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, at least for a few more weeks, check out our 2022 Summer TV binges, where Multiversity staffers reach back in time to review comics/comics-adjacent/nerdy shows all summer (and the first half of fall) long. (Here’s a handy list of what’s being covered too.)
Andor – “The Axe Forgets” (S1E5, Disney+)
Read our full review by Brian Salvatore.
The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power – “The Eye” (S1E7, Amazon Prime)
Awakening from the volcanic avalanche, Galadriel finds Theo, and accompanies him to the Numenorean encampment. Along the way, she teaches him lessons her brush with darkness have reminded her of, namely patience, to not revel in violence even when used for good, and to trust in the plan of the Valar and the One. There are, naturally, strong shades of Galadriel’s future role in Frodo’s story, but there are also parallels with Gandalf comforting the young Hobbit when he became overwhelmed with his burden. (“There are other forces at work in this world, Frodo, besides that of evil. Bilbo was meant to find the Ring, in which case you were also meant to have it. And that is an encouraging thought.”) She tells him of her husband Celeborn, who disappeared during the first war with Morgoth, and gives him her sword to protect himself.
Meanwhile, Isildur vanishes, and is presumed dead after helping rescue civilians trapped in a burning building. Like her father prophesied, Queen Miriel is blinded trying to save him, and a grieving Elendil comes to regret ever helping Galadriel. However, Miriel’s resolve only grows, and she vows Numenor will return in greater force, much to Elendil’s sorrow. Bronwyn tells Miriel the survivors will resettle at the old Numenorean colony of Pelargir. They are then informed Halbrand has been found, gravely wounded. Galadriel recognizes he needs Elvish medicine, and decides to take him to her lands. The two are seen off by Halbrand’s cheering subjects, including Theo, who raises his new sword high.
The Harfoots’ grove is also devastated by the eruption. The Stranger tries to heal the trees, but endangers Nori and her sister Dilly doing so, prompting Sadoc to direct him to a Mannish settlement across Greenwood. The Stranger’s magic ultimately works, creating a bountiful apple harvest, and Nori realizes she was right to trust him after all. At night, she catches the Dweller, the Nomad, and the Ascetic (the white-clad disciples tracking the Stranger), and because of her attempt to mislead them, as well as Largo’s defiance, they set the Harfoots’ caravans aflame. The next morning, Largo helps Nori find her resolve, and she chooses to go, find, and warn the Stranger. She is joined by Poppy, and her stepmother Marigold, as well as a reluctant Sadoc, whose pessimism hilariously contrasts with the hopeful note this thread ends on.
In Khazad-dum, King Durin refuses to help the Elves, telling his son it is not his right to alter the fate that has been preordained for them. Prince Durin and Elrond go behind his back to find a safer area they could mine, causing the Dwarves to fall out, and the Elf to be exiled. Disa comforts her husband by reminding him the kingdom will be theirs someday, while the king orders the new area to be sealed. The camera descends and reveals the Balrog lurking beneath. It is a dreadful irony: Prince Durin is morally right to want to mine mithril, but his stubborn father is also right to fear what is lurking in the deep places of the world. – Christopher Chiu-Tabet
Pennyworth – “Well to Do” (S3E1, HBO Max)
Read our full review of the season 3 premiere by Matthew Vincenty.
Pennyworth – “Many Clouds” (S3E2, HBO Max)
We start episode two “Many Clouds” with the mystery set up in episode one already solved for viewers. Thankfully, the show doesn’t waste time in having the characters figure it out.
This episode could have been called “clean up” since all the action revolves around the CIA cleaning up loose ends. They start by trying to kill Jessica Thistle who is in custody after killing her parents. Daveboy saves her and brings her to Sandra’s place. On a side note, Sandra here is dressed like Marvel’s Black Widow. Not sure if this is meant to be an Easter Egg, but it’s overt.
The second clean up is focused on the woman who hired Alfred last episode. She turns to Alfred for help and makes the deductive leap that the people trying to kill her are government agents based on their hair and shoes.
Lucius and Martha make a Batman style deduction using the autopsy report of the killed CIA agent. The dust on him is from incense that hippies would use and it’s expensive. Only one shop sells that incense and sold it to only one hippie commune. Leading Martha right to Sister Susie. Susie confesses about Doctor Glubb and the CIA testing drugs on Sister Susie’s followers. Just in time for the CIA to show up for their last clean up.
