I have been a Doctor Who fan for as long as I can remember and if I didn’t know any better I would wager a guess it was my first word. There have been moments in Who history that I thought I would never see and events I would never get to go and Gallifrey One is such an event. For one reason or another things never worked, or the stars just never lined up but for the first time the sky opened up and the Towers Sang and just this one time all was right with the world.
The question that always plagues me when dealing with cons that focus on just one show; will there be enough to do and enjoy? With the larger cons that I have been to over the years there has always been an assortment of different geek loves to indulge in from dealers room, panels, celebrity guests and artists. The rising levels of cons that center on just one niche is as awesome as it is scary wondering if the life of the con will survive as the big cons continue to consume both guests and attendees. You have Supernatural and Walker Stalker Con that have come along over the years but don’t have the benefit of the amount of years on the air that Doctor Who has. As I sit in the lobby typing this I watch the groups start to take form and then I start to think to myself…What’s there to worry about, Doctor Who will go on forever.
It is amazing the fandom this show has been able to generate over the last five decades and just what it says to all the different people. Each person walking through the door identifying with different aspects of the show and different passion and a different way the show has touched them and continues to do so as the Doctor travels through space and time. I have been to many cons over the years but I have to say this is the most unique as the evening gets underway and everyone pulls out ribbons. Most everyone in attendance has their own ribbon with different phrases and images on them to trade with other people at the con that sick to the pass and as the night progresses you can amass a very large collection. By the time the end of the weekend comes you have a ladder of ribbons that could reach the second floor of the hotel from the ground. It’s not just the fans that take part in this ritual but the celebrities that are attending participate as well. Michelle Gomez and Ingrid Oliver actively trading their own ribbons as you go through the autograph lines even the restaurant having one of their own to contribute. Listening to many of the return attendees talk about their collection from years past begins to sound like a few conversations I have had with comic collectors as they must collect them all.
The advantage of the smaller cons as always is time with the stars and a chance to chat for a moment or two with them. The layout is simple enough and the crowds not pressed against one another gasping for personal space. The different autograph tables set up in the dealers room makes it simple and easy to see the guests and even with the lines it seems to move a lot faster than I have experienced at other cons. Being able to chat up John Hurt was fantastic, I wish I could have been able to do a full on interview but being able to just talk to him before being pushed along was refreshing. The picture lines were a different animal entirely but I would recommend that team to any con on how they dealt with the volume and people while coordinating with the rest of the celebrities schedule (Opal you rock). It’s not only the celebrities that are being pulled for photos, there are still wall to wall cosplayers and it’s hard not to turn your head and see a Weeping Angel or one version or another of the Doctor walk by a few radio controlled Daleks but no kid in a gasmask. The best part of the con for me has to be the moments with John Hurt at the autograph table and on stage as he took questions and recalled tales of his past projects. You could see a particular love for his moments on the Harry Potter set as Ollerander the wand shop owner then came the opportunity for him to read some of the other Doctors lines. Most significantly for me was the Peter Capaldi speech at the end of Zygon Inversion delivered War Doctor style give it a listen.
I have seen small cons grow to unimaginable sizes pulling people from across the nation, even different parts of the world. I have seen them disappear in a blink or swallowed up by a larger one or different owners. Is there a con bubble? Will the goliath model win? Is there room for both? As long as there are fans, an unwavering love for the characters I doubt that it will change much just your choices of where to go and who to see. Like most cons the days fly by and before you know it the tear filled goodbyes begin. It’s a little bit different than most as some feel more like family that you look forward to seeing again rather than acquaintances that you run into year after year at the different cons around the country. Where it’s everyone’s love that’s the focus and not just the culture or just one specific guest from the dozens making an appearance. There will always be the big name draws of course but at the core of it all there is just one name, one love and it’s the Doctor.
