the variant is a Loki… and then we see this Loki torch some TVA agents in the 1850s.

More

  • Infinity stones! They use them as paperweights!
  • There was so many cool tech weapons or items, such as the time loop collar.
  • The look at the TVA… “city?” It had a very Fifth Element/Star Wars look to it. I’ve heard reference to Dr. Who as well.
  • Is this Mephisto finally? Or is it Loki with his horned helmet? According to Mobius, this devil is afraid of the TVA
  • We find out that the Avengers were not messing with time because what they did was what was “supposed to happen.”
  • The very idea of the inescapability of time makes me a tad concerned. I don’t want to think that the future cannot be altered. The past? fine. But the future is more challenging of a concept.
  • The animated PSA at the beginning is a great and simple way to bring everyone into the time travel concept the MCU is pushing.
  • Loki as DB Cooper because he lost a bet to Thor? AWESOME!
  • “Do a lot of people not know if they’re robots” is my favorite line of the whole show.
  • Episode title was “Glorious Purpose”, coming from Loki’s classic quote of being burdened with glorious purpose. It gets to the center of what the episode is about.
  • Loki’s reflection with Mobius near the episode’s end is powerful.
  • Tom Hiddleston plays this character brilliantly. He is so familiar with Loki that he can go deeper with just a glance or a look. Hiddleston is also one of the most charming of the all of the MCU actors.
  • The episode is 52 minutes long. It still goes quickly.
  • Why do the workers at the TVA not know what a fish is?

Loki has started with a fantastic episode full of humor, plot details and great characters. Loki and Mobius look to be a great pair and I can’t wait for the show to give me what it next.

Sweet Tooth

I have been souring on the idea of binge watching TV series these days. I used to binge plenty of Netflix series, but they were always a time consuming effort and I did not find the time on weekends to carve out for these series. I have been liking the shows like WandaVision, Falcon & Winter Soldier, Superman & Lois that come out once a week because they are so easier to watch.

However, I was watching Kevin Smith’s podcast Fatman Beyond last night on YouTube and he started talking about Netflix’s latest series Sweet Tooth, a show based on the DC Comic by Jeff Lemire and produced by Robert Downey Jr. and Susan Downey. Kevin was raving about the show. If you watch Kevin Smith, he does tend to love a lot of shows. But this sounded different. I was immediately sold on what he was saying and I was excited to start the show last night.

This is fantastic. The show is full of excitement, drama, humor and such great storytelling. The twists and turns are devastating. The performances are great, especially from young Christian Convery, who plays the title role. He is so full of joy and life. It is an exceptional performance from the young actor.

In a world where a deadly virus outbreak caused many people to die from “The Sickness,” babies were being born as hybrids, part human and part animal. This fed right into the panic of the virus and the military joined in to make it worse yet.

Pubba (Will Forte) took his son Gus (Christian Convery) and escaped from the insanity of the world into the wilderness of Yellowstone Park. He raised the boy alone for nine years before The Sick entered into their world in a tragic manner. Alone, Gus tries to follow his father’s major rule, “Do not go past the fence.” When he is unable to follow that rule, Jepperd (Nonso Anonzie) arrives to help Gus out. Gus dubbed him “Big Man” and the pair take off for Colorado, where Gus believes his mother is living.

SWEET TOOTH (L to R) CHRISTIAN CONVERY as GUS and NONSO ANOZIE as TOMMY JEPPERD in episode 103 of SWEET TOOTH Cr. KIRSTY GRIFFIN/NETFLIX © 2021

The series does an exceptional job of setting up this dark, sad world, but not to get bogged down in the tragedy. It is not a depressing, dystopian future show, despite the fact that the setting would lead that way. This show is about life and about the joy of being alive and keeping those feelings despite what the world around you is saying.

The characters are all deep and well developed. Each character is dealing with a secret or a tragedy that they are desperately trying to manage. Big Man, aka former football star Tommy Jepperd, was once one of the Last Men, the group of military men rounding up hybrids. Jepperd found that he could not do that any longer and broke out on his own to wander the world. His connection with Gus, whom he called Sweet Tooth, is a highlight of the series. Watching the two of them go from strangers to family is truly some of the best parts of the show.

Another characters introduced early is Bear, a leader of a resistance group out to help hybrids. She fit in with Gus and Big Man beautifully, though at first, she had her own issues with Big Man. As the series progressed, you can see how the two of them were growing closer.

