Welcome to our newly revamped Boomb Tube! Here, we will be catching you up on the week in comics TV, both through micro-reviews, as well as links to our full-length TV reviews. We also tend to review series that are dropped all at once weekly, so there are a few ‘older’ shows mixed in for good measure. Are we missing your favorite show? Let us know in the comments!
Big Nate – “The Pimple” (S1E5, Paramount+)
After some app-related mishaps, the Salvatores return with “The Pimple!” This episode was a perfect mix of all the things that make Big Nate such an effective series: there is fantastic animation and direction, mixing various types of media for effect, genuinely funny humor, including going to some dark places, and a real sense of abandon, where the writers take the premise to the furthest logical conclusion. Sure, I like when the episodes have a little more heart than “The Pimple” does, but that is a small sacrifice at the altar of entertainment.
The episode revolves around Nate getting his first pimple, which is the envy of his friends and the bane of his existence, but proves to be more than just a point of tween envy when people start having their wishes granted by touching the pimple. However, in a real monkey’s paw situation, the wishes start backfiring, and Nate goes from hero to pariah instantly. When asked what they would’ve wished for if they could touch Nate’s pimple, Ben wishes he could create rainbows everywhere he goes, and Amelia wanted to be able to communicate with animals. Their favorite parts involved Nate rubbing grease on his forehead to feed the pimple and when the little girl’s hamster returned to her. – The Salvatores
The Flash – “Reckless” (S8E10, The CW)
This is the moment where everything gets worse for the team. Well, in this episode the plot didn’t move so much forward, at the end of the episode the black flame is still loose and with (almost) no clue as to who is it or what’s causing it.
But what’s important in this episode is the development of the characters, as a leader, Barry has to choose what’s better for his team, and in this case, he has two big dilemmas. First of all, Iris’ time sickness is worsening, and she has to stand still in Coast City for a while, Barry at first chooses to keep her company, but she discourages it, because he has to keep an eye on the Flame, and she is still busy with Tinya Wazzo’s case.
On the other side, Frost
has a death wish wants to use herself as bait to catch the Black Flame, which is attracted to her because of their similar powers. At first Caitlin gets mad, because her sister might die and her own mother is encouraging it, but Barry as the leader is confronted with the big question: is it worth it to endanger your teammate if it means that the enemy might be defeated?
Barry is still learning to accept and embrace the choices of their teammates, but at the end, although everything in this episode got more complicated (Did Iris kill Tinya’s mom?), at the end of the tunnel there’s always a light. And Team Flash will come out triumphant.
(By the way, Frost’s olive jacket is gorgeous, I want one of those!) – Ramon Piña
He-Man and the Masters of the Universe – “A Very Hungry Dragonfly” (S2E4, NETFLIX)
Prince Adam/He-Man is a very likable character and has been so from the start of the series. What makes him stand out amongst other incarnations is that he truly is a boy learning to be a man. The original He-Man is uber confident and self-assured in all that he does to the point where he felt like an untouchable mythical character. This version however, is constantly reminding us how flawed he is and how far he has to go, which I believe will make him ultimately a more worthy champion.
This is immediately shown in the beginning of episode 4 “A Very Hungry Dragonfly” when He-Man is practicing with his sword, and accidentally throws his sword into a painting of King Greyskull. Prince Adam looks down sadly, muttering to himself that King Greyskull probably didn’t make as many mistakes as he is. This version of He-Man is going on a journey that kids are more likely to identify with, and I’m all for that. As Prince Adam struggles with what is good for the team, he starts to question if kicking King Stratos from the team was the right choice. Now he’s starting to learn soft skills!Continued below
Meanwhile, Evil-Lyn and Teela make for a fun buddy side-adventure. As they are swallowed by a giant dragonfly named Gary (really) they are forced to learn to work together. The episode is filled with the typical banter of an odd couple being forced to work together. The best part is watching them debate the nature of their quests. Both want to harness power and use, but have totally different ideals behind them.
Obviously Teela is part of the “good guys” squad, while Evil-Lyn is working with Skelator. However when Teela presses her over that issue while they share kabobs over a campfire (really), Evil-Lyn posits the question of whether they’re really different, if in the end they both want the same thing. It seems they are two sides of the same coin and now that they’re getting more familiar with each other, I am interested in seeing how they develop. All in all every aspect of the plot/character development goes much deeper than any He-Man incarnation before and so I really think this is the show to watch! –Henry Finn
Moon Knight – “Summon the Suit” (S1E2, Disney+)
Moon Knight’s second episode, “Summon the Suit” is a generally entertaining romp that seems to confirm any outlook you’d have coming out of the first episode, any frustrations you have will be grated further, any ideas you enjoyed are sure to have been emphasized. The main thing it made clear to me though, is that singular shots and moments are absolutely the show’s main priority, far above the actual scenes that facilitate those snippets. There’s just so little substance spread thin across the 50 minutes of this episode.