White Knights/Fail-Safe 1986
I have to say that Rip Hunter…not a very good Captain as we travel to the late 80’s in the hunt for Savage. According to Gabriel this is where the trail leads but to proceed they need to get a redacted document from the Pentagon, which I thought was a fantastic idea. How the group went about getting it left a little to be desired. You have the Atom, he can shrink, like super small shrink and instead of doing that they make him a janitor and partner him up with Cold. I know there has to be a bit of drama for the show and play it up a bit but shouldn’t you play to some of the strength of the characters. I don’t want this to appear as me picking on Ray Palmer The Atom but I don’t understand where they are trying to take the character. He is portrayed with a kidlike innocence to an almost stupid level. He is supposed to have one of the greatest minds on the team, similar to Professor Stein if not smarter but seems almost sabotaged at every turn. He tries his best but falls short of the mark through both episodes and story but does have a powerful message for Heatwave towards the end and maybe that’s the point. It’s one thing for Ray to get shown up by Cold (who is the voice of reason again for the story) and is just smooth in all of his actions no matter the situation. Ray just seems so far out of his league in every situation and perhaps that’s the point of his story; to see him become the hero that he is meant to be as he stands up for everything he believes in no matter what. From the guy in the yard getting picked on to taking a beating for Heatwave, the one thing that needs to happen for sure is someone better teach Ray how to fight soon.
It’s not only Ray that we see the focus on character development for these two episodes we get a look at two sides of the same coin in White Canary and Hawkgirl. One trying to find her humanity and the other one trying to find the warrior inside. With the loss of Carter (Hawkman) makes you wonder if it will have a lasting effect on the progress of Kendra becoming Hawkgirl and fully realizing her powers and memories. I think Rip has the same thoughts hence why pairing the two up and a way to balance one another out. After seeing Hawkgirl go full on warrior priestess at the Pentagon I am sure she will be fine and even reminded me a bit of the comics and even the cartoon with the bad temper with the only thing missing was her mace. After that Hawkgirl plays a smaller roll but we still have White Canary’s demons to deal with and what lines she is will to cross. Is she an assassin? Will she smoke one of their own to save the future? This is all called into question as the group goes to Russia needing to save Stein, Heatwave and Ray from a Gulag Savage has put them in. If there is a chance Canary is to take Stein out and the voice in her ear, persuading her to rethink it is Cold.
If there is one thing that will come out of this show its just what a bad ass Captain Cold really is and his less than good guy approach to things. The man will operate in the gray area and has his loyalties but there are lines that he will not cross. He won’t leave a man behind and he won’t kill if he doesn’t have to but there is always time to steal something. His loyalty and trust in Heatwave is commendable as he storms the cells solo looking for his partner, even during the fight that led to their capture he was calling Rip for reinforcements. Every call he has made is spot on and all of his strategies are solid it’s not till you put everyone else in the mix that things start to fall apart him and Heatwave best team ever and then you have Firestorm. The most powerful member on the team and Stein and Jefferson fight like an old married couple and you don’t know which one has the bigger ego. Truth be told his character has been the biggest disappointment so far in the story, the two separate haven’t been bad and the focus on Stein was rather eye-opening. Not wanting to lose another partner like he did Ronnie but not willing to give Jackson the chance to be a hero. Granted it’s his mistake that botches the job at the Pentagon and lands Stein in Russia with the chance to create and army of Firestorms but it was almost like time was trying to fix itself. Thanks to the team showing up 11 years earlier and giving Savage the idea of a nuclear man could have led to the destruction of the world much sooner. Stein is brave, got it, and one of the biggest adventures in the group but I don’t see him standing toe to toe with Savage and my only hope is they start to explore his powers a little further and pull more from the comic on him. We saw what happens when a Firestorm goes boom and what happens if he is on the wrong end of Savages sword?
So what has been accomplished? Mucking up the time line for sure and only because Rip is not the greatest leader. What keeps annoying me the most is the wishy washy, we are a team on a mission were not story. We are dealing with it every week and it’s getting tiresome. Everyone has said they are in and Rip for all of his bravado is just being a wimp. I love that Cold let him get beat up a little by the Russian mobster. It’s because of his botched efforts that Carter is dead and Savage almost created an army of nuclear men. He almost sacrificed the team and mission to the Time Masters if it was for Cold to reason with him. Rip had his one big chance to kill Savage and couldn’t do it and if he gets the drop on him I doubt he could do it even knowing that Savage is coming for his family. In the meanwhile the Time Masters will continue to hunt him and the team as next week we finally get to see what the future looks like as we go to the year 2046.