Alfie and Daveboy arrive in the nick of time to save Martha knowing Sister Susie would be next on the clean up list. Sister Susie isn’t so lucky. After putting it all together, they run off to save Sandra, knowing that anything could trigger Jessica’s mind control. After they leave, Martha sees the Wayne Enterprises logo on a camcorder and knows this is the true reason for Patrick Wayne’s visit.
The first episode had an extended sequence playing Sandra’s new song ending with a shot of a billboard advertising it. At the time I assumed it was to show how little Alfred had progressed, but it was also to showcase it for us the viewer. At Sandra’s place someone puts on the song and it’s immediately clear this is the trigger to activate the mind control. Jessica Thistle kills everyone at Sandra’s apartment only to be shot in the head by Daveboy before she can kill Sandra. It’s a pretty gory scene reminding me of the show’s love of the TV-MA rating.
Throughout it all Alfred’s mum goes on a date which starts out nice, but ends in a place Mary isn’t ready to go. Lonely hearts club indeed. – Matthew Vincenty
Pennyworth – “Comply or Die” (S3E3, HBO Max)
Episode Three “Comply or Die” doesn’t do a lot to further our plot. The main cast knows the CIA has created a mind control drug, and Martha knows the Wayne family is involved. We know Glubb killed his CIA handler and this mind control drug was why Jessica Thistle killed her parents—and a room full of Sandra’s friends. But only the audience knows it’s Virginia Deveraux that is in charge, until she kidnaps and drugs Thomas.
The bulk of the episode is dedicated to Alfred bringing Gully back in to custody. I’m glad they addressed Gully here. It was strange that he’s a national hero and friend to everyone after how terrible he was last season. He’s got hostages held up in a horse betting office (with several DC Easter Eggs on the chalkboard walls). Alfred stops him and gets him back into custody.
Daveboy feels terrible about killing the Jessica Thistle. She wasn’t responsible for killing all those people and he thinks her memory is being disrespected. He decides to pay his respects by going to the family funeral and giving us a drunken eulogy. His outburst wins him a new friend Sally, so we’ll see where this relationship goes. Daveboy has needed something else to do for a while now.
Doctor Glubb approaches Martha looking to sell his services to the British Government. Exactly what Wayne and Deveraux were afraid of. She agrees to talk to the Prime Minister on his behalf knowing his connection to the Wayne’s and the CIA killings. He also explains why the Thistle’s were killed by the CIA, they were his original buyer.
Brainwashed Thomas is triggered by Sandra’s song to kill Martha. Martha puts up a good fight and is saved at the last minute by Mary Pennyworth. – Matthew Vincenty
Quantum Leap – “Somebody Up There Likes Ben” (S1E3, NBC)
This week, Ben leaps into a boxer, which feels like the most classic Quantum Leap leap yet. The swiss-cheese brain of Ben’s provides some interesting implications for how he can win the fight, but it also uses the available technology in a way that feels additive to the legacy of the show. By being able to show Ben the fight in its entirety before it happens, Ben can prepare in a really complete and effective way, even if a photographic memory is almost cheating in every pop culture single usage. Ben continues to be a very different leaper than Sam Beckett, and that’s a good thing.
What isn’t so good is that the Al to his Sam, Addison, is about as cookie-cutter and dull as you can get. The performance by Caitlin Bassett is fine enough, but the character has nothing about her that makes you want to watch her. Al would walk into Sam’s leaps in colorful outfits, spinning yarns of his ex-wives and bring levity and a different perspective to each episode. Addison, though a closer relationship to Ben than Al ever was to Sam, offers a sanitized, smoother experience. And while there is the overarching plot, which helps make the show something different than its predecessor, the show doesn’t have the same intensity in each leap because of how little time we get with Ben and the others in his new life. Even the big moments of emotional catharsis, like when Ben helps Daryl realize his life has some meaning and a future beyond his PTSD from Vietnam, they aren’t felt as deeply because so much of the episode is spent without Ben in Project QL.
