tv review

League Podcast Comic Book Picks of The Week for Wed. December 13, 2017

 

COMICS

To celebrate our interview with Rob Liefeld for Image Comics on AMC this week over at Forces of Geek, our first pick is Youngblood #7 - Liefeld Cover! … It’s Clobberin’ time over at Marvel Legacy with The Thing and The Human Torch bringing back one of the House of Ideas’ classic titles, Marvel Two-In-One #1 written by Chip Zdarsky. … The Valderrama Bros. debut in America with Giants #1 from Dark Horse. Find out what happens when a race of gigantic monsters drives humanity underground! … Picks this week from LeaguePodcast.com.

Hungry? Trycaviar.com - Order Now!

 

FOG! Chats With Rob Liefeld About Tonight’s ‘Image Comics: Declaration of Independents’!

 

FOG! Chats With Rob Liefeld About Tonight’s ‘Image Comics: Declaration of Independents’!

The Walking Dead creator Robert Kirkman’s documentary series Robert Kirkman’s Secret History of Comicsconcludes on AMC with Image Comics: Declaration of Independents, shedding light on the dawn of Kirkman’s current house of ideas, American comic publisher Image Comics. Founded in 1992, The creator-owned vision of the company founded by industry rock stars Todd McFarlane, Jim Lee, Whilce Portacio, Marc Silvestri, Erik Larsen, Jim Valentino and Rob Liefeld changed the way the business of comics works. Affectionately known as “The Image Revolution”, this industry coup skyrocketed Image books to the top of the stack and the Image founders a place at the table with The Big Two.

We’re honored to talk to Image Comics founder Rob Liefeld about what you can expect to see on AMC tonight.

Liefeld’s comic creations are well known but Rob holds the distinction of having the first comic published by the twenty-five year old independent comics publisher, Youngblood #1.

*    *    *    *   *

FOG!: Thanks for joining us, Rob. How are you enjoying the series so far?

Rob Liefeld: It has shown greater detail than people have come to expect from these kinds of shows so it’s so nice, it’s really, really nice.

[READ MORE AT FORCES OF GEEK]

Hungry? Trycaviar.com - Order Now!

 

‘Batman and Harley Quinn’ (review) at Forces of Geek

 

In a world without Mr. J, Harley Quinn has teamed up with Batman and Nightwing in the latest animated DC movie. Confirmed by writer and producer Bruce Timm as part of the DC Animated Universe aka Timmverse,Batman and Harley Quinn is the first PG-13 installment in the universe.

Cussin’, fartin’, raunchy boudoir humor and a bizarre Batusi musical segment complete with a 70s rarity “Don’t Pull Your Love” followed by Harley Quinn blasting out Blondie’s “Hanging on the Telephone” puts a little spike in the punch of your typical Batman: The Animated Series adventure. Batman & Harley face off against Poison Ivy and Jason Woodrue a.k.a. The Floronic Man. Batman Kevin Conroy and Nightwing Loren Lester reprise their roles from the original series with Melissa Rauch voicing Harley. Even Mr. Timm gets in an off-camera cameo as Booster Gold!

Those familiar with recent New 52 lore will recognize the force of The Green as the supernatural swamp energy running the world. Poison Ivy and Plant Master are going all in to combat the destruction of the Earth and The Green by putting a plan in to place that will turn all living creatures into plants. An Inconvenient Truthindeed! In order to sway Pam from making this green-thumbed gaffe, Nightwing and Batman track down Harley who has gone off the grid for a bit. Not only that, but also in line with current DC continuity, she has gone straight. I mean, Joker’s dead, right?

[READ MORE AT FORCES OF GEEK]

 

Hungry? Trycaviar.com - Order Now!

 

FOG! Takes a Look at CON MAN starring Alan Tudyk and Nathan Fillion! at FORCES OF GEEK

 

This weekend at New York Comic Con, Alan Tudyk (Firefly) appeared with geek celebrities Felicia Day, Seth Green and Nathan Fillion to promote the new Con Man webseries at Vimeo.

Tudyk stars in the 10-minute episodes as Wray Nerely, a sci-fi actor who has entered the world of celebrity convention guest after his lauded but cancelled Spectrum series was taken off of the air.

Near to Tudyk’s heart is the story of the inner workings of fandom and conventions, and the thirteen episodes of theIndiegogo-funded series are being released on Wednesdays.


Read my review of Con Man after the jump.

‘I will see you in hell!” — that’s actor Wray Nerely’s character, pilot Cash Wayne’s catch phrase.

[READ MORE AT FORCES OF GEEK]

JUSTICE LEAGUE: GODS AND MONSTERS (review) at FORCES OF GEEK

 

Doomed planet. 

Desperate scientists. 

Last hope. 

Kindly couple. 

Superman.

— Grant Morrison, All-Star Superman



Grant Morrison is most certainly capable of distilling Superman down into a few words, especially when introducing what has since become considered one of the greatest stories of all time of the iconic character.

Another master of the DC Universe  is Bruce Timm, the mastermind behind Batman: The Animated Series, Superman: The Animated Series, Justice League and Batman Beyond (to name a few).

Timm is back in with his latest project,  an alternate reality version of Justice League with Justice League: Gods and Monsters, which debuted on Machinima last month with three shorts and has been released this week as a feature length animated movie.

These new interpretations include Superman / Hernan Guerra (Benjamin Bratt, 24, Modern Family), the spawn of General Zod and Lara Lor Van’s DNA (in vitro, you pervs) raised by a Mexican farming family.

Batman is the creature of the night we know in our world as Man-Bat, Kurt Langstrom (Michael C. Hall, Dexter).

Rounding out the un-holy trinity is Bekka, granddaughter of Highfather from New Genesis aka Wonder Woman (Tamara Taylor, Bones, Lost).

With a reimagined DC Universe including dozens of Easter Eggs and a President Amanda Waller calling the shots, Alan Burnett (Batman: Mask of the Phantasm, Batman Beyond) and Timm’s PG-13 alternate reality gets a little racier thanThe Animated Series ever could. A member of the new guard for DCAU Sam Liu (Batman: Year One, All-Star Superman) directs.