Welcome to Earth 2/Escape from Earth 2
The event we have been waiting for all season has happened, the journey to Earth 2 but was it everything I had hoped for.
The two night event was good, the second half I think was better than the opening to the story but it was an incredible build up. The few problems I had with Welcome to Earth 2 were mostly Barry acting like the rookie child we saw early on in season one. It was one bad choice after another for him even after Jay’s words of advice before Well’s, Cisco, and Barry walked into the last open breach on our Earth. Jay makes it a point to tell Barry that everything is just a little bit different and not to get pulled into the world round him because it’s not your home. That being the biggest understatement of the night because Earth 2 turns out looking like the 1920’s with high tech and plasma TV’s, where everyone is so polite…for the most part. The Barry of Earth 2 is a bit of a wimp but is married to Iris and Joe is a lounge singer and a good one with the biggest twist Captain Cold is Mayor.
Barry decides to take the place of his doppelganger on this Earth to better help the mission of finding Zoom who is public enemy number one here. This is bad decision number one and it goes downhill from there, the only one acting with and kind of head on their shoulders is Wells and again is the best part of the episodes. His reactions and trying to keep everyone on mission and so impatient is fantastic, like wrangling cats. Wells makes it very obvious he is there to take down Zoom and nothing is going to slow him down from that and they are working with a ticking clock because in 24 hours Jay and Caitlin are supposed to close the last breach in the basement of STAR Labs. With Barry acting like a kid on Christmas and for some reason thinking it’s up to him to fix all of the relationships on this Earth we get introduced to Killer Frost (Caitlin) and Deathstorm (Ronnie) who hunt breacher’s for fun. Meaning this isn’t the first time people from other Earths have visited this one, it’s an added bonus for them that is a speedster but on this Earth it seems everyone works for Zoom even Cisco.
While Barry and crew are away it doesn’t mean our Earth goes event free, Jay gets to face off against Geomancer. Another Wally West villain from the comics who has been a very B level villain and has only been around since 2000. The major point of this story is we finally get the answers as to why Jay is dying and the loss of his powers. The whole reason Jay was against the Velocity drug is because it’s what damaged his cells and resulted in the loss of his powers as his obsession with speed grew not Zoom taking them. We go from Velocity 6 to 9 through the course of the episode and with 9 comes the cure for Jay and maybe hope for the restoration of Jay’s power. The other issues beside Geomancer is the speed cannon first blowing up because of an imbalance now with all the other breaches closed then is getting damaged from all the earthquakes Geomancer is causing. It comes down to the wire as the team makes their way back from Earth 2 but that’s where everything goes sideways and it was only a guess of who we were going to lose in the final moments of the episode.
The overall Earth 2 event was great the fight with Zoom at the end was a surprise and Wells stabbing him in the heart with the slowdown serum was awesome. You can only guess that Zoom smoked Killer Frost in the fight since he had no issues knocking off Cisco and Deathstorm. I just don’t understand where Zoom was going all of the time? You have a few prisoners and you just leave them unguarded in their cells? I’m sure there is some logical explanation but he has been wanting Barry’s speed for half the season and the only thing you’re going to do is give him a beat down and then take off? The big question is the guy in the Xorn helmet (yes I know that’s an X-Men reference) that Zoom has locked up, is it really Jay? One from a different Earth or is it our Jay just somehow got misplaced in time? The final moments of the episode as Zoom reaches out and pulls Jay back through (Saw that coming) could there have been some time displacement or was that really the end of the Jay we knew? For a moment I did think that it was going to be Wells that we lost or somehow got locked on the other side with Zoom but was able to make it through. I do think it was a nice touch as the group traveled between Earths that we got a peek at the other ones all packed around each other and the some images of events happening there like passing in front of a window. Even got to see The Flash from the original TV show and Supergirl who will be coming up soon. How will Zoom get back now that all of the breaches are closed? Will Barry try and keep his promise of saving Xorn Jay in Zooms prison?