Similarly, while Janis Calavicci’s plot has some legs, her character is just a rough sketch of a techno-terrorist. There just isn’t enough there outside of her last name to make her interesting. In a show that clearly wants to forge its own path, this direct tie to the past could be an anchor holding it down. That’s hard for a longtime fan of the franchise to say, but the reboot needs to stand on its own right now. Sure, it is interesting that Ben leapt beyond his own lifetime, and seeing Al’s old Ziggy interface was a nostalgia bomb in the most effective sense. This show can eventually allow for the joining of the two timelines, but right now, there isn’t enough on the reboot side of the scale to achieve balance. – Brian Salvatore
Samurai Rabbit: The Usagi Chronicles – “Warbotto” (S2E6, NETFLIX)
Uneven is the best word to describe season 2 of Samurai Rabbit. There’s usually something to like in every episode that ISN’T Lord Kogane, though it is often the Sungwon Cho played character, but you can’t count on anything more than that. Last week’s “Interdimensionals” was like this and sadly so is “Warbotto.”
I liked the fight in the park, even if the shot continuity and scene layout made the setting a complete mess of incomprehensibility, and the lighting in the opening scene was very pretty – like a quiet, sunny spring day. O-Dokuro’s obsession with bones will never not be funny thanks to Cho’s balance of petulance and joy too. That’s all I really liked about “Warbotto.”
The vast majority of the first half of the episode is one giant lore dump which also seems to retcon the implication that the Shogun WAS Kagehito by making him some other alien who got a scary mask fused(?) onto his face and handwaving the “every yokai got sucked into the Ki-Stone” thing as an accident and I just…don’t care. I’m glad the plot’s moving with the hunt for the Krypton Codex or whatever though.
Now if you were, like me, bored by the info dump, don’t worry, things get worse afterwards because the show decides that Tetsujin is now an irresponsible busybody who only gets in the way. This is the most baffling choice I’ve seen yet. Why do this?? To make Yuichi seem nobel when he learns to share? It’s by far the most irritating plot we’ve had this season and definitely the worst “sudden character change to fit the episode’s lesson” yet.
Like, this is genuinely the first episode we’ve seen Tetsujin be anything but competent and his level of annoyance is at least 10 notches below Yuichi. Yet Yuichi treats him like dirt all episode as if this is how he always acts and the rest of the crew just kinda shrugs it off. Even his bestie Kitsune! Well, they do except when Tetsujin grabs a giant bubble tea with atomic popping bubbles. Then everyone is annoyed, even me. Peak “Dumb and Dumber” energy right there.
Speaking of those bubbles, I haven’t seen worse looking CGI integration into OTHER CGI in years. They’re orbs! They made so many other orbs look like they were “real” but these looked like they were beamed in from Reboot. Were they added at the last minute? Did something happen in the production of this episode? Was it not originally here? I have many questions.
I likely won’t get any answers but we will be getting ghosts and swords, which is classic “Usagi Yojimbo.” I’m hopeful we get more of those 2D stylized scenes and, dare I say it, Bargain Bunji?…Probably not. Ikuzo! – Elias Rosner
The Sandman – “Lost Hearts” (S1E10, Netflix)
Read our full review of the “season finale” by august (in the wake of) dawn.
She-Hulk: Attorney at Law – “Ribbit and Rip It” (S1E8, Disney+)
Finally, the long awaited appearance of Leap-Frog! I kid, obviously, though Leapfrog is a fairly funny character (well-portrayed by Brandon Stanley) and an excellent foil for Jen. The obvious headline of “Ribbit and Rip It” is Daredevil’s first MCU appearance, which is a raging success. This is a well-crafted episode on a number of levels, really. It’s very funny, provides the most natural cameo/team-up yet, takes massive steps forward in the season arc, and provides She-Hulk’s true debut as a superhero.
As soon as Jen and Matt start their back and forth in the speedy case of Eugene Patilio v. Luke Jacobson, it’s clear that this is a dynamic that works. Tatiana Maslany and Charlie Cox have great chemistry and seeing the two go head to head in court makes me wish we could see a full-on legal battle between them. (Sadly, Patilio put jet fuel in the rocket boots of his Leap-Frog suit, providing an absolute defense for Luke Jacobson.) Cox has an easy time shifting into an upbeat, flirty version of Matt Murdock (hopefully we’ll see more of that down the line) and he fits the tone of She-Hulk: Attorney at Law beautifully.