We meet Dr. Aditya Singh, whose wife Rani has the Sick, but he had contact with a woman who had been able to create a treatment that kept The Sick at bay. His desperation to help his wife and to keep his wife safe, not only from the Sick but also from the remaining of humanity. There are some unbelievably tense moments with this couple in their neighborhood, including a couple of the worst scenes imaginable.

We know very little about the main villain of the film, General Abbott who leads the Last Men and is hunting the hybrids. He is very cruel and vicious, but we do not have much info on him at this point.

The show was so fantastic, although the 8th and final episode ends on a massive cliffhanger that I sure hope we can get a season two. There are some wonderful reveals as the show moves along. It was a very easy binge, the episodes ranging from 39 minutes to 53 minutes. It is very easy to breeze through the episodes and move to the next one.

The story sets up several characters, including a narrator (spoken by James Brolin) and then the show does a wonderful job of intermixing the characters naturally, without making it feel forced.

I have never read the DC Comic this was based on and, despite the fact that I love Jeff Lemire’s work (his run on Moon Knight was awesome), I am kind of glad that I came into this series with such a lack of knowledge. It made every twist all the more effective.

Sweet Tooth is full of fun and excitement. Make sure you give it a try.

The Falcon and the Winter Soldier Episode 6

SPOILERS FOR THE FINALE OF THE FALCON AND WINTER SOLDIER, EPISODE 6

This show was initially expected to be back to the Marvel formula of action. You have two buff stars and everybody absolutely knew that this was going to be nothing but a big Marvel action fest.

Oh, we did not know what we were going to get.

While the show had plenty of great action, The Falcon and the White Soldier brought so much more to the six episode series. The show dealt with issues of identity, racial disparity and entitlement and did them all extremely well. The show built Sam Wilson up into a position where it was clearly his right to take the mantel of Captain America.

The new Wakandan uniform is exceptional and appeared very comic book accurate. There was a slight concern on my part that they might remove the wings, but I was extremely pleased to see Sam rocketing across the sky at the beginning of the show.

The sixth episode starts with a ton of action, including some amazing aerial fights involving helicopters. The scenes are brilliantly shot and fill the anxiety of the viewers.

During the action scenes, we get confirmed that Sharon Carter was indeed the Power Broker. We did not get much info on why she is now the Power Broker (though they hinted at how the US ignored her), but I fully expect that the character of Sharon Carter has more to do in the MCU and that we will learn more about her as the years movie along.

She did end up killing Karli to “save” Sam’s life. She did save Sam as Karli was preparing to shoot him, but she was also doing it to keep the secret that she was the Power Broker silent. Sam brought the body of Karli to the authorities in a gorgeously shot scene.

John Walker has a bit of redemption in the action scenes too as he showed up with his newly minted shield. It may not have lasted long in the battle, but Walker made a solid choice to try and help save a group of people in a truck that were about to fall to their deaths. Wyatt Russell brought a really complex character in the series and, thankfully, he survived the show and, thanks to Julia Louis-Dreyfus, he is able to take his place as USAgent. Looking forward to more from him.

The monologue Sam gives to the Senator and the other members of the GRC is the final step for Sam to become Captain America in the eyes of the world. There are so many great lines included in the monologue that showed the world, including Isaiah, that he had the strength of character to be Cap. Bucky called him Cap. Tears came to my eyes when a bystander yelled “Yes, Black Falcon!” and another one said to him, “No, that’s Captain America.” Beautiful.

Speaking of beautiful, the scene at the end with Sam and Isaiah at the Smithsonian was such a wonderful tag to the side story of Isaiah.

TFATWS Ending Features a Touching Tribute to Isaiah Bradley

More details:

  • Batroc dies. Shot by Sharon.
  • Amazing scene where Sam flies through the helicopter, snatching away the pilot.
  • With Eli Bradley following with his grandfather, how long before we get The Patriot. The Smithsonian scene probably helped open Isaiah’s mind for the future of the Young Avenger.
  • Zemo gets the last laugh. His butler blows up the remaining Super Soldiers.
  • Sharon melted one of the super soldiers with poison gas. That was brutal.
  • Who does Sharon call in the mid credit scene? She got her pardon, her job back and an in to the secrets and weapons of the US government.
  • Hey Bucky… don’t take a cell phone from a mysterious person. You could die from that.
  • When Sam lands on the bridge, wraps his wings around the shield and allows the helicopter to bounce off him… I mean… WOW!
  • Two Redwings!
  • Walker quoting Lincoln. “Mercy bears richer fruit than strict justice.” Don’t quote Lincoln John.
  • Bucky gets invited to the cookout!