After losing Hawkman last week and Hawkgirl on the bubble from the run in with Savage the team tries to regroup. Doing something I thought of in the very beginning, follow the money and what two better members of the team to help with that than Heatwave and Captain Cold.
Well you would think that but Rip goes into the Bank with White Canary posing as someone who wants to make a deposit of some rather rare coins. Not the best plan mind you and the whole scene of the two of them walking in all 70’s gangster style is classic but there not fooling anyone. We find out this isn’t the first time Rip has gone after Savage and tried a solo run at him a few thousand years earlier but couldn’t deliver the killing blow. Hence now the need of a team to help where he failed, we also start to see a bonding moment between him and Canary as she fights the “monster” inside her. The fight in the bank is crazy quick as Canary takes out half a dozen goons as Rip stands there in disbelief dealing with his one lone attacker. Do I like Rip as a character? Sure, he’s starting to grow on me and what I have enjoyed is just how tortured he is. I can see Arthur pulling from his time spent with a particular Time Lord and how Rip has seen more than he wants to remember as recalls the fall of a Dark Knight and Men of Steal failing. Add that to the loss of his family and on the run from the Time Masters I think there is a lot on his mind as he tries to find the strength to carry on.
There are two things that I absolutely loved in this week’s episode and the first one is Hawkman is still dead. I thought they were going to pull some back from the dead magic on him or find a way to release his soul from the dagger and bringing him back. Then you see his lifeless body on an alter so they can drain his blood for the cult to drink helping them to be immortal as well sort of closed the deal on Hawkmans return. It’s a line I never thought I would see crossed in TV, killing off characters and sacrificing them is a bit of a shock. Granted I figured they would end up killing off a few of the heroes and my money was on Canary to be the first to go. The other was Captain Cold, I know I have go on about how much I love the character but this week was something I was hoping they would do. If you got the chance to go back in time and talk to yourself, what would you say? Cold tries to adjust the time line by helping his dad avoid going to prison for five years by taking the Maximillian Emerald before his failed attempt. Cold gets to talk to a very young Leo late at night as he tries to drop off the emerald to his dad, in that moment you see the motivation behind his actions, almost all of them in fact. At his heart Cold is a good guy just very good at stealing things as well but the most intriguing thing about him is his code of honor, we see it in the comics all of the time and saw bits of it in the Flash series and now to have them expand on it in Legends is fantastic. I wonder if we will see a line that he will not cross as the series progresses, we know he has no problem killing for the right reasons but is cold blooded murder alright. Can’t wait to see more of the Cold Heatwave spotlight continue because I think they are the best part of the show so far.
The Flash Fast Lane
Flash gets into the carpool lane this week as we get a little more character building with Wally and the West family. Iris is determined to show Wally the error of his ways and the dangers that street racing and his lifestyle can bring him. It’s not a bad episode and it’s something that needs to happen but not one of the more action packed nights that we have been spoiled with. I do have to say this; they have Wally down pretty good from the comics at least his always in a hurry and impatient side of his personality. It’s decent storytelling but right now for me I have no real attachment to Wally and still see him as a punk kid trying to sort things out while Joe is trying to be the cool parent. Do I want to see Wally become more involved in the story and become Kid Flash? Not really. I know that may come as a surprise as much of a Wally supporter that I am but I don’t want to see anything take away from Barry right now as the Flash.
