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 – “Wilderness Warriors” (S1E8, Paramount+)
Check back for the season one finale on Wednesday by the Salvatores.
The Flash – “Death Rises” (S8E12, The CW)
We might have the baddest villain in quite some time, this episode is a race to find Deathstorm before he kills any more people, because in this episode alone it kills at least 20 people.
Team Flash tries to find him with the technology they used for the flame but it doesn’t work anymore; given that the villain eats the grief of mourning people, and grief is an emotion, they try to use Cecile’s powers, but Deathstorm takes over her body temporarily only to mock out heroes.
This episode made me think about the new structure of the show since showrunner Eric Wallace took over, the story arcs work great as jumping on points and takes the hard work of coming up with season-long ideas away. But, in this case, Deathstorm is a great villain, he is on a Death spree like we haven’t seen in years, and by all indications, this story will end next week, just like that, they will get rid of their biggest threat in just an episode. It’ weird.
And then, you think about the one story that is taking the whole season to resolve, the problem with Iris’ time sickness is dragging, seriously, I haven’t talked much about this subplot, but it’s really slow and I don’t get why Candice Patton had to be separated from the rest of the cast, trapped in a single room, working only with Grant and Natalie Dreyfuss. Is it because of Covid? Is she on detention or what?
Well, the team has a plan to defeat Deathstorm and we’ll see if it works next week, then we will have the resolution of the Time Sickness plot. – Ramon Piña
Heartstopper – “Kiss” (S1E3, Netflix)
Feeling out-of-place with his inner circle over his sexuality, Nick invites Charlie to his rugby teammate Harry Green (Cormac Hyde-Corrin)’s 16th birthday party. Charlie informs his friends over text he’ll be going there instead of movie night (much to Tao’s disappointment, who laments to Elle too much is changing.) The texting scene is an interesting example of Alice Oseman doing something difficult in the comics medium by the way: the camera lets the text constantly change, without pages being wasted on repeating the characters’ faces.
Charlie becomes uncomfortable at Harry’s big bash, and tries to leave after seeing Nick talk to his childhood sweetheart Tara (unaware she’s informing him she’s a lesbian.) When Harry asks Nick if he only invited Charlie because he feels sorry for him, Nick responds that was homophobic, and goes to find Charlie. He sees Tara kissing her girlfriend on the dance floor, inspiring him to be similarly confident, and once he finds Charlie, he asks him if he wants to go somewhere private.
In an empty room, Charlie asks Nick about Tara, causing him to gradually confess he’s not straight. Eventually, Charlie asks Nick if he would kiss him, and he replies by doing just that. Afterwards, Nick feels flustered and leaves, and bumps into Harry and his mates, who quietly threaten him into apologizing. Charlie, feeling like he pressured his crush, calls his dad to pick him up. The morning after, Charlie notices no notifications on his phone, and assumes he ruined it: he’s then greeted by Nick at his front door, his shirt soaked from the rain Four Weddings and a Funeral style.
Song of the episode: “Clearest Blue” by CHVRCHES. – Christopher Chiu-Tabet
Heartstopper – “Secret” (S1E4, Netflix)
Nick explains he didn’t leave Charlie because he felt he had to kiss him, but because he’s having a “proper, full-on gay crisis,” and would rather keep their feelings for each other quiet for now. (Despite the parallels with Ben, Charlie assures Nick he’s nothing like him.) Afterwards, the two concentrate on the upcoming rugby match with the specialist sports school St. John’s, with Charlie keen to prove he’s not the stereotype of a gay person who’s bad at sports.Continued below
Meanwhile, Tao grows increasingly bitter about Charlie, and behaves like a dick towards Nick when he tries to make nice with him after his friends throw a rugby ball at him; however, he still goes to the match to support him with Elle, Tara, Darcy, and the introverted Isaac (Tobie Donovan). Imogen (Rhea Norwood), Nick’s friend who has a crush on him, also makes sure Tara doesn’t have feelings for him, leading to the chucklesome sight of her claiming she’s a straight ally after learning he’s single.
Charlie winds up getting injured, and Nick is only able to check on him privately in the medical room. Isaac walks in on them while handing them some antiseptic wipes, but Charlie assures Nick he won’t say anything. After he leaves, Nick is greeted by Imogen, who asks him out on a date. Surrounded by his teammates, Nick reluctantly agrees. Tao and Elle look on, wondering if they should tell Charlie.
PS. Why is the only Asian guy on the show such a pretentious cinephile? Sigh.