The Falcon and the Winter Soldier delivered great action and unexpected depth of character and emotion. This was the second huge hit for Marvel Studios on Disney +.

And now you can call it Captain America and the Winter Soldier!

Loki is next in June.

The Falcon and the Winter Soldier Episode 5

SPOILERS FOR THE FALCON AND WINTER SOLDIER EPISODE 5

Episode 5 of The Falcon and the Winter Soldier dropped on Disney + this morning and it brought another fantastic episode hot off the end of episode four’s shocking twist with the murderous John Walker and his bloody shield. Walker finds himself retreating from the area where he had murdered the Flagsmasher and into a nearby warehouse.

Falcon and Winter Soldier' Episode 5 release date, start time, runtime,  spoilers, and more

Bucky and Falcon arrive and approach John with the intention to give him to give up the shield. Let’s just say that John was not too excited about complying. Then, the three of them engage in an epic battle. Sam gets his wings ripped off. John gets his arm broken as they tear the shield away from him.

This was going to be our sole action beat of the episode as the remainder of the episode was full of amazing character driven moments and deep scenes of development.

Then, we see John Walker at a military trial and being removed from his rank and his commission. However, after the trial, John is approached by a mysterious woman who calls herself the Contessa Valentina Allegra de la Fontaine. I had to look twice when she walked up because I could not believe who I was seeing.

Julia Louis-Dreyfus.

Amazing. She is playing a character with a lot of background in the Marvel Comics, but who knows who she is going to be here. Rumor has it that she is going to appear in the Black Widow movie coming up in June. However, no matter how epic I thought this was, all I could think was…

How did they keep this secret? I had no idea she was going to be here. And she is a huge star. We knew there was a big cameo in the episode, but I would not have guessed Julia Louis-Dreyfus if you gave me a month to guess. It also feels as if she is going to be a major factor moving forward in the MCU.

Baron Zemo arrives at the Sovokia Memorial and Bucky walked up to him. He makes it look like he is going to shoot Zemo in the head, but he reveals that he had removed the bullets. The Dora Milaje escorted Zemo to the Raft.

Zemo was fantastic in this entire show and Daniel Brühl stole every scene he was in. I love the fact that he is off to a super prison, ready to be brought back whenever we need him. In WandaVision, Agatha Harkness winds up in a prison (sort of) too so maybe Marvel has learned their lesson about killing off their awesome villain characters.

Sam started off by heading to Baltimore to carry on a conversation with Isaiah Bradley. This scene is short with Sam and Isaiah, but it was one of the more powerful scenes that you could get. This was a master class of acting between Carl Lumbley and Anthony Mackie. Finding this scene of racial injustice in a Marvel TV show is mind boggling. I hope somewhere down the road, we get more of Isaiah Bradley.

After this, Sam went back to his sister’s home to deal with the boat. They begin to fix it up and Sam gets the people of the community to pitch in. Bucky shows up with a suitcase from Wakanda. Then we get the first of out montage scenes as Sam and Bucky work on fixing the boat and it is one of the best things we see. It is such a heart warming moment that shows the relationship between them.

There is a second montage scene in the show this week as Sam is training with the shield. It was another fantastic scene that developed this friendship even more. Bucky looked at Sam and said, “When Steve told me what he was planning, I don’t think either of us really understood what it felt like for a black man to be handed the shield. How could we. I owe you an apology. I’m sorry.” One line and we see that Bucky finally understands the reasoning behind Sam’s choices for originally giving the shield back to the government. Sam then dove into his old ways of talking to soldiers with PTSD and he told Bucky how he can move on. It was a tight and brilliantly scripted moment that gave us the relationship that we have been waiting for. So many epic conversations in this episode that had so little action. Despite that, you do not miss the action one bit. This was a wonderful episode.