The villain this week is a B level one at best out of the comics called Tar Pit and works well as they start to set things up for Wally but more importantly Dr. Wells. Tar pit spending the last two years pulling himself together after the accelerator blew. The real story this week is the conflict growing inside him and what’s the right thing to do. The whole second part of the season Dr. Wells’ character has been a runaway hit, wrestling on what the best thing to do, help the team or side with Zoom. At first it was clear then Barry got a beat down from Zoom and that changed his point of view quick but you can see Wells feeling guilty for his actions this week. While Barry is working on a breach implosion reactor Wells is hard at work designing a device to syphon off the speed force as Barry uses his powers. Both work oddly enough putting Wells in a difficult spot but does the unthinkable, Wells confesses about what he did to Barry and ready to accept the consequences of his actions. Wells even admitting that he would betray them all to save his daughter I think was the most realistic response anyone would have not the hero high road. Barry points this out and instead of sacrificing their best piece on the board by closing all the breaches with Wells on the other side he keeps the team together. There is one thing that is bothering me. Why does Zoom need Wells to help him take Barry’s speed? Zoom has already stole Jays speed so wouldn’t it be the same? How hard can it be to figure out a way to slow Zoom if Wells can figure out a way to take Barry’s powers?
I am sure the answers are right around the corner but I have a feeling things are going to start to pick up as next week we finally get to see Earth 2 as Barry, Cisco, and Wells cross the breach.
Flash The Reverse Flash Returns
“Time has little to do with infinity, jelly doughnuts and if you’re a Speedster!” I have to complement the Flash team for this episode and here’s why.
Time travel episodes have their own challenges, trying to keep the story right and not go too far down the story rabbit hole is always a potential pitfall. The last couple season Flash has flirted with time travel and now different dimensions with the precision of an Eisner Award winning author. To pull Reverse Flash back from the future but after the events of the first season to help explain a few things and clean up loose ends was fantastic. How Thawne knew some of the things he did and the anger he held towards Flash gets fleshed out in a brilliant face to face between the characters. Barry looking for closure and Thawne looking for answers that will eventually lead him back to the past putting everything in motion. Not only is it Thawne’s origin story but in some ways its Flash’s as well, setting things in motion because time always finds a way. The quest Reverse Flash has to make Flash the best hero he can be by being the bane of his existence is so well played out because the desire to do it comes from the jealousy that he can never be as good as the Flash. Is this the last we see Reverse Flash? I seriously doubt it, that may have been Thawne’s first trip here but we know it wasn’t his last and Barry wanting to keep him here is a hard point to argue with.
So how do you convince Barry to send Reverse Flash back to his own time? Kill Cisco of course. I don’t know if I like Cisco to be honest, the “Vibe” power is just a bit much and he was slightly annoying to start with. What I am enjoying is Dr. Wells and him going at one another that dynamic is endlessly amusing to me and I’m waiting for Wells to punch Cisco in the throat. I still can’t believe that Wells killed Turtle last week and I thought for a moment he might off Cisco but there does seem to be some humanity to him. Wells isn’t the bad guy, you can’t trust him don’t get me wrong but what lengths would you go to save your daughter. What we did learn is Cisco is connected more to the time stream than we had originally thought if he is able to see different things at different points in space and time Wells might be jamming a gun up his nose next. I doubt it would go to that extreme but I think Cisco tipped too much of his hand and I see Wells taking advantage of that ability very soon but I do so love when Wells is the voice of reason.
The other two quick points this week, Patty still bugs out to Midway City even after figuring out Barry is the Flash and Barry holds his ground denying it. I think it worked out perfectly to be honest, I liked Patty but one more person in the loop would start to get a little ridiculous and it was a cool way to conclude the story between the two characters. The Wally story I’m still apprehensive about and now that Francine is not long for this world and I know that means Wally will become more of a regular character. Good? Bad? Who’s to say, right now playing the angry kid roll, could be a chance for him to become something bigger. The ultimate twist this week for me this week is the Jay story line and trying to find his doppelganger on our Earth to help find a cure. At first coming up with nothing Caitlin gets frustrated and talks to Jay about her idea about using our Earth Jay to help with his dying cells. We find out that our Jay is named Hunter Zolomon and that’s when I flipped my mind. Why is this important? Zolomon is this time periods Zoom in the comics. He was a cop that was seriously messed up by Grodd and it’s who I thought Eddie was portraying last season to keep the names similar. Zolomon is related to Thawne in the comics and is primarily Wally’s problem, and the one thing we have seen in this show there is no simple coincidence.