 

[READ MORE AT FORCES OF GEEK]

 


Get Batman comics, graphic novels, toys & more at TFAW.com!

Timey-Wimey Tees at TeeFury.com

Nintendo Retro t-shirts

MARVEL'S AGENT CARTER S1E8 "Valediction" (SEASON FINALE review) at FORCES OF GEEK

We begin the final episode of Marvel’s Agent Carter in the radio studio recapping the fall of Captain America over the Sea of Japan.

This radio drama serves as a reminder that this episode is the final chapter, echoing the end of Captain America: The First Avenger.

While this series can lean on being infuriatingly chauvinistic and over the top at points — for and toward great dramatic effect — this time it is accurate.

 

Great Job, Stacey! XO

 

[READ MORE AT FORCES OF GEEK]


Fandango Now Tickets for AMC Theatres!   Big Hero 6 Save 10-50% on Thor Comics, Apparel, and More!
Entertainment Earth

Cosmic Treadmill: LEGO JUSTICE LEAGUE VS. BIZARRO JUSTICE LEAGUE (review) AT FORCES OF GEEK

 

 

What is this, Bizarro World?” clearly is one of my favorite The Simpsons quotes from Comic Book Guy from the running tape in my brain because something is usually going against my will or better judgement in my surroundings.

To which I might now answer, “NO, this isn’t Bizarro World, its better - LEGO Bizarro world!

Yes, I’ll admit me am hungry for more LEGO movie action since last year’s blockbuster so when I got my hands on this sweet LEGO Justice League vs. Bizarro Justice League set, complete with Batzarro minifig, my hunger was sated … for now!

The Two-Disc set includes the typical DCU talking head making of documentary but also another adventure with our Super Friends at the brick Hall of Justice in DC Comics Super Heroes: Batman: Be-leaguered.

It may be no surprise to anyone that I really enjoyed this one!

Especially with two episodes thrown in and the mini-fig, this is a great deal.

Specifically with the packaging, the Blu-Ray + DVD + Ultraviolet copy makes it easy to share but also looks great on my big screen TV (a recent purchase and I always prefer a physical disc for HD media).

Batman is voiced by Troy Baker this go-around (LEGO Batman 3, Arkham franchise as various) but carries on a bit of that swagger and darkness that Will Arnett flavored The LEGO Movie with “More Darkness!”.

[READ MORE AT FORCES OF GEEK]

 

 


Fandango Now Tickets for AMC Theatres!   Big Hero 6 Save 10-50% on Thor Comics, Apparel, and More!
Entertainment Earth

MARVEL'S AGENT CARTER S1E6 “A SIN TO ERR” (review) AT FORCES OF GEEK

Stacey’s reviews continue.

 

In the sixth episode of Agent Carter we find out more about the formation of group known as Leviathan as Peggy (Hayley Atwell) interviews a Dr. Ivchenko (Ralph Brown) at the S.S.R. office. She drills Ivchenko about why they may choose to train young girls to be deadly weapons instead of the typically chosen young men.

While she finds these reasons very relatable, she has more suspicions about who killed Agent Krzeminski and believes there is a connection.



She brings her theory to Chief Dooley (Shea Whigham) and much to her surprise, he gives her the go-ahead to follow her hunch that the killer may have been a trained female killer from Leviathan with a vendetta against Howard Stark for being a notorious womanizer.

We start this episode with Agent Carter hot on the trail of our Golden Age Black Widow, Dottie (Bridget Regan)!

 

[READ MORE AT FORCES OF GEEK]


Fandango Now Tickets for AMC Theatres!   Big Hero 6 Save 10-50% on Thor Comics, Apparel, and More!
Entertainment Earth

MARVEL'S AGENT CARTER S1E5 “The Iron Ceiling” (review) AT FORCES OF GEEK

 


From the cold open to a young Dottie in ‘Russia, 1937’ to an appearance from Dum-Dum Dugan (Neal McDonough) and his The Howling Commandos, Marvel’s latest Agent Carter is something Jack Kirby himself would be proud of.


Ramping up the action, our strong leading lady Peggy Carter (Hayley Atwell) is entrusted with her first mission — but will our cover girl have her cover blown by the arrogant (and over-the-top sexist) Agent Jack Thompson (Chad Michael Murray) or Agent Souza (Enver Gjokaj)?

In Russia — spoiler warning — they have a Black Widow training program, and the origin of Dottie’s (Bridget Regan) exploits in the last episode. Does it surprise anyone that the Russians used a clip of Walt Disney’s Snow White promising to ‘keep house for you’ to teach the kids English in this all-girl Russian Fight Club? Here we see a younger version of the immersion seen in Showtime’s The Americans flashback sequence!

 

[READ MORE AT FORCES OF GEEK]

A Stacey/Clay review! XO

 


Fandango Now Tickets for AMC Theatres!   Big Hero 6 Save 10-50% on Thor Comics, Apparel, and More!
Entertainment Earth

MARVEL'S AGENT CARTER S1E4 “The Blitzkrieg Button” (review) AT FORCES OF GEEK

 

Peggy Carter (Hayley Atwell) remains by his side and on the case. This episode gets a little deeper into the mystery behind the stolen Stark weaponry.

Peggy continues to struggle maintaining her cover as a double agent, all the while carrying out mundane tasks of taking the office lunch orders and still being treated as a secretary in the office.

Agent Carter assists Jarvis (James D’Arcy) by ambushing a warehouse deal with mysterious bad guy Mr. Mink’s lackeys. Peggy reluctantly offers Howard her room as a temporary hideout while she retrieves a particular weapon from the S.S.R. lab at his request.



Chief Dooley (Shea Whigham) is off to Germany to follow up on leads tying Nazis into the Stark weapon case, and questions a Nazi on death row. We may be getting a subtle Boardwalk Empire nod here, the Ratzi’s Colonel’s last name is Mueller — the same as Michael Shannon’s false name on the period drama!



Dooley finds out that the battle in Russia he was researching had already occurred by the time the Nazis had arrived, and that everyone was already dead. He learns later that Howard Stark’s name is on a flight manifest a couple of days after the battle had taken place, deepening the conspiracy even more.