Other items

  • The scene where Sam’s nephews wake up Bucky as they are playing with the shield and the second one where one of them traces the star on the shield are simply inspirational and transcendent. It is a beautiful pair of scenes that give hope that even the little black boys can have hope in America.
  • Um… Sharon Carter… is she legit the Power Broker? She sent Batroc the Leaper to Karli and he is wanting to kill Sam. WTF
  • Unless Julia Louis-Dreyfus is the Power Broker and Sharon is working with her or working undercover.
  • Bucky flirting with Sam’s sister.. perfect.
  • The scene with John Walker talking to Lamar’s parents was all kinds of tragic. It gave us even more layers into the character of John Walker while giving us a taste of Lamar.
  • Isaiah Bradley’s tragic story needs to be told in some extended series somewhere.
  • Show blatantly leaves us dangling with the reveal of the new suit for Falcon from Wakanda. Can’t wait to see.
  • In the first mid-credit scene of the series, John Walker is making his own shield.
  • Batroc is here!
  • The show is setting up a huge final battle with our heroes and the Flagsmashers at the GRC for next week.
  • Christ…it was Julia Louis-Dreyfus!

The Falcon and the Winter Soldier Episode 4

SPOILERS FOR EPISODE FOUR OF THE FALCON AND THE WINTER SOLDIER

Some people found episode three of the Disney + series to be a bit of a step down (not me though) from the rest of the series. However, I don’t think anyone is saying that about episode four, an amazing thrill ride.

There are two images/moments that are right near the top of the best moments not only of this series, but also the MCU (that may be hyperbolic, but…). One of those were at the very beginning of the show and one as the ending image at the very end of the show.

The episode started off in a flashback from six years ago in Wakanda. Bucky and Ayo are at fireside and she is saying the trigger words that activate the Winter Soldier program that was in Bucky’s head. Shuri had been working to remove the programming and this was an attempt to see what would happen. Sebastian Stan was absolutely brilliant in these few minutes. He worked through such pain and anguish as the words were being said. He had flashbacks to some of his past atrocities as the Winter Soldier and he struggled to maintain his control. Then, when the words were complete and Ayo said that he was free, Bucky’s tears of relief rolled from his eyes. The scene ended with a slight smile from Bucky. Such a powerhouse moment for the character of James Barnes.

The second image that brought tears to my eyes was the very end of the show. John Walker, the new Captain America, who had taken the final vial of Super Soldier Serum that Karli had (Zemo had destroyed the rest and took a shield to the head for his trouble), flipped out and chased the Flagsmashers away. He flipped out after Karli kicked Battlestar into a pillar and he dies (we think). He caught up with one of the Flagsmashers and he brutally killed him with the shield. The show gave a final shot of Walker standing, holding the shield with blood covering the bottom of the shield. It was a gutshot to me. It was so disturbing and painful for me to see the shield tarnished with the blood of the Flagsmasher. It shook me.

By the way, as John Walker is driving his shield into this helpless man, there are tons of people with their cell phones out and recording. It is very much like the current world when police officers are over stepping their boundaries and using excessive force. I certainly think the scene with John Walker plays as an analogy to those real life moments.

Now, the rest of the episode was awesome too. It was just bookended with some amazing awesomeness.

In particular, the Dora Milaje was here. We saw Ayo show up at the end of the third episode to confront Bucky. This week she told him that he had eight hours and then they were coming for Zemo. Then they came for him and wound up in an epic battle with Walker, Battlestar, Bucky and Sam in a hotel room. The expertness of their fighting skills were on full display as they showed why the Dora Milaje is considered the elite fighting force in the world. And, Ayo delivered one of the defining lines for the characters of the Dora Milaje when she said, in response to Walker saying that they did not have jurisdiction, that “The Dora Milaje have jurisdiction wherever the Dora Milaje find themselves to be.”

We continue to develop the character of Karli. Last episode, it looked as if she had taken the turn to full fledged villain, but her motivations are walked back a bit this week. There are still some ways to redeem her because they have truly made her shades of grey. She had a philosophy that you could, conceivably, get behind. Her interactions with Sam during this show were so well written that you could see how the two of them could be connected. It is still unclear who might be the “big villain” of this show because there are so many shades here.