Smurfs Take> Great twist to the Reverse Flash story and pulling from the Crisis story line from the comics just the right way. Perfect nod to the books and building on a perfect story while giving it a life all its own. The question is, how much of the future has changed?
DC Legends of Tomorrow
The title says it all, as DC takes the “B team” to the spotlight in this very creative idea pulling characters from both the Flash and Arrow; but is it too much?
As far as pilot episodes go, it was good and entertaining and just what you would expect as Rip Hunter (Arthur Darvill) collects a band of heroes to help save the future from Vandal Savage. Yes, try to overlook the irony as Arthur is a time traveler again and part of a group called the Time Masters that watch over the time stream and protect it. Yes I know this all seems rather Doctor Who but these are all elements out of the comics and have been expanded on for the show. Rip first appeared in Showcase #20 1959 and has been a key character to some of DC comics major crisis events, but the right amount of twist has been put it for the sake of the dramatic and a better platform for the show to work off of. What I did like is the round up and Rips grand speeches of what the world will become, the little difference from the comic to the show. Instead of a chair or a hand held device for time travel there is a whole ship named the Wave Runner which could be a nod to another time traveling character from DC named Waverider. Rips and Waveriders back story sharing some very close similarities in the show’s opening sequence but explains Rip’s motivation. I am curious as to how Gideon ended up on the ship since the AI was helping Reverse Flash navigate his way through time but I’m sure that story might still be in front of us as the shows move along. This all sets the stage for Vandal Savage, who in the year 2166 has conquered the Earth and there looks like there is no way to avoid that unless something is done in the past to change that.
If you have been watching Flash and Arrow and are asking yourself the question, didn’t Savage get a beat down that turned him to dust at the end of the episode you would be correct. How he is a walking talking world destroying monarch is left open but we get a small hint that unless the killing blow comes from either Hawkman or Hawkgirl Savage can come back using just a single cell. Did a cell find its way to a Lazarus Pit? Did a drop of someone’s blood do the trick? Maybe it’s like powdered milk and all you have to do is add water all we do know is the three of them are linked and there is no way around it. Making you wonder if he is alive 150 years from now where are the Hawkman and Hawkgirl of the future. We do get a little more on the two’s past as the group travels to 1975 for their first outing in the time stream to visit the expert in all things Savage. I loved this twist on who it was and why he was the expert (no spoilers) and was sad to see how the story went for him but does fill in a lot of holes for Hawk couples past.
Here is my worry for the show, too many characters but because of so many characters hold such giant potential. Will there be enough time to properly explore the characters? Give them enough time to grow and for the viewer to have a connection to? For example, White Canary I really don’t care about or for. She was just brought back from the dead in the Arrow series and I think they brought along for cannon fodder in the show. If there is a character that is going to get smoked in this series my money is on her. But the show does play to this fact, that there not very notable characters and how they do it is very well. The Atom wrestling with this very same issue after coming back from the dead as well and seeing he didn’t leave his mark on the world and it kept going and his existence only showing as a footnote. In the comics Atom and Firestorm are not the most well know characters for sure but they have had some very noteworthy stories, I personally love Firestorm and hope they explore his powers further in the show to reflect more from the comics. These two do get a significant amount of air time in the episode and the best moment is Professor Stein drugging his other half Jason and kidnapping him. This brings me to the best two characters in the show; Captain Cold and Heat Wave. These two are amazing to watch together and I can’t wait to see how they expand their characters stories. I loved Cold in the Flash series and he has some of the best lines in the show; “We go out for one lousy drink and yu manage to pick a fight with Boba Fett!” but that aside I just love his attitude. If they don’t use him to his full potential I will be very disappointed, there is a lot more to him than bar room brawls as much fun as the one was in this episode was please don’t limit him to just that. I also want to know why Rip would get pissed when no one get time travel and why wouldn’t they question him and want to change things.
Smurf’s Take> It was a decent opening episode but rather vanilla when I think about it, there were one or two twists that I enjoyed and didn’t expect but the real heroes in this were the two villains who stole the show.