Carter’s desk mate Agent Sousa (Enver Gjokaj) heads down to the docks in the hopes of getting some clues on who called in the stockpile of Stark’s weapons at the end of the last episode. Sousa encounters a couple of vagrants playing a nickel bet card game and suspects that one of them must have seen something.

 

[READ MORE AT FORCES OF GEEK]

Stacey Rizoli is an artist, gamer, comic book fan and feminist living in Boston, MA. Her homegrown Red Queen Crafts produces paintings, signs and hand-made custom flower accessories. She hates the cold weather but keeps warm by staying in and playing video games.  Follow her @redqueencrafts


Fandango Now Tickets for AMC Theatres!   Big Hero 6 Save 10-50% on Thor Comics, Apparel, and More!
Entertainment Earth

AGENT CARTER reviews S1 E01, S1 E02, S1 E03 - [GUEST POST] STACEY B. RIZOLI at FORCES OF GEEK

 

Congrats, Stacey! These are great!

 

As a long time comic lover, and female, I am very pleased to see that Agent Carter has found a home on ABC.

This show is the perfect balance of action, wit, explosions, social commentary, and touch of humor.   

Personally, I think Agent Carter was an unexpected choice of characters to carry a series from Marvel, with all of The Avengers movies I would have bet money that a Black Widow and/or Hawkeye would have been the next side project (which I would definitely support, for the record)  but I can safety say that this show has far exceeded my expectations.

[READ MORE AT FORCES OF GEEK]


Fandango Now Tickets for AMC Theatres!   Big Hero 6 Save 10-50% on Thor Comics, Apparel, and More!
Entertainment Earth

Triple Shot of Horror and The Flash Digital Chaser: HALLOWEEN ISSUES FOR YOU AND THE KIDS at FORCES OF GEEK

Before you know it, we’ll be knee deep in garden Santas and then Valentine’s Day cards.

That’s how quick American holiday retail reacts. The practically tell you start celebrating next year’s holiday as soon as one is over.

And if those Madison Ave. captains of industry had their way, they would, by gum. 

On this first half of October, why not get into the mood with some Halloween books, some innocent and some spooky!

We check out Chilling Adventures of Sabrina #1 in the new Archie Horror line, then Costume Quest: Invasion of the Candy Snatchers and then again, back to Riverdale for your more traditional World of Archie Comics Digest #43

Vibrating into the end of this very column you’ll also find a nod to the Cosmic Treadmill as The Flash debuts on TV this week, and ComiXology hosts Flash Season 0 #3 for the Digital Chaser, written by show runner Andrew Kreisberg and drawn by fan favorite Phil Hester!


Chilling Adventures of Sabrina #1
WRITER: Roberto Aguirre Sacasa
ARTIST: Robert Hack
Publication Date: October 8, 2014
Price: $3.99
Publisher: Archie Comics
RATING: Teen +
UPC: 76281694824100121
Buy it Here 


Hot off of the heels of this year’s Afterlife with Archie is Roberto Aguirre Sacasa’s Dark Shadows-esque take on Sabrina the Teenage Witch. 

Carefully placing Sabrina (and Salem) as a teenager in the 1960s, once again Archie has stepped up the horror comics game. With familiar characters being dropped into situations we haven’t seen before —Chilling Adventures of Sabrina will sure to be the hit everyone is talking about this month. And what better month than Halloween to get dark and eerie!

We’re given a deep origin to how Sabrina came to live with aunts Hilda and Zelda, and the mystery of her parents. When moving to the new town of Greendale after her powers start to get stronger, Ambrose (her cousin, a male witch) is reintroduced to the family and influences Sabrina to take on more risks, such as glamor spells.

In school, she meets her new best friend and romantic rival, Rosalind. They both have their eye on the accident prone but charming Harvey Kinkle. Could Sabrina be coaxed into using a love potion to get Harvey’s attention? You should read to find out.

 

What I’ve described above doesn’t get at the essence of this chilling adventure. In fact, the plot points are fairly standard Archie fare when recapped like this. What is great about this book is largely the tone set by artist Robert Hack. Like Francavilla before him, he’s cartooning with great action, fantasy and setting the tone with every action. His classic, movie poster style brings the 60s to your mind’s eye in a way rivaled only by weathered paperback covers or fully rendered Bill Sienkiewicz pages. 

The gushing doesn’t end there, folks. A big bad introduced by the end of the issue with make your shiver from the inside out.

We don’t rate comics in this column as a rule, the closest we can come to that is this is a must-read. Go buy it.

Pick up any variant covers you see as well. The Rosemary’s Baby cover is my favorite.

[READ MORE AT FORCES OF GEEK]

Find All-New Marvel Now at TFAW.com! HalloweenCostumes.com SuperHeroStuff - Shop Now! Give your iPhone case some style at Swanky Press Entertainment Earth

Learn how we can increase your sales, develop your brand, and generate interest in your site.

Guardians of the Galaxy Tickets

COSMIC TREADMILL: 'AVENGERS CONFIDENTIAL: BLACK WIDOW & PUNISHER' (REVIEW) at FORCES OF GEEK

Ramping up for the big Cap movie this weekend got us all excited, preened and pumped for some small screen Marvel action, NOW!

The weekend brought us to the store for a DVD copy of Thor: The Dark World and a stranger, peculiar animated relative (second cousin?) Avengers Confidential: Black Widow & Punisher.


Mixing Anime and the Marvel Cinematic Universe (I think) made for a great sequel to the Madhouse produced Marvel Anime series, but underserved as a rally cry for this weekend’s live-action Winter Soldier. The Cosmic Treadmill ran with this on the HUD, and here’s what worked and what didn’t! 

The Punisher, for better or for worse, has always been a favorite Marvel character. I grew up with his War Journals, his Armory, his War Zone and throughout the ‘80s. Artists like Jim Lee Mike Zeck drawing Frank Castle and his family’s murder was my raison d’être! One day, I thought, I’d be rich and sexy enough to buy Amazing Spider-Man #129. I thought wrong!


