08 March 2008

A Galactic(a) Endeavor - Sacrifice (2x16)

This stretch of season 2 just really slowed down the show's pace. I guess the fleet's hearts weren't really into the search for Earth yet, but they had, at least temporarily, evaded the Cylon threat. So Here is another look at the fleet tearing itself apart from the inside.

A woman takes over a restaurant on the Cloud Nine and demand that Boomer 2 be turned over to her. This lady hates Cylons. Among the hostages are Apollo, Billy, the President's young aid, Dualla (the woman they are both now fighting over), and Ellen Tigh. Starbuck (conveniently also on Cloud Nine, because everyone seems to be on vacation) tries to storm the restaurant with some marines. Oops, she shoots Apollo. Adama decides to turn over Boomer, but the dead one, not the love one. At this, the hostage takers get mad. Billy dies trying to defend Dualla. But the Terrorists also get theirs.

This was better than Black Market, but was still kinda pointless. Billy was likeable enough, and it was dumb for him to die to show his bravery. The new president's aid isn't as doe eyed, but then again, she is also a Cylon...

Overall, entertaining drama, but a little light on the "Galactica" factor. Might has well have been some cop show. Also, a little too convenient that all our "favs" were on this other ship at the same time. And why did Starbuck accidentally shoot Apollo? She wasnt drunk or anything. I guess we are supposed to see that she is losing her edge. Also, once again, Apollo doesnt get the death he wants. 3 out of 5 Cloud Nine hostages.

A Galactic(a) Endeavor - Scar (2x15)

The day in the (short) life of a Viper Pilot. Galactica is involved in a mining operation, but a couple of pesky Raiders are hanging out, picking off Vipers. Kat, one of the nuggets in episode 4, decides she is the new top dog and is in Starbuck's face over every decision and every loss. Finally, the two of them go out and hunt down the Red Baron of Cylons AKA Scar.

There was some good action in this episode, and also a nice rivalry, too bad Kat wasn't a little less annoying. The overall plot didnt move along too much, but this was better than the episodes before or after it. Kat was right though, Starbuck is hardly a model citizen and I would prefer that she was not my superior officer. 4 out of 5 scar faced Cylons.

The Friends and Foes of Batman - Nightwing

Many a character has donned the name, but there only one Nightwing - Dick Grayson. As Dick grew older and spent more time as the leader of the Teen Titans, he decided to drop Robin and take on the identity of Nightwing to assert his independence. Robin became Nightwing in 1984, and has since appeared in Batman: The Animated Series, Teen Titans, and The Batman in animated form. He is yet to make his theatrical debut.

Nightwing was an alias used by Superman in an adventures in the city of Kandor, a Kryptonian city that was shrunken and preserved in a bottle. When Dick Grayson later gave up his role as Robin in 1984, he recalled the Kandorian adventure and renamed himself Nightwing, in homage to both Batman and Superman. After the events of Crisis on Infinite Earths re-boot the DC continuity, Superman no longer had knowledge of Kandor; instead, he remembered Nightwing as an urban legend of Krypton, which he shared with a young Dick Grayson. Grayson, who considered Superman his favorite superhero, took the identity in his honor.

Nightwing patrols Gotham City's neighboring municipality of Blüdhaven. This allows him to be close enough to Gotham to be part of the Batman Family, and far enough as well to have his own city, adventures and enemies. He worked for a few years on the police force, as well as a bartender to provide him with information and rumors of criminal activity.

At Batman's request, Dick journeys to this former whaling town-turned-industrial center to investigate a number of murders linked to Gotham City gangster Black Mask. Instead, he finds a city racked by police corruption and in the grips of organized crime consolidated by Roland Desmond, the gargantuan genius Blockbuster.

With a defenseless city to call his own, Nightwing decides to remain in Blüdhaven until Blockbuster's cartel is broken. He takes a job as a bartender to keep his ear to the ground and works closely with Oracle (Barbara Gordon) in an effort to clean up the town. Blockbuster places a sizable contract on Nightwing's head shortly thereafter, while Grayson plies the unscrupulous Blüdhaven Police Inspector Dudley Soames for information on the kingpin's dealings.

At this time, Nightwing had to deal with Nite-Wing. In Blüdhaven, a sociopath named Tad Ryerstad became a superhero, inspired by the retired hero Tarantula. He took his name, Nite-Wing, from an all-night deli specializing in chicken wings. Unstable, Nite-Wing beat people for minor offenses. Nite-Wing was shot on his first night out and Dick Grayson, as Blüdhaven's protector Nightwing, defended him from Blockbuster's gang, who thought it was Nightwing who has been injured. After Nite-Wing was released from the hospital, he killed the gang who put him there. Not realizing how violent Ryerstad was, Grayson agreed to train him. The two attacked Blockbuster's organization but were captured and separated. After an undercover FBI agent freed Nite-Wing, Ryerstad beat him to death, and when he realized what he had done, Ryerstad fled. Nightwing tracked him down and incarcerated Nite-Wing.