Of course, Daniel Brühl is just the best. After Disney released the extra scene of Zemo dancing (looped for an hour), it is obvious that Baron Zemo is a star in this show. He continued here being one of the best characters on the show. He is both hilarious and sinister at the same time. He is the smartest person in the room and he is fully committed to his agenda. As he smashed the super soldier serum, Zemo showed that he could not be corrupted by the power. You could almost respect it if he was not taking things in another different path,

The Falcon and the Winter Soldier' Recap: Blood on the Shield - The Ringer

Other highlights:

  • “Looking strong, John!” – Bucky
  • Bucky has his metal arm removed in battle
  • John Walker’s story is great. Plus, he is shown as being uncertain about what to do with the super soldier serum he had found. It is a great character moment as we watch him slip into his head.
  • Bucky shows his knife fighting skills once again.
  • The extra drop of Battlestar’s head is dramatic when he is “killed.” I put it in quotation marks because I am assuming that he is dead, but you can never be sure.
  • Was there a relationship between Bucky and Ayo? There was a look of betrayal from Bucky when she took off his arm. This has easily been Sebastian Stan’s greatest MCU performance so far.
  • Karli is still iffy in my mind. She made a threat against Sarah and her children.
  • Is Sharon Carter the Power Broker? Could be.
  • It is amazing that Zemo’s head is still on his shoulders after taking the shield to his face.
  • Zemo in the bathrobe is just a perfect character trait. Zemo has been such a fantastic character here.
  • Sam stood out here too. It seems clear that Steve Rogers was right when he picked Sam to carry the shield.
  • It was sad how the man Walker murdered with the Shield was the same man who had told Karli that he was a Captain America fan as a child.

The brutality of the final scene is something that we have not seen a lot of in the MCU and it caught me off guard. It served to taint the symbol of Captain America and it was a serious gut punch. I did not know that it meant as much to me as it did until I saw the shot of the shield with the blood on it. The show has two more weeks left and it has stepped up into a new stratosphere with this week’s offering.

The Falcon and The Winter Soldier Episode 3

SPOILERS FOR THE FALCON AND THE WINTER SOLDIER EPISODE 3

Baron Zemo is here.

Daniel Brühl reprised his role from Captain America: Civil War starting big time in this week’s episode of The Falcon and the Winter Soldier and he dominated the screen.

Bucky helps break out Zemo from his prison cell in Berlin (unbeknownst to Sam) and the scene where Bucky is telling Sam the “hypothetical” situation is awesome. Sam’s reaction, especially the line “I don’t like how casual you are being about this, it’s unnatural” which I absolutely laughed.

Anthony Mackie was great here with his quips throughout the episode.

Back to Daniel Brühl. I lost my mind when he walked onto screen with that jacket. It was perfect costume for Zemo, and that was before he put the purple mask on. We discover that Zemo is wealthy and has a ton of resources, including his own evil Alfred butler, played by Nicholas Pryor, who used to be Kevin Collins’ father on General Hospital/Port Charles. Brühl works as this character amazingly well.

Agent 13, Sharon Carter (Emily VanCamp) made her return as well, helping Sam, Bucky and Zemo in their search for the new super solider serum. We find out that there had been a limited amount of new serum created, and, when Zemo killed the scientist, the limit may have a shelf life. Sharon Carter showed off her super spy fighting skills as she beat the crap out of a bunch of henchmen.

Speculation: I really have a theory that Sharon Carter is going to be revealed as the Power Broker. When Sharon got into the car with her driver and she said that they were going to have two troubles, I got a feeling she had some nefarious actions in her future.

We got a huge setting for the first time, right out of the X-Men comic books. Madripoor is one of the iconic places in the Marvel Universe and, with the rights now under the Marvel Studio banner, it gets to make its debut in the MCU. The phrase “hive of scum and villainy” springs to mind when thinking about Madripoor (as does Patch, but that will be for another time). This is a setting that we will see again in the MCU without a doubt.

A view of Madripoor from Marvel Studios’ THE FALCON AND THE WINTER SOLDIER exclusively on Disney+. Photo courtesy of Marvel Studios. ©Marvel Studios 2021. All Rights Reserved.

Then, the episode came to a close bringing up yet another tie in from Civil War, this time being Ayo (Florence Kasumba), apparently the second in charge of the Dora Milaje from Wakanda. Her arrival made a lot of sense since she was the Dora Milaje that was protecting King T’Chaka, who was killed in an explosion set by Baron Zemo. She might not be to fond of the idea that Bucky, a person they brought into Wakanda, helped “fix” him and dubbed him the White Wolf, helped the Wakandan king’s killer to escape.