As for Black Widow, co-star of this movie and The Avengers, I’ve only been interested since Iron Man 2. ScarJo’s stoic yet sexy expressions and her trickery over Loki in The Avengers certainly puts her in the front lines of the squad, but ‘back in my day’ Black Widow was second string. I have more Mockingbird comics in my long boxes than Natasha Romanoff!


Either way, story wise, this is a great pairing. You know what you are going to get with Frank Castle. He’s the opposite of Batman—killer, judge, jury, executioner. Black Widow, a former Russian spy, now S.H.I.E.L.D. spy under the thumb of Director Nick Fury (Cinematic, Samuel L. Jackson version) is one who must answer to military protocol and her higher ups.

[READ MORE AT FORCES OF GEEK]

Find All-New Marvel Now at TFAW.com!

CAITY LOTZ on the Stunning Developments on ‘Arrow’ Tonight! (BIG SPOILERS!) - at 13th Dimension

OK, have you watched ARROW tonight? Holeeeeeee … As promised, here’s CAITY LOTZ with her take on everything that happened!

Yesterday, Lotz spoke to our Clay N. Ferno (I spoke to Stephen Amell last week) about her thoughts ahead of tonight’s “Heir to the Demon.” Now, here’s her take on the aftermath … and Sara’s big smooch with Ollie!

Uh, oh Olicity ‘shippers … Team Sara is in the lead!

Caity Lotz as Canary -- Photo: Cate Cameron/The CW

Caity Lotz as Canary — Photo: Cate Cameron/The CW

Clay N. Ferno: This season, fans have been debating who Ollie should be with: Sara, Laurel or Felicity. Now we see Sara and Ollie in a passionate embrace. What effect will that have on all of these relationships going into the second half of the season. How will Felicity and Laurel take this?

Caity Lotz: There’s some fun stuff planned with Felicity’s character. I think it is a bit of a transition for Felicity to have Sara being in Ollie’s life and Ollie having “this girl.” It changes the dynamic between Oliver and Sara because they finally have someone that really understands what they’ve been through together. But there is still a lot of external things that make that difficult.

With Laurel, it is a little messed up — you can only imagine how difficult that would be to see that happen. And I understand how she would be not so happy about it.

At the same time, for Oliver and Sara, they have been denied so much happiness in their life and have given up so much for everyone else. They’ve never really been able to have love. I think for them to get this kind of chance, both characters really do deserve it. Even with all the drama it might bring.

[READ MORE at 13th DIMENSION]

Find All-New Marvel Now at TFAW.com!

MIGHTY Q&A: Caity Lotz Talks Canary’s Turning Point in Wednesday’s ‘Arrow’ Episode, Heir of the Demon - 13th Dimension

No spoilers, but the actress who plays Sara Lance has a lot to say about her character’s future in anticipation of Wednesday night’s major episode of “Arrow.”

Caity Lotz as Canary in "Heir to the Demon" Photo: Cate Cameron/The CW

Caity Lotz as Canary in “Heir to the Demon” Photo: Cate Cameron/The CW

Last week, we gave you Stephen Amell, this week it’s Caity Lotz, who plays “Arrow’s” version of Black Canary. Tomorrow night’s episode (the last new one for several weeks because of the Olympics) promises a major turning point for the troubled heroine, and Lotz was very candid when talking with our Clay N. Ferno today about Sara’s place in Starling City — and Oliver’s personal life.

But that’s not all! We’ll have a post-mortem with Lotz right after the credits roll on “Heir to the Demon,” so bookmark13thDimension.com and make sure you see what she has to say then. Because you dare not miss it!

Katrina Law as Nyssa al Ghul and Caity Lotz as Canary. Photo: Cate Cameron/The CW

Katrina Law as Nyssa al Ghul and Caity Lotz as Canary. Photo: Cate Cameron/The CW

Clay N. Ferno: There’s a lot of buzz that tomorrow night’s episode will have some major developments for the show. Without giving anything specific away, what can viewers expect?

Caity Lotz: They can expect that Sara’s past is going to come back again. This time it is the real depth of it, the emotional core of her past is coming back. She’s going to have to come to a place where she feels like she has no options. I think it’s really about this big, gray area. It’s not figuring out what to do, and how to handle the situation, there’s a lot of emotions with it.

Another part of the episode, which is really cool, is we get some Lance family flashbacks. We get to see a little bit of the story of what their family was like before all the drama and everything that happened, before all the death. You’ll see the lightness that they had, which is a really cool thing to do, we had fun shooting it. It’s a cool thing to watch on screen.

[READ MORE at 13th DIMENSION.com]

Find All-New Marvel Now at TFAW.com!

EARTH PRIME TIME: BEWARE THE BATMAN

Beware the Batman 2013
The new Batman television show Beware the Batman brings an animated Bruce Wayne and Batman back to the television screen. Historically, the Bruce Timm Batman: The Animated Series has been revered in the comic fan’s eyes, and the 2008 Batman: Brave and The Bold had a lighter, Adam-West feel to the caped crusader. The most recent incarnation is a huge paradigm shift from either of the previous series, moving from cell to computer animation, major character reinterpretations and a b-side rogue gallery. Quite possibly, this is the Man Of Steel for animated shows, driving classic fans away but perhaps appealing to a more general audience for The Dark Knight.

 

Comic fans fear change! From creative teams to character reboots to even the change of the paper being used on a book will spark endless debate online and at the very least fidgets and sighs. We had just gotten used to the campy and sometimes musical Batman: Brave and The Bold and even beaten the button mashing video game, all the while falling in love with that version of the swashbuckling and bearded Aquaman. In Beware The Batman there is a familiarity to the dark tones in both Batman: The Animated Series and The Dark Knight Trilogy.

There are stepping stones into another territory for longtime fans of The Bat in the new series that may endear you to it or have you check yourself into Arkham, driven mad by the seemingly infinite versions of Bruce Wayne and Batman.