The She-Hulk/Daredevil face-off/team-up is absolutely delightful. There’s the acrobatic, fun Daredevil, the teasing and flirting as they plot to take down Leap-Frog and his gang, there’s Jen literally crashing a would-be classic Daredevil hallway fight. This is the exact right approach to superhero work in this show. Where the Wong/She-Hulk team-up to fight demons felt at least somewhat obligatory, this was both a natural step for Jen as a character and staged in a way that felt more in tune with the episode surrounding it. And of course, Jen and Matt hook up and we see Daredevil do the walk of shame. It’s cute, it’s fun, it’s great television. Better yet, Daredevil’s presence isn’t a cameo for the sake of a cameo but a character crossing into another’s story in a natural way that happens to be a bit of a special treat for fans.
The episode’s epilogue has a few minor issues but fundamentally it works. Really, it just seems like there was a plot development that wasn’t large enough to justify a full episode’s runtime was tacked onto a story that was a little too short to sustain a whole episode’s runtime. While that was probably a logistical win-win for the writers and producers of this show, there was probably a more natural way to pull this off. And as well as Tatiana Maslany sells Jen turning to the camera and noting that it feels like the episode should be ending and there must be a twist coming, meta commentary about a structural flaw in a story doesn’t actually stop the flaw from existing. Still, those final minutes do pack a punch.
First of all, giving every nominee for female lawyer of the year the award then having them stand like it’s a pageant is a very funny concept that they pull off well. It’s such an effective bit, in fact, that when the Intelligencia crashes and projects the contents of Jen’s phone, including a sex tape that Josh recorded, onto the screen, it’s a genuine gut punch. Thematically, this assault on Jen is also incredibly strong. It’s a novel and striking angle on how villains can attack a woman superhero and it’s a natural fit with the show’s larger arc about the world’s response to She-Hulk as a figure. The fact that her rage at this violation might end up with her arrested by Damage Control just compounds the message this is sending about women’s righteous anger being used against them. It’s good stuff that doesn’t get quite enough time but surely next week will be a doozy. – Quinn Tassin
Stargirl – “Frenemies – Chapter Five: The Thief” (S3E5, The CW)
“The Thief” does a fair amount of rehabilitation work on Stargirl‘s third season in just one episode. We finally get some growth from Sylvester, some clues about Cindy, Mike and Jakeem have more to do, the rest of the JSA all have arcs, and the Courtney/Cameron relationship feels like it is moving somewhere. Writing all of that out, it can sound like there’s too much going on for just one episode, but “The Thief” doesn’t feel overstuffed.
Cindy is a really important character in this season’s overarching arc, as her transformation slowly brings her closer to her father’s physical form and puts her at odds with the JSA because of her disinterest in bringing them into her problems. Cindy is tough on Courtney and Cameron this episode, but her process was spot on. She is trying to protect Court, and by proving that Cameron has his family powers, she is being a good teammate and friend to Courtney. The problem is that Court’s heart wants what it wants, and even if Cameron is a good dude, which it appears he is, he’s never going to understand the full picture of his father and the ISA unless Courtney reveals it, and it appears she, rightly, wants no part of that. This is the first obstacle that seems bigger than Courtney’s abilities, and there’s something refreshing about that.
The biggest change this episode is the change in Sylvester. While the rest of the JSA has been really hard on Courtney, Sylvester has been trying to mold them into both a better team and better heroes individually. He helps Rick figure out the hourglass’s issues (and potentially damns him to a life of addiction, but I’m sure we’ll deal with that in the future), gives Beth sage-like advice about her family, and believes in Yolanda’s gut instincts. He’s very much acting like a mentor to a team that, frankly, really needs one.
While the Mike and Jakeem stuff still feels like a piece from a different puzzle trying to fit in the Stargirl mold, it is at least trying to give them something to do. The ‘All-Stars’ name is the most self-congratulatory Geoff Johns stuff we’ve seen on this show in some time, but it’s cute enough to work. – Brian Salvatore
Star Trek: Lower Decks – “A Mathematically Perfect Redemption” (S2E7, Paramount+)
Read our full review by Joe Skonce.
The Walking Dead – “Lockdown” (S11E17, AMC)
Read our full review of the premiere of the final third of the final season by Chris Cole.