Other points:

  • John Walker starting to show some cracks
  • Sam’s sister makes a return with an ill timed phone call
  • The whole snake shot thing was horrible.
  • Sam’s lines were epic: the reference to looking like a pimp and then not being able to run in heels…LOL
  • Flagsmasher Karli Morgenthau continues to be an enigma, showing both sides of her character.
  • I guess Sharon is also an art thief.

Three more episodes to go.

Invincible episodes 1-3 (Amazon Prime)

SPOILERS FOR INVINCIBLE

Robert Kirkman has had a lot of success in comic books. The Walking Dead is one of the best and most successful comic series to come along outside of the Big Two companies. He is currently working on another Image comic called Firepower.

However, one of the most beloved series from Kirkman was known as Invincible and became one of the premier titles in the independent circuit.

Now, Amazon Prime has taken the IP of Invincible and turned it into an animated series aimed at the adult fans of the comic, releasing the first three episodes this week.

I had never read any of the Invincible comics, but the character was always an interesting one. Son of the world’s greatest hero, Omni-man, Invincible has joined his father’s war to help save the earth from evil and dangers. Along with a cavalcade of super heroes, Invincible does a good job of telling its story.

Amazon Prime Video's Invincible Premiere Review

Invincible is Mark Grayson (voiced by Steven Yeun) the son of Omni-Man (J.K. Simmons), an alien from the planet of Viltrum, a planet filled with beings with super powers. Mark gets his powers around his 17th birthday and begins training with his father.

Sandra Oh voices Mark’s mother Debbie, who has had a happy marriage to Omni-Man (aka Nolan).

Earth’s heroes, The Guardians of the Globe, are here as well, though their fates are not positive ones for the team. At the end of the first episode, Omni-Man arrives at Guardians HQ and slaughters the entire team, before slipping into a coma himself. That was an unexpected twist to the show and really set up the series as one with stakes and surprises.

After three episodes, we have no idea why Omni-Man did what he did, but I have to say that I am fascinated to find where this is taking us. It was as if Superman turned on the Justice League.

We also meet the Teen Team, featuring a group of heroes closer to Invincible’s age. Among them, Mark connects with Atom Eve (Gillian Jacobs), who helps Mark through some of the beats of being a super hero.

Invincible' Arrives on Amazon Prime With a Young Hero for Mature Audiences  - The New York Times

There is a huge voice cast here as well including such notable performers such as Mark Hamill, Zazie Beetz, Zachary Quinto, Walton Goggins, Michael Cudlitz, Khary Payton, Seth Rogen, Michael Dorn, Mahershala Ali, Ezra Miller, Jason Mantzoukas, Lauren Cohen, Kevin Michael Richardson and Clancy Brown.

Invincible is notable as well because of the adult manner in which the show is presented. It is certainly rated R, with plenty of swear words and blood splatter. In fact, the first couple of episodes were extremely filled with blood in the violence. I am not sure that I thought it was necessary to show all the animated blood. It felt more distracting than realistic. It might have been effective in a live action setting, but this animated show feels nothing more than exploited using the blood.

TV Review: Invincible, Series Premiere (Episodes 1-3)

Mark is a fantastic protagonist and you find yourself rooting for him easily, though I can say that I worry about when he discovers the truth about his father and his crime.

Invincible is scheduled for a total of 8 episodes, releasing from now on, one a week, on Fridays on Amazon Prime. There is enough here for me to continue to watch, adding it to my weekly viewing of The Falcon and the Winter Soldier and Superman and Lois.

The Falcon and the Winter Soldier Episode 2

SPOILERS FOR THE FALCON AND THE WINTERSOLDIER EPISODE TWO

The second episode of the new Disney +/Marvel Studios limited series, The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, debuted on the steaming service in the wee hours of the night. After the slow burn of last week’s episode, some people were anxiously hoping this episode would be paced quicker. I am not in the same boat. I loved the slower burn character development that was all over last week’s show. However, this week’s show brought both and elevated itself above last week.