 

The series is rendered in the same computer animation style as the cancelled Green Lantern Animated Series and Tron Uprising. If you can let the slick glass look of Gotham and complex architecture of Wayne Manor, The Batcave and the streets of the city wash over you (I watch on a retina MacBook) it leans toward an immersive experience. The fight scenes are well choreographed and fun to watch as the Batman clobbers the bad guys. The Batsuit owes a lot to the Nolan movies, all black, including the bat symbol, save his yellow or brass utility belt. It is a good but not great design of the Batsuit, which saddens me because I like to get excited when Bruce suits up.

Overall, the design and the computer rendering as a choice work for me withBeware The Batman, as I learn to let go of my nostalgia for cell animation and expect more of this from my heroes in the future.

Mr. Toad and Professor Pyg - Beware the Batman

Mr. Toad and Professor Pyg - Beware the Batman

The enemies in episode one are Professor Pyg and Mr. Toad, introduced by Grant Morrison in Batman and Robin. The masked freak and animal (respectively) are of the 99% and also environmental activists, seeking revenge a land deal signed by Simon Stagg and Bruce Wayne that forced many animals from their native wetlands. The Hitchcock-sounding Pyg uses kidnap and murder instead of words to resolve his issues. Toad has a sonic croak, used to break glass and knock his enemies to the ground. Batman gets involved when Alfred is kidnapped by accident (Toad mistakes him for Wayne).

[READ MORE at DIGBOSTON.COM]

MAD MEN: "In Care Of" S6E13 (Season 6 Finale review) at FORCES OF GEEK

Don (Jon Hamm) carries his baggage to the end of Season 6 of Mad Men and reaches a bottom of sorts.  A montage at the beginning of the episode of the finale checks in on each of the main characters moving from Stan to Roger (John Slattery) to Pete, ending on a beat in the office featuring Joan (Christina Hendricks) and new buddy Bob Benson (James Wolk).

Megan (Jessica Paré) is rightfully worried about Don’s drinking at their Park Ave. apartment to set up the rest of this highly anticipated closing episode.

Spoilers ahead, of course!

Here we are at the end of Season 6. We started on vacation in Hawaii and ended up on a street corner in Pennsylvania, the childhood whorehouse of Dick Whitman. The reveals came heavy toward the end, this episode and last exposing Bob Benson for what he appears to be, and Don’s past as Dick Whitman coming to haunt him mid-season (flashing back to being sexually assaulted by one of the ladies in the whorehouse). Whereas the end of Season 5 ended in the suicide of Lane Pryce (Jared Harris), this time it is Don’s career and his relationship with two of his most cherished women in his life, Megan and Sally being asphyxiated.

We open on to Stan (Jay Ferguson) asking Don to take the Sunkist account in Los Angeles. Stan deserves the shot, more than most in his position at the company. Peggy (Elisabeth Moss) has paraded her well-earned success over to another firm and is Copy Chief at the new firm of Sterling, Cooper & Partners. It is a well laid plan, to start an agency branch in CA all by himself, to be a leader. Stan is a well-dressed and 70’s fashion-forward New Yorker, looking to stay young in Cali. 

Ken Cosgrove (Aaron Staton), still recovering and with eye patch and Jim Cutler (Harry Hamlin) are the next to speak with Don regarding a possible Hershey chocolate account.


Don is enthusiastic as they set up an important meeting that goes the way of the meeting with Royal Hawaiian in the first episode of the season. That is to say, it not only goes poorly but takes a bizarre turn.

Cutting over to Roger’s office, we see his daughter Margaret (Elizabeth Rice) and brother-in-law asking for more money for a poor investment. Roger calls her a brat and Margaret un-invites him to Thanksgiving dinner.

Roger moves downstairs past Pete (Vincent Kartheiser), fresh from Detroit and Chevy.

Bob and Joan meet him at the bottom of the stairs for a brief tête-à-tête. Roger jabs at Benson and calls him into his office for a private meeting. In Bob’s impromptu performance review, Roger warns him to stay away from Joan’s heartstrings, and so much as to stay away from his child with Joan, Kevin. Benson assures Roger that he and Joan are just buddies.


To avoid having his daughter Sally (Kiernan Shipka) being subpoenaed about the robbery (Episode 8), Don calls her at boarding school to get her to the courtroom. Sally’s still mad at ‘Daddy’ and gets a good couple of jabs in referencing the affair she witnessed with the downstairs neighbor, “I wouldn’t want to do anything immoral”, and the even hotter, “You know what, why don’t you just tell them what I saw”. I think even critics of Sally’s role on the show would have wanted to give her a high five after that zinger.

Don takes more time off from work, leading Ted (Kevin Rahm) and Jim to deal with the hotel clients. Don is belly-up to a bar where a minister is trying to save his soul.


Flashback to the whorehouse and a similar evangelical is trying to save the girls. He’s removed by his ear by Uncle Mack (Morgan Rusler) and told to never come back. These flashbacks going back to Don’s past (his father’s death, the loss of his virginity) really shape his decisions and his detachment to his family. Don awakes in the drunk tank, arrested for assaulting the minister. Megan finds Don pouring his booze down the kitchen sink, as Don has reached a bottom and tries as many drunks do—goes cold turkey.


On Don’s pink cloud of hangover and regret, he steals Stan’s plan as a way to have a geographical cure for all of his problems and his drinking. Verbatim, he pitches moving to California to Megan, who has had opportunities come her way in her acting career but turned them down to stay in New York on her soap. She gets the ball rolling to make the move.

Pete gets a telegram at work informing him that his mother has been lost at sea, presumed overboard in shark infested waters. After some investigation Pete finds out that Manolo (Andres Faucher) is a suspect after marrying Pete’s mom on the boat!

Rushing out to his flight to Detroit, Pete confronts Bob in the elevator—to another beat of hysterical dialogue.


Bob: “How are you?”
Pete: “Not great, Bob”!


On the Chevy showroom floor, Pete is forced to test drive the Camaro Z-28. Bob holds the keys for him, like Blake (Alec Baldwin) in Glengarry Glen Ross swinging a pair of brass balls. Pete can’t drive stick, he slams it into reverse and destroys the display and his integrity in front of the car execs.


Bob 1, Pete -10.

Pete is obviously taken off of the account. Upon returning and getting with his brother on the matter of his mother’s murder, they decide not to pursue Manolo (alias Marcus Constantine) via an expensive private investigator in Panama. “She’s…in the water…with father”, “She loved the sea”.

