Welcome back to 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!
And since the summer is here, check out our 2022 Summer TV binges, where Multiversity staffers reach back in time to review comics/comics-adjacent/nerdy shows all summer long. (Here’s a handy list of what’s being covered too.)
Dead End: Paranormal Park – “Norma Kahn: Paranormal Investigator” (S1E7, NETFLIX)
When there’s something strange. In your theme park. Who you gonna call? Norma & Badiyah!
That’s right folks. The power couple of the show takes center stage to solve the mystery of just what the hifl happened to Jessica to get her trapped in the in-between. On the B-plot side, or is it just kinda A-plot adjacent?, Barney is having lunch with his family at a cowboy themed restaurant. But not just any cowboy themed restaurant; this one has the servers and everyone acting out skits the whole time. So much fun to be had with that and the show milks it for all it’s worth.
I like the choice to have these two plots occur next to each other in the episode. It lets the heaviness of Barney’s lunch with his parents not become too overwhelming and it balances out the zanier bits of Norma’s hunt for Jessica and the other missing Polly impersonators. And boy oh boy did it get zany. There’s an entire hall. That is dedicated. To Polly’s ex-husbands ala the Hall of Presidents. Wild.
Back to Barney’s conversation with his parents, it’s painful but in a good way. Barney’s struggles to convey to his parents, his father in particular, why simple toleration is not enough to make him feel like his family is his family. Actually, Barney is struggling to understand why his parents are struggling so hard with this concept. He explains himself very well, even as the stand-in for embracing and supporting him as he is – ordering nachos – completely unravels.
It’s a funny gag with a serious core and that, I would argue, is Dead End’s great strength. You see it throughout the episode, like in Norma’s inability to believe that Polly could be the villain, going full red-string brigade only to come to the exact opposite conclusion. There are moments of pure levity – Barney blurting out Pugsly can talk, every time a cowboy scene plays – and moments of pure drama but when two are mixed, the episode shines.
“Norma Kahn: Paranormal Investigator” feels like the start of the finale, which worries me because we’re still three episodes from the end. Is the pacing going to radically change? I don’t know and I’m not sure and I like that. Bring on the weird! – Elias Rosner
Harley Quinn – “Harlivy” (S3E1, HBO Max)
Read our full review of the season 3 premiere by Carl Waldron.
Harley Quinn – “There’s no Ivy in Team” (S3E2, HBO Max)
Ivy takes her shot as leader of the misfit gang and fails miserably. What do you expect from a lady who talks to plants? We also get an introduction to sad boy Dick Grayson a.k.a Nightwing. He resembles sad boy Bruce Wayne from The Batman, a petulant son to his surrogate father. Somehow the Riddler captures both the Bat Family and the Harley Quinn gang, all to teach Ivy to be a leader and Nightwing to be less of a knob.
Like sitcoms of old, everything is settled in 22 minutes, Ivy learns to lead, and Nightwing becomes a team player. The character growth feels a bit forced, considering the limited time frame. I have never seen a petulant child turn into a team player overnight. I’ve had to yell at nephews for years before they cut that nonsense out. I doubt a sad boy with martial arts training would flip so quickly. The remaining crew has little to do but stand around while Ivy and Dick return the status quo. It’s a fun episode with little reason to exist other than to level up Frank The Plant into a Super Saiyan. – Carl WaldronContinued below
Harley Quinn – “The 83rd Annual Villy Awards” (S3E3, HBO Max)
Gotham is genuinely a broken hellhole. The super villains that terrorize the planet have their award show. Who better to host than Mr. J himself? Accompanied by a terrible opening number to boot. Harley and Ivy are up for “Best Couple” and run into Kite Man and his new boo, Golden Glider. Bane faces an existential crisis and seems to be on his way to joining Harley’s gang. The man needs direction. Also, Catwoman is nailing Batman now. Not Bruce, Batman. A lot of great cameos by popular villains, Billy Bob Thorton and Blood Thirsty King Shark. Also, who knew the Riddler and Clock King were an item?
Another entry into the “villains are celebrities” chapter of Harley Quin. Based on the last two episodes, this season seems hell-bent on teaching Ivy to be a human. First, she had to learn to lead, now, she’s being taught how to be a supportive partner. Again, the woman only talks to plants, so this makes sense. The episode’s fun is the Villy’s and the participants of the award show. Kite Man delivers oddly sage advice and an on-brand “Hell yea.” Also, Catwoman taking the award show to task for giving her an award because she was Black was pretty funny. How do you make a room full of villains squirm? Call them racist. – Carl Waldron
Paper Girls – “Growing Pains” (S1E1, Prime Video)
Stay tuned for our full review of the series premiere on Tuesday by Reid Carter.
Riverdale – “Chapter 116: The Stand” (S6E21, The CW)
Read our full review by Elias Rosner.
The Umbrella Academy– “Marigold” (S3E6, Netflix)
Now, this is the episode we’ve been waiting for where all the storylines are being moved. Five finds Pogo in this new timeline, and now he’s not only in a biker gang, but he’s also a tattoo artist. It’s shown that he was once a part of the Sparrow Academy but Reginald Hargreeves kicked him out after pushing the kids too far in training. It turns out that in this timeline, Reginald is more paranoid, and instead of relying solely on science, he has these thoughts about an event called “Project Oblivion.” Pogo didn’t know much else other than it was like a suicide mission for the kids, which is why he had given them medicine to keep him sedated before his dismissal. The only thing is that Klaus taught him to sneak the pills and made him “sober.”
The big piece of this episode was the power transfer training with Harlan and Viktor. It felt very Dragon Ball influenced where Viktor was struggling initially and even on the verge of seriously hurting himself, but they kept going. Allison was stuck on the sidelines watching her brother get hurt because she made a deal to let Viktor try to subdue Harlan until the end of the day. After a couple of tries, and Viktor opening up his “marigold” to the sound vibrations, it works, and Harlan is power-free. The twist of it all is that once Allison finds out that Harlan was the one who killed their mothers in this timeline and part of what caused the kugelblitz, AKA end of the world, and kills him in a fit of rage. – Alexander Manzo