Song of the episode: “Heart” by Flor. – Christopher Chiu-Tabet
He-Man and the Masters of the Universe – “The Battle of Axion” (S2E7, NETFLIX)
“The Battle of Axion” finally gets real and what feels like an overly long buildup of side-quests is finally tying the disparate threads together. He-Man and Skelator start off the episode with an epic hand-to-hand battle on top of a glider. As it swings around and pulls out we see Kronis and Duncan duking it out in the foreground and you realize this is a perfect Smash Bros level. The videogame influences have really been shining the whole series and with this episode they blend the cinematic angles with the more fixed videogame wide angles together nicely. The penultimate episode is really quite action-packed with a multitude of duo battles and Fortnite dance poses.
Actually it goes on for quite a while and they even have moments that pay off exactly like Smash Bros. For instance He-Man does a slow motion back-flip kick to send Kronis flying like a cannonball far off the map, he disappears in a trail of smoke. Then he comes back with an impossible double jump where he barely grabs onto the ledge and lives to see another day.
Man that’s a big honkin’ sword. When He-Man comes in with the WWE super smash jump with that sword perfectly posed for utter destruction and it’s pretty satisfying. The young prince gives Skelator such an incredible slam that he fries him instantly into a crisp. There’s nothing left of Skelator save for a piece of toasted skull. Obviously there’s something wrong with winning that easily and we quickly learn he’s taken over Ram Ma’am. – Henry Finn
Moon Knight – “Asylum” (S1E5, Disney+)
I went into “Asylum” more excited than I did any other episode, miraculously that excitement did not dip at all throughout. This was just a step above the rest of the series, embracing its surreal elements for the perfect level of influence they give over emotional moments, making the entire episode stronger because of it. Outside of the incredible Marc/Steven character work we’ll get into, the episode was simply just a better piece of watchable television; after five episodes Ethan Hawke finally got to portray a well written and unique villain as a cat-and-mouse psychologist. The color palette was also a huge highlight, contrasting the stark grays and whites of the asylum with the rich purples, golds and reds of imperial Egypt.
It really blows my mind that the best episode of the series comes from arguably the weakest point in Lemire and Smallwood’s “Moon Knight” run, a series that has inarguably become the biggest influence on the show. This dive into Marc’s past definitely helped broaden the character in ways that were sorely missing before, with its own unique perspective compared to the comics. For one, Marc’s dad is a lot more pleasant than his comic counterpart (and maintains his Jewish heritage), with Marc’s mother now being the main antagonistic force in his childhood. It’s a weird choice, but isn’t necessarily a problem. By steering culpability away from Marc’s father, we aren’t stuck purely with abusive patriarchs (Khonshu being the other,) and it gives Marc and Harrow a shared angle, both being elder brothers spurned by a parent.Continued below
It was also great seeing Randall Spector take such a central role in the story. I mentioned him a little before, but he could absolutely be a major character going forward. Generally speaking I’ve had a bit of a grudge against villains who are just photonegative versions of their hero, but for a character already so immersed in identity crises and philosophy of the mind it could be really compelling to see Marc’s dark mirror when his sense of self is already so fractured. This also took a really firm stance on when Marc’s DID developed, with it stemming all the way back to childhood coping, rather than being a product of Khonshu’s influence or any more mystical origin (it’s also pretty ingenious to have Steven’s accent be a TV impersonation, it means he can screw it up as much as he wants and it’s still part of the character). That said, as illuminating as it all was, so many of these family scenes would have been so corny and droll if the contemporary Marc and Steven weren’t running rampant through the background.
It goes without saying that this episode is heavy on the emotion, starting off with questions like “Why is there a child in the room of people you’ve killed?” and continuing onto fun topics like child abuse and how to honor the legacy of an abuser who never received the medical help she needed. Plus there was a pretty funny Ned Flanders joke in there. This was the episode that really shifted the treatment of the character from quirky little Freaky Friday antics to a man genuinely suffering under DID and the years of guilt and self-disgust that prompted his disassociation. It turned his condition from a character trait to a character cornerstone, which it really had to be. It’s such a testament to the strength of this episode that watching Marc struggle to just pick up the phone and talk to his mom carries more weight than any other scene in the last four episodes.
There’s also a great presentation and structure laced through “Asylum.” The session between Marc and ‘Doctor’ Harrow presents a great meta-narrative element, where building blocks of the episode can be dissected from afar during the events of the story to contextualize and question them, making the usually symbiotic nature of therapy a competitive one. It’s this very surreal presentation that makes the near-cliché idea of venturing through the afterlife a far more engaging one, especially as it confirms the idea that every afterlife in the MCU is a product of the individual’s belief. It also feels very telling that Marc and Steven are treated as separate (but single entwined) beings after death, you could read it as coarse from a mental health perspective, but it explains why Amit failed to judge them, and carries some nuance in the greater scheme of the episode. This is most focal in the explicit duality between the two, where Steven is the artificial but happy self, while Marc is real but tortured. Neither gets the privilege of a full and happy life.