Ted stalks Peggy after she makes an exit to go on a date, and Ted admits that he is in love with her. The soap opera continues as he promises Peggy he will leave his wife Nan (Timi Prulhiere).


Back at SC&P, Ted backtracks on his plan. Ted asks Don if he can be the one to go to California with Nan and the kids for a fresh start. 

The Hershey account shows up for a pitch, and at last we think that Don is back to his old suave self. He pitches a beautiful story about his father giving him a chocolate bar after he mows the lawn. The chocolatiers are eating it up until Don has a breakdown, confessing to the room that his relationship with the candy is tied to a whore at his childhood home.


The breakdown is so startling that everyone, the clients, Roger and Jim leave the room trying to salvage the account. Ted and Don stay behind, and Don concedes the California assignment to Ted. 

Perhaps Don is having trouble decision making or he is thinking of doing right by Ted after betraying him in the past. Either way, Don is on the edge, a broken man, his career in serious jeopardy and his personal life wrecked. If he wasn’t already at bottom, he has just taken the express train there.

When he breaks the news to his successful wife, who has just quit her job on her soap opera to move to California, Megan leaves him. Perhaps she is going on a walk, but she is so upset that she can’t deal with the flip-flop, even if Don promises her the couple will be bi-coastal as he stays at SC&P in NY while she moves to Hollywood to become a star.


Was this a purposeful move to get her to leave him alone in his apartment so that he can rekindle his affair with Sylvia (Linda Cardellini)? This is self-sabotage beyond the brink. I predicted early on that Don’s career was in trouble this season and that his creativity is tapped out, farming the fun stuff to Peggy, Stan, Ted and the Creative Department. Now career and personal life are crashing into his second marriage and Megan has had enough.

As Betty (January Jones) pointed out about Megan and Don, “She doesn’t know that loving you is the worst way to get to you.” She’s right. Don may be incapable of having people love him. Perhaps it is the disease of alcoholism in his veins and his family, or perhaps it is PTSD, but Don doesn’t have the coping tools he need to love himself or others. Poor Megan, a successful actress quit her starring role (or roles, she plays both twins on “To Have And To Hold”) for no real reason except for Don’s selfishness. This episode had me shaking my fists at Don—but also hope that he gets whatever help he needs.

“Fuck the agency—I quit my job!”

When it comes time for Ted to reveal the same to Peggy, that he is going to California in Don’s stead, she kicks him out of her office, and is jealous that Ted has the option. Ted, acting selfishly in one way, should not have told her he would leave Nan, because he won’t. Peggy is dealing with being a female with power at the company, but is dissatisfied she doesn’t get to stomp all over and make executive decisions like Ted and Don. And of course, like Megan, Peggy has to deal with the repercussions of the actions of the men at SC&P.


She loves Ted, and he loves her. Ted is moving away to not absolve his established family, and it pains him to do so, but why the empty promise to Peggy. The girl has been through enough! I suggest Peggy keep a harpoon by her desk at the ready!

Don’s partners (Roger, Joan, Bert, Jim and Roger) call him in for a meeting on Thanksgiving morning, 9am.


Roger speaks up and they lay off Don for the holiday season, with no return date. For the first time, Don is powerless, lonely and without the firm to distract him from the other affairs in his life. This was not specifically about Hershey’s, but all of his behavior before and after the merger. On his way out, humiliated, he runs into head hunter Duck Davis (Mark Moses) and another man, Lou Avery (Allan Havey). The two seem to be making moves on Don’s position at the firm, Lou calls the elevator to push Don down (and out) of the building in a tense hallway moment.

We breeze out of this season with Roger going to Joan’s for Thanksgiving and visiting son Kevin, though we’re all surprised to see Bob Benson carving the turkey in a turkey apron there.


Peggy commandeers Don’s office for some extra work and we all say goodbye to Stan until next time.

Cut to the last scene, Don takes his kids to the place where he grew up, the whorehouse in Nowhere, PA. The dilapidated, boarded up house closes the scene as Judy Collins singing Joni Mitchell’s “Both Sides Now” playing us out. Now Don is seeing the bottom half (again) after spending so much time at the top.


What fate belies Don Draper next season? Humility? Honesty with his family? Sobriety? Growth? Will we even see Ted, Pete and the California office? What about Megan? She’ll be there too, perhaps. Season 7 will be the last for Mad Men, and we will be back here in April of next year for more.

[READ MORE at FORCES OF GEEK]

 

 

MAD MEN: "THE QUALITY OF MERCY" S6E12 (REVIEW) at FORCES OF GEEK

How can Season Six be over already?

In the penultimate episode of Mad Men for this year, the darkness is penetrating the tone as a mad dash is made to resolve loose ends as we step ever closer to the 1970s.

Don Draper (Jon Hamm) is reeling from the effects of the last episode and is drinking over his problems.


Pete (Vincent Kartheiser) is concerned with Bob (James Wolk) as he takes over the Chevy account from Ken Cosgrove (Aaron Staton) and Sally (Kiernan Shipka) takes a trip upstate.

Why is Ken moving away from his Chevy account? Well, they’ve already injured his leg, but the cold open after Don & Megan’s morning ritual shows Ken out on a hunting trip with the Chevy executives. He’s had to do tap-dance to keep these guys happy and full of steak “Its my job”, but these goons have gone too far with the hazing by SHOOTING KEN IN THE FACE. The buckshot does not kill Ken, but after talking with Pete, the newly expectant father walks away from Chevy with at least his life intact.


Pete, who is desperate and lonely takes the traveling job offer from Ken, pending partnership approval. We’ll get to that later!

The Ocean Spray/Sunkist accounts are competing still after Don’s promise to Ted that he drop Sunkist. Harry (Rich Sommer) comes through with a multimillion dollar buy from Sunkist if they drop the cranberry campaign that Ted (Kevin Rahm) and Peggy (Elisabeth Moss) are working closely on.


