The Life & Times of an Auteur.

Commentary on Pop Culture, and maybe creating some of my own.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Complications


As we close in on the finale, we check back in with two characters I have enjoyed from the get-go. Sportsmaster and, especially, Cheshire. It's been eight episodes since Cheshire vowed vengeance on Kaldur while Sportsmaster wanted to nail Black Manta in order to protect his rep and finally, we get pay off. All the while Nightwing investigates what happened on the War World last week.

This title wasn't kidding. Things get more complicated, and in some cases it actually helps, as in the case of Sportsmaster and Cheshire invading Black Manta's submarine. Had they not invaded there would have been no way for M'Gann to escape without Artemis and Kaldur compromising themselves. In this plot, we also get some of the series' best choreographed fight scenes, as well as two family dynamics that are as different as night and day.

Sportsmaster's relationship with his children is strained to the point where recovery seems extremely unlikely. Does that mean I believe him when he says his rep is all he cares about? No. But the fact that the guy is so incapable of acknowledging even some care for either of his daughters is very telling. Cheshire may put on a tough front when she tells Artemis that she only wanted someone to babysit Lian, but she's admitted before that she loved her sister. Does Sportsmaster's rep really mean more to him than his daughters? I would say yes, because he goes so out of his way to protect it, he won't acknowledge that he wants to avenge her at all. It doesn't mean he doesn't want to avenge her, but I do believe him when he says his rep comes first.

Contrasting that is Black Manta. He genuinely cares for Kaldur. He's been affectionate and he doesn't care who sees it and who knows it. The guy may be a dangerous and murderous supervillain, but he is still genuinely a father. And, try as I might, I find myself feeling sorry for him knowing that the son he genuinely loves is playing him for a chump. But I can't feel too sorry, because I refuse to let myself forget what Black Manta is and what he represents. And, yes, like Sportsmaster, I do enjoy seeing somebody play the Light for chumps now.

The B-plot of this episode is the aftermath of the previous. The team is now missing, all except Nightwing, Blue Beetle (and now the free Miss Martian). While it isn't action-packed, it's a lot of fun to watch Nightwing do some real detective work to deduce what happened in the last episode. Although I do think the Reach overplayed their hand in their public honoring of Blue.

On that note, I've seen some people complain about the lack of world reaction to the Reach having a fleet on Earth after lying about only having the single ship. I don't think this is a detail the producers of this series would ignore. We'll likely see some reaction very soon.

Four more to go.

3 comments:

  1. Yeah, it's easy to forget that Black Manta, despite being a caring father, is still a villain, one that was reckless enough to put Kaldur in harm's way back in "Downtime", even though he didn't intend to kill him, and was willing to risk his henchmen's lives in this episode. Sure, he's not as monstrous as his comic book counterpart, but still. It does make me wonder where his loyalties will lie if he is forced to choose between his son and the Light.

    Also, why do I find Deathstroke's goal of having a seat in the Light to be eerily prophetic?

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  2. I actually felt that Nightwing snapping the birdarrang after he say that Blue Beetle was working for The Reach was one the strongest moments in the episode. It also makes me think that The Reach are VERY confident that they're going to win, since their ambassador was basically saying to Nightwing "Blue Beetle is a traitor and there's nothing you can do about, hahahahaha."
    I was really looking forward to seeing Sportsmaster and Deathstroke fight, and this didn't disappoint, and Sportsmaster really got shine by nearly killing Black Manta. Deathstroke I find is an interesting character to read about, manly because from I've heard, in the comics he's one of those characters that sometimes does poorly under the wrong writer who goes inflates his abilities, like Wolverine or Batman. Thankfully we don't have that here. From most stuff I've heard, in terms of character, Sportsmaster is pretty much the comic book Deathstroke with a different set of weapons.
    I'm half expecting that since the show is ending this season, it will end on a downer note like SSM did, though if it does it will be somewhat better done, I'm guessing given that we clearly saw the Green Goblin fly into a bunch of bombs, how did he survive that?

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  3. I like that Deathstroke has plans to "take a seat" at the Light's "Table." It's a shame we won't see that come to fruition. I also almost didn't notice that Wentworth Miller was replaced by Fred Tatasciore. What say you of Deathstroke Greg? Great review, as always.

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