For example, the opening trudges through the last few minutes of the first episode in service of a couple nice moments, like Steven handing over his name tag, or the human statue getting constant ‘reaction shots’ through his scene. Even as Layla arrives, her extended showdown with Steven feels like it could all be solved with one concise explanation, but is instead dragged unresolved across the next 30 minutes of the episode. There’s just so much to trudge through, but then you have these amazing, quiet moments like Khonshu stalking through Harrow’s neighborhood tour, or the flip as Steven becomes the man in the (broken) mirror. It almost feels like a series written entirely through storyboards, except the only other example of that is Fury Road and Fury Road is way cooler than this.
That said, the one section of visual design which did feel sort of aimless was the action choreography. So much of it has been skirted around consistently, and it’s starting to feel like that’s because they just don’t have a compelling angle in mind for it. I’m hoping I’m wrong about that, and there were glimmers of something fun in the end when he skewers the Jackal, but for now it feels incohesive. For example, in Declan Shalvey’s “Moon Knight” #5, when we first see Mr. Knight rolls up his sleeves, it’s something climactic, and a thoughtful shift in character design. He’s finding a way to express some brutal exhaustion and indicating the direction of the action at the same time. There’s none of that build-up in the comparative moment here, instead Oscar Isaac’s just sort of doing an impression. It’d be fine if the writers found a way to make that comedy compelling, but as it stands it just feels like imitation without thought.
In my review for the premiere I did mention that Isaac’s Steven Grant suffered a little because he didn’t have a strong enough foil. It turns out that foil is actually also Oscar Isaac. Marc Spector is the most compelling addition to Steven’s growing circle of Egyptologist sociopaths inserting themselves into his life, and the only one who doesn’t feel like they’ve come from the generic Marvel origin formula. Plus, Isaac is absolutely charming as Steven. He has a lot more humor to play with this episode and the actor constantly knows how to use it. The reason it manages to avoid some of the Joss Whedon-ish pitfalls that other MCU properties so often fall into, is the amount of deadpan and quieter punchlines he’s allowed to deliver. Every joke doesn’t have to fill the room or slow anything down, it’s just a great bit of consistent levity. I like as well that technically Steven has access to the NHS but Marc doesn’t, so which personality is really the one with superpowers?Continued below
I think this episode does manage to slot better into the Egyptian myth niche, generic evil purple energy aside. Having Arthur Harrow be a past Avatar of Khonshu is a really interesting choice and one of the great parts about playing towards mythology rather than psychology, it gives you a whole lineage to play with. It’s the first part of a compelling motivation we’ve had for his character, he’s arguing against Street level heroes who just beat up endemic parts of a wider problem, but applied to a mythic level. Khonshu doesn’t help his case either, trapping Marc in the worst pyramid scheme (I will not apologize for that joke) you can imagine, all while looking like the most frustrating Dark Souls boss you could go up against.
Next week we’ll see what the delightful Marc and Steven get up to on their Cairo vacation. – James Dowling
Riverdale – “The Town” (S6E8, The CW)
Read our full review by Elias Rosner.
Star Trek: Picard – “Two of One” (S2E6, Paramount+)
Jurati is forced to summon the Borg Queen’s strength to get the others into the Europa Mission gala, leaving her susceptible to her influence. (It also turns out Jurati let herself get infected by the Queen’s nanites to ensure they would have a way back home.) As her behavior goes awry, Picard is forced to intervene and stop his ancestor Renee from resigning the mission himself. Adam Soong, who’s one of the mission’s donors, begins warning security about him, and the Queen decides to help by causing a blackout.
Jurati continues the distraction by taking to the stage and singing Pat Benatar’s “Shadows of the Night,” a really surreal moment like all musical movies, but it gets dark really quickly, as the endorphin rush allows the Queen to take full control of her. Contrastively, Jean-Luc finds Renee looking for an exit, and gives her some moving advice about how “sometimes, those who shine the brightest feel the sting of fear and melancholy in ways that others can never understand,” and (to borrow from another long-running sci-fi series) how fear can be a superpower. God, I’m really going to miss Patrick Stewart when he retires from the role.
Jean-Luc escorts his ancestor back to the party, only to be hit by Soong (who was aiming for Renee)’s car. Renee is taken to quarantine, while Rios has Picard taken to Teresa’s clinic, where she becomes suspicious after the defibrillator gets fried after stabilizing his heart. He remains unconscious, and Tallinn’s scans show the others he’s become lost in his traumatic memories of his mother; she proposes jury-rigging a Vulcan mind meld to get him out. Jurati is absent, the Borg Queen having taken over, and now loose on the streets of L.A.
Back at the Soong residence, Kore becomes concerned by her father’s stressed out behavior, and sneaks into his lab to use his computer. She discovers his criminal past, and more importantly, that she is the latest in a series of unstable clones; he had had enough of seeing her repeatedly die, and had vowed to ensure she would survive, by any means necessary. – Christopher Chiu-Tabet
The Walking Dead – “Trust” (S11E15, AMC)
Read our full review by Christopher Cole.