In fact, Ted and Peggy are working closely in the office together—and others are taking notice. Especially Don, who seems to be taking the Sunkist ad and shots at Ted in order to break those two up. Don is jealous of their relationship and of Ted’s success.


Pete learns that Bob comes with the Chevy assignment, and after their awkward leg touch last episode, Pete is resistant but agrees with this when the partners force Bob on him, albeit reluctantly.


Pete makes a call to Duck (Mark Moses) to have him look in to Bob Benson’s past. The reveal is that Bob is a fraud, and like Don, has forged a new life out of nowhere and weaseled his way into SC&P.


When Pete confronts Benson, he doesn’t expose his fraud to the world, instead he maturely accepts Bob as his partner on Chevy on the terms that Benson not go after Pete or his family any more. Bob’s friend/partner, Manolo (Andres Faucher) is asked to step away from Pete’s mother.

Sally does an overnight at the boarding school she’s applying at, and trouble follows her there. She invites Glen (Marten Holden Weiner) and another boy, Rolo for a party. How they got these boys here after just a few hours of conspiring is beyond me. The kids get drunk and stoned, ending in a ruckus of Glen protecting Sally by attacking Rolo. The girls give Sally a glowing recommendation to the headmaster to be accepted to the school after so much excitement.


At SC&P, Don embarrasses Ted in front of the St. Joseph’s aspirin people, but to the benefit of saving the account and the ad that Peggy and Ted ran over budget. In a sinister way, Don’s actions make everyone uncomfortable around the table. Don is picking at Ted’s bones—and Peggy knows this and calls Don a monster.


Don’s business acumen is now leaning more toward being a shark than having creative ideas. This can’t be good for the partnership. Ted is enthusiastic and idealistic, Don has dark secrets affecting all of his relationships. This conflict may carry over into the next season or we may see this resolve in the finale in a big way.

There’s no “On The Next Mad Men” this week as we all speculate on the season finale. Let’s recap some important characters. Betty and family seem to be doing OK and Sally is on the track to go to boarding school. Megan is playing two roles on her show (a soap opera that Don clicks by after seeing her on screen as he’s home sick). Megan’s strength is carrying her on to be an independent woman that loves Don.


Peggy and Ted are flirting, but not beyond that. Pete will move to deal with the Detroit account. Roger and the senior partners are taking a step back from the limelight. Harry Crane could predictably move to a Hollywood career.

What surprises are in store? We’re happy to have the Bob Benson reveal in this episode, because we couldn’t wait any more! We always hope to see more Joan in the finale as she continues to define herself at the company as a partner.



Tune in Sunday at 10 for the season finale!

 

[READ MORE AT FORCES OF GEEK]

MAD MEN: "FAVORS" S6 E11 (reviewcap) at FORCES OF GEEK

Mad Men’s favorites are calling in favors this episode as we approach the end of season six.  Peggy (Elisabeth Moss) deals with pests in her life (including the desperate Pete Campbell), Don’s (Jon Hamm) favors are crossing the line, and young Sally (Kiernan Shipka) solidifies her Daddy issues when she sees something that can change everyone’s world for good.

And Bob Benson reveals more of himself this episode; have we cracked his code finally?

 


Peter’s senile mother Dot (Channing Chase) visits the office with her new caretaker Manolo (Andres Faucher). Peggy entertains Dot, but the old bird mistakes her for Trudy and asks about their child! Awkward, Pete and Peggy sired a child way back in season one.


Sylvia (Linda Cardellini) and Dr. Arnold’s (Brian Markinson) kid Mitchell (Hudson Thames) is dodging the draft and had dropped out of college. He seeks downstairs Canadian neighbor, Megan’s (Jessica Paré) help. Arnold explains the dire situation over drinks to Don. If guilt is a motivation for Don, he’ll find a way to help if he can but at what cost?

Upon talking with Pete, Don broaches the subject of helping Mitchell at the firm’s Chevrolet dinner. The right wing arms manufacturers are not quick to talk about the war or helping his plight.


Roger (John Slattery) and Ted (Kevin Rahm) get Don out of this awkward rabbit hole with the client. Don’s been slipping out of creative and now is struggling with business etiquette. Where is the confident and controlling Draper we all know and love? Has his love for Sylvia blinded him from his business and family obligations?

At SC&P two sales leads, Ted and Don assemble their opposing juice teams. Ted has Ocean Spray about to sign and Roger and Don have Sunkist. Both juices are important clients but they must only present to one.


Manolo drops off Dorothy to visit Pete at his apartment, where Dot admits to Pete she and her nurse are getting intimate.  Pete’s infuriated and threatens to fire Manny for his perversions. Mom tells Pete how it is, “You’ve always been unloveable”. She leaves Pete, forever alone, with a face not even his mother can love. Where is Pete’s redemption this season? All signs pointing to Pete suffering this year!

At Peggy’s apartment, a blood trail goes from her bedroom door to under the couch. It’s not the blood of another harpooned boyfriend, we’ve got a rat trapped under there. She calls on Stan (Jay R. Ferguson) to help her clean it up, but he is otherwise occupied. Not even the tease of a snog will entice him uptown, he is already with company.

Ted is willing to help Don with Mitchell’s draft problem by calling in a favor to a high ranking general that taught him to fly. They agree to drop Sunkist and get along. Ted seems to be dominating at the company as Don’s distractions sustain.
  
Ted assumes Don doesn’t have many friends, so that this is important. Meanwhile, Ted struggles at home as his wife feels neglected.


When Pete confronts Bob Benson (James Wolk) about his nurse hire, Bob talks of love and affections. Bob nudges Pete’s knee with his in a very suggestive 60 frames of video. Do these two-seconds of leg touch reveal that Bob is not only gay but in love with Pete? Or is it that ‘60s Pete can’t take a leg touch from another man. Oh, Bob, you sly enigma, you!


At the end of this episode our heart takes a jump!

Sylvia is grateful for Don’s assistance with the kid’s draft problem so they rekindle their affair at Sylvia’s house. Mitchell and Arnold are gone for the day. Sally was pranked by her friend and heads back to the apartment building to retrieve a love letter written to Mitchell. The doorman gives Sally master keys to the apartment complex. Sneaking in the back door of the Rosens. She doesn’t initially see the letter on Sylvia’s kitchen floor. What she does see is her dad and Sylvia doing the deed!