This week’s episode, entitled “The Star Spangled Man,” did not waste time in bringing Sam and Bucky back together and we see the real key to the show. Yes, there is great character development that makes us care for these people more, but the real standout of the show is the relationship of James “Bucky” Buchanan and Sam Wilson. Their chemistry is off the charts and the bromance is amazing. The banter between Bucky and Sam was great and the show gives us plenty of examples of it.

Even before we see Sam and Bucky meet up, we get some background for the new Captain America, John Walker. While he is set up to be hatred by the fans last week, we see some info on Walker that humanizes him. Some have claimed that he is the “evil” Captain America, but I think that is way too surface for this show. Walker is not a villain. He may be a character being set up for a fall, but his motivations are understandable and relatable. However, he is certainly not the most likable person in the show.

The scene with Walker arriving at his old high school to a band playing the song “Star Spangled Man” from the movie Captain America: The First Avenger was fire.

My favorite scenes in the episode were the scenes where Bucky took Sam to meet a certain person that Bucky had known in the 1950s. Carl Lumbly, a veteran movie/TV actor, had been rumored to be playing the Marvel character Isaiah Bradley, who was a black Captain America back after Steve Rogers had gone into the ice. Apparently, Isaiah had previously had a battle with The Winter Solder in the 1950s. Lumbly brought the tragic character to life with a few powerful moments that showed that he was still a dangerous super soldier. This is a character I want much more from movie forward.

Then, directly after this scene with Isaiah, Bucky and Sam encountered some local police officers who stopped because they saw Bucky and Sam arguing in the middle of the road and we see that the lives of a black man are not any different because he is an Avenger. There was some subtle racial connotations last week with the bank loan stuff, but this week the police, who only see Sam as an angry black man, is anything but subtle. It is real though. Seeing the race issues in the MCU is both interesting and painful. Watching the police backtrack when Bucky said to them, “Do you know who this is?” was, once again, too real. This theme is layered throughout this show and I am here for it.

We got another scene of therapy, this time with Sam joining in. This scene truly highlighted the connection between Buck and Sam. Bucky kept going back to the issue of why Sam gave back the shield, and it revealed why it was such a blow to him. Bucky said it was Steve’s decision to give Sam the shield and if he was wrong about Sam being able to handle it, he would be wrong about giving Bucky another chance. Depth of character once again.

We got a great fight with the Flagsmashers and Falcon, Bucky, Walker and his sidekick Battlestar atop of two semi trucks driving down the road.

The end shot showed us the next step… Bucky heading to see the still imprisoned Helmut Zemo. Daniel Brühl appeared at the very end, bringing yet one more great piece to the chess board. This episode was tremendous and always feels like it ends too soon.

This has been awesome so far.

The Falcon and the Winter Soldier Episode 1

SPOILERS FOR THE FALCON AND THE WINTER SOLDIER EPISODE 1

Fresh off the success of WandaVision, Disney + revealed the premiere of their second MCU series, The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, featuring Anthony Mackie and Sebastian Stan.

You could not find two properties more different than WandaVision and The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, and that is a great thing. It was expected that F&WS would be more of an action/adventure based series, but, to be honest, Marvel Studios still kind of surprised us. The show started with a great action scene, but then the remainder of the show was a real slow burn that focused on character growth and character development.

Sam Wilson, the Falcon, who had been given the Captain America shield by Steve Rogers himself at the end of Avengers: Endgame, but the series kicked off with Sam giving the shield to a museum, claiming that he did not deserve it, that the shield was not the symbol… the man who holds it was.

We also see Bucky still struggling to get through his life. With a pardon in his hands, he had to attend sessions with a therapist. Bucky continued to have nightmares about the horrible things that he has done in his life. He had made a list of people that he had to make amends with, in one way or another.

We see so much character development in this first 50 minutes than they had received in all of the movies that they have appeared in. We meet Sam’s sister and her children. We discover about their life and their struggles. The show is hinting at a theme of racial troubles. When the government announced the arrival of the new Captain America, a white man, you can see where this show is heading. This is a fascinating look at racism in the MCU.

The episode also introduced the new group of terrorists called the Flagsmashers. While we did not see any signs of Baron Zemo yet, the Flagsmashers are a cool new threat.

There is a great deal of fallout from The Blip in this series, which feels as if it will be another theme of this series.

We saw some great work from Mackie and Stan and they have not even met up yet. The first episode was a slow burn and I loved it. I am excited to where this show is heading.