It’s weird to wonder where the finale will go from here, because this is a largely satisfying emotional resolution for the character. If we conclude with Arthur Harrow shooting a pink laser into the sky while Marc fights a giant crocodile, it could almost feel like this gem was a waste. –James Dowling
Naomi – “Fallout” (S1E10, The CW)
After a hiatus, Naomi returns, wasting no time in reminding us of the drama that is befalling Port Oswego and the McDuffie family. This episode doesn’t break too much ground, aside from clearly aligning the alien factions on the show, and giving a clear path to the finale. Akira and Zumbado have reconciled, with the mission of not only protecting Naomi, but also her friends and family. The face turn for Zumbado still feels a little off, due to the knowledge of his role in the comics series (which I promise I will eventually stop referencing), but also due to his very steely, monotone reaction to everything. While Dee is not exactly a ball of emotions, his intentions seem less guarded than Zumbado’s, and so he is easier to believe.Continued below
This episode digs a little deeper into Naomi’s social life too, including revisiting the pilot episode’s Naomi/Lourdes flirtation/attraction. Naomi ditches school and hits up a (drugless?) factory rave with Lourdes, who clearly thinks that she’s on a date, whereas Naomi isn’t feeling it. Without revealing to Lourdes her alien nature, Naomi does seem a little bit like a mooch/user in this situation, taking advantage of Lourdes’s open schedule, place of business, and vehicle to achieve what she wants. That said, Lourdes throws a fit when Naomi doesn’t want to make out that borders on problematic. She feels used when Naomi restates her relationship status, which is totally natural, but she is threading the needle with rationale like “I did all this stuff for you thinking you were into me,” which isn’t cool. But again, if Naomi had told her what was going on, the entire situation would feel different.
“Fallout” also spends some time with the McDuffies who, somehow, are puzzled that their daughter would be so upset about finding out her parents are actually aliens. A possible truce with Zumbado makes the McDuffies’ story a little more interesting, but this is pretty boilerplate ‘what can we do to get our daughter to forgive us?’ CW-fare. In fact, this entire episode is, perhaps, most similar to the other shows on this network. Teen romantic love triangles, parental lies, hot people fighting – is this Riverdale? No, wait, that review is right below this one. – Brian Salvatore
Riverdale – “Chapter 106: Angels in America” (S6E11, The CW)
Read our full review by Elias Rosner.
Star Trek: Picard – “Hide and Seek” (S2E9, Paramount+)
The Borg Queen and her assimilated mercenaries board La Sirena, but Jurati planned for this, already locking her out of the ship’s biometrics, and created an Emergency Combat Hologram of Elnor to fight off her goons. Adam Soong demands Picard and the rest of the gang surrender at the chateau, but Jean-Luc – remembering the games of hide and seek he’d play with his mother there – decides to take his chances, and flees to the tunnels with Tallinn. Soong and two of his thugs manage to catch up to them in the conservatory by dawn, but Rios intervenes and saves them, forcing Soong to flee.
Seven and Raffi sneak onto the ship and manage to transport the Borg thugs into a wall, but are unable to place the Queen herself in the brig, and Seven winds up being fatally stabbed. However, Jurati stops the Queen from finishing her off, and proposes an alliance: she uses the Queen’s inability to kill those she loves, and the inevitable demise of the Borg across all timelines, as proof love and kindness is more powerful than fear, and that the Borg will become stronger if they only assimilate those who consent. Somewhat convinced, the Queen uses her nanites to heal Seven instead.
Meanwhile, Picard confesses to Tallinn what really happened to his mother: his father locked her in her bedroom to protect her after another spell of melancholy, but Jean-Luc, wanting to comfort his mother, used a skeleton key to unlock the door and enter. While he slept, she left and hanged herself in the conservatory, dying. I admit, I have some misgivings about such a huge retcon to Jean-Luc’s past, but at least we know now why he had difficulty opening up to a potential partner; and I suppose it reflects how anyone you know, even one who is as wise and kind and “well-adjusted” as Admiral Picard, may be living with a terrible grief.
The Queen departs to build a better collective in La Sirena, and informs Seven that for the Europa Mission to succeed, there must be two Renee Picards: one who lives, and one who dies. Well, that’s good to know, but certainly cryptic. In any case, that leaves the crew with one less member, but also one less foe (Soong) to stop. – Christopher Chiu-Tabet
Superman & Lois – “Bizarros in a Bizarro World” (S2E10, The CW)
Read our full review by august (in the wake of) dawn.
Samurai Rabbit: The Usagi Chronicles – “The Big City” (S1E1, NETFLIX)
Catch our full review of the series premiere tomorrow by Elias Rosner.