She’s startled and drops the keys, startling everyone.


Finally some drama that hits close to home. How will this affect Sally’s relationship with her father, but more importantly is she going to tell her mom or Megan?

The young adult is now under a lot of pressure to do the right thing. Don tells Sally that he was consoling Sylvia, and that it is complicated. Sally stays locked in her room, obviously upset.

Don’s world can start to crash around him at any moment. The chaos is consuming his life. Arnold and Mitchell come down and thank Don for his efforts. Don’s in a cold sweat and goes straight to bed.


On the next Mad Men, the penultimate episode for the season we’re teased with a hunting trip for Pete, the trouble with Sally and Don wearing a turtleneck like some beatnik.

Let’s see if Sally told Betty about the affair or if she follows her father’s lead and starts to keep dark secrets.

[READ MORE at FORCES of GEEK]

MAD MEN: "A Tale of Two Cities" S6 E10 REVIEW AT FORCES OF GEEK

MAD MEN: “A Tale of Two Cities” S6E10 (recap)


The firm is still quibbling over naming rights as some partners go for business trips and Joan (Christina Hendricks) expands her horizons at the office with Peggy (Elisabeth Moss) as a companion and accomplice.

Will Bob Benson’s (James Wolk) enthusiasm and inserting himself into every situation finally give him the leg up he’s been waiting for? 

We open to a partner’s meeting that Don arrives at the end of. The merged firm’s name “Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce Cutler Gleason & Chaough” or “SCDPCG&C” is agreed to be a mouthful, but the subject is tabled as Ted (Kevin Rahm) leaves for Detroit to handle Chevy and Don and Roger head to L.A.


In this John Slattery (Roger) directed episode we’re treated to a bit more color—from the wardrobes of the stars as they visit California—to the color television set coverage of the Chicago riots at the Democratic National Convention, 1968. National television and Hollywood take center stage as Don (Jon Hamm) and Roger visit Los Angeles to woo West Coast clients.

Slattery shines on the plane with Hamm as the two go back and for the about the trip. Roger wants Don to be the self-assured east coast business man that he knows he is, and not to be an over-prepared worry wart. Roger knows that the New York confidence and swagger will get the job done, not reading about Carnation Instant Breakfast and Sunkist on the flight.

Harry Crane (Rich Sommer) is aplomb as he dons a scarf and sunglasses to check Don and Roger into the hotel.  Roger heads to the Sunset Strip for a Steak, Don orders room service in the hotel and sees the riots on TV. He gets a phone call from Megan, who, as we are reminded of, cannot vote in the election because of her Canadian citizenship.

When Joan’s friend Kate was visiting, she made the connection with Avon Cosmetics to Joan directly. Looking to expand her role or define herself as a partner, Joan takes a meeting with the Avon executive, on the pretense that it was a date.

Joan returns to the office (having picked up the tab) with a hot lead on the company and tells Peggy. Ted is excited but takes Joan off as the contact and assigns partner Pete (Vincent Kartheiser) to the job, frustrating Joan.

In an act of defiance and claiming her own stake in the company, Joan takes the next meeting with Avon without inviting Pete. Peggy is along for the breakfast meeting, and Joan leans on her for the heavy questions. Joan handles the meeting well but deals with the consequences later. Back at the office, Peggy is convinced that Joan has made a mistake by breaking protocol, but Joan firmly explains herself and asks for support.


What about Bob Benson, you may ask? He may be found listening to “How I Raised Myself from Failure to Success in Selling” on phonograph in his office, or breaking the tension between former Air Force officer Jim Cutler (Harry Hamlin) and Michael Ginsberg (Ben Feldman). Cutler puts Bob to the test as Roger is out of town to take care of the Manischewitz account. The account puts the firm under review, so Benson had best give that record another spin.

Out in Beverly Hills, Harry, Don and Roger hit up a pool party with hot men and women, no shortage of dope and they run into an old friend, Danny Siegel (Danny Strong). Danny is a failed copywriter and former employee of SCDP. Roger jabs at Danny’s height and tries to steal his girl, Lotus. Lotus is tripping and high as a kite, but as we know, Roger is ‘experienced’.


Don makes his way to the restroom but is distracted by beautiful ladies smoking hashish out of a hookah. When the stuff hits him, it’s bad news. He hallucinates a pregnant Megan stalking him, and Private Dinkins visiting him from Vietnam, missing an arm. Cut to Don being fished out of the pool by Roger. Never trust a hookah nipple from a stranger!

Back at the firm, Joan’s secret Avon meeting is exposed to Pete and Ted. As she’s asked to repent for her crimes, and Pete is dressing her down, Peggy saves the day by lobbing a fake phone message into the conference room by way of her secretary. The Avon rep is calling for Joan, so Ted demands she take the call. Where Peggy did not agree with how Joan took her piece of the pie, the women stick together to change are changing the sexist workplace environment together.  Gender roles are expanding and now Joan has an account she is responsible for. Since Lane’s suicide, Joan’s partnership has been purely as a figurehead.


All partners except for Joan meet in Don’s office upon everyone’s return. Ted is excited that Chevy’s approvals will come easier now, Don and Roger’s trip may or may not bear fruit, and Manischewitz goes away. 

Jim Cutler and Bert Cooper (Robert Morse) reveal the company name to be reduced to Sterling, Cooper & Partners. Jim says this is the only way because it is equally offensive to members of both firms. Don and Ted drop the fight about the name and all agree that SC&P will look good on the stationary. The partner with the most to say about the change is the resistant Pete, to whom Don invites to leave if he doesn’t like it. Pete storms out of Don’s office to steal a joint from Stan’s mouth and mellows out on the couch.


What can we expect from the preview of next week’s episode?

Megan’s got a surprise visitor or two, Peggy and Ted have more than a drink together, Betty returns and Don pays Pete a visit to his desperate bachelor pad. We’re also reminded of the countdown. There are only three episodes left this season before we see the summer of love in 1969.
[READ MORE at FORCES OF GEEK]