After Nightwing settles in Blüdhaven, a galactic threat comes to Earth, reuniting former members of the Titans together to save their friend Cyborg, and prevent him from putting the Earth in jeopardy. They enter into conflict with their mentors and friends in the Justice League, but are able to come to a truce and save Cyborg while preserving the safety of the planet. After this adventure, the group decides to re-form, with Nightwing returning to the role of leader.

Meanwhile, Dick joins the Blüdhaven Police Department in efforts to rid the city of its corruption from the inside. On the personal side, Dick and Barbara's once flirtatious Robin/Batgirl relationship is changing. When Gotham is quarantined from the rest of the United States and becomes a virtual "No Man's Land", Nightwing is sent to secure Blackgate Prison. Afterwards, Dick recuperates at Barbara's clock tower, and the two grow even closer, entering into a romantic relationship.

Some time after "No Man's Land" ends, the JLA disappears on a mission to locate Aquaman and Atlantis. Before they vanish, Batman instigates a contingency plan, in which a handful of heroes would be assembled to create a new JLA, consisting of Nightwing, Green Arrow, the Atom, Hawkgirl, Major Disaster, Faith, Firestorm and Jason Blood. Nightwing is chosen to be leader until the original JLA are found, and Dick returns to the reserve list.

For several years, Nightwing leads various incarnations of the Titans and becomes the most respected former sidekick in the DC Universe. However, eventually, a rogue Superman android kills Lilith and Troia, an event that tears apart both Young Justice and the Titans. At Troia's funeral, Dick declares he is tired of seeing friends die and disbands the team, officially ending the Titans. A few months later, Arsenal persuades Nightwing to join a new pro-active crime-fighting team: the Outsiders, who would hunt villains, acting as co-workers rather than an extended family. He reluctantly accepts.

Dick plays a key role in exposing the corruption in the Blüdhaven Police Department. Despite reaching his original goals, Dick continues as a police officer during the day while spending nights as Nightwing, pushing himself to his limits and straining his relationships. The line between his police work and as vigilantism began to blur, and ultimately Amy Rohrbach (his friend and superior officer, who knew his secret identity) fires him rather than let him continue using questionable methods.

Wrongfully blaming Nightwing for the death of his mother, the mob boss Blockbuster bombs Dick Grayson's apartment complex and promises to kill anyone in Dick’s life. When the vigilante Tarantula arrives, Nightwing chooses not to stop her when she shoots the villain dead. At length, Nightwing shakes himself from his depression and takes responsibility for his inaction. He tries to apprehend Tarantula and turns himself in to the police. However, Amy Rohrbach feels the world needs Nightwing free and prevents him from being charged.

Dick has destroyed the police corruption and removed the greater part of organized crime from this city, but his role in Blockbuster's death is still a source of tremendous guilt for him. He retires from crimefighting, with Tim Drake and Cassandra Cain as his replacements.

Grayson moves to New York, where he works closely with the Outsiders. However, after "insiders" threaten both the Outsiders and the newest incarnation of Teen Titans, Nightwing realizes that the team has gotten "too personal" and quits.... but he may be rejoining the Titans soon.

The Dark Knight returns in 139 days!

06 March 2008

Spider-Man is Coming

This Saturday morning hails the end of The Batman (my wife cheers) and the beginning of The Spectacular Spider-Man (my wife weeps).

Radar Blips - Labyrinth

The Year: 1986

The Players: Jennifer Connelly, David Bowie, a bunch of muppets, and Warwick Davis as member of the Goblin Corps. Directed by Jim Henson, and produced by Lord George Lucas.

The Take: $13 million

What power?: The power of voodoo

Why you should see it: This is a classic film with so many memorable characters and traps. There are the doors of which one always lies, and one tells the truth, the helping hands, and of course the Bog of Eternal Stench. There are talking dogs, and big friendly monsters. Of the Henson movies, this is tops, much faster paced than the also good Dark Crystal, but also clever and imaginative. If only they made movies like this today as opposed to things like The Last Mimzy.

A Galactic(a) Endeavor - Black Market (2x14)

Oh how the mighty have fallen. This episode decided to show us that things are rough in the civilian fleet. Fisk, Cains XO and the new Pegasus commander gets killed by black marketers (thats 2 dead commanders if you are counting). Lee investigates. He also "hooks" up with a hooker who soothes his pain for a lost love that we never heard about. Lee kills the black market head, but keeps the market alive under his watchful eye.

Pretty much the worst Battlestar Galactica of the first 3 seasons. It felt like a mediocre episode of Law and Order, and sad Lee is lame. 1 out of 5 piano wire slashed throats.

A Galactic(a) Endeavor - Epiphanies (2x13)

The episode opens with Roslin on her deathbed. During her dying, she realizes that she saw Baltar and the Cylon on Caprica before the attack. Uh oh, hes about to be President. Ironically, Baltar doesn't want to be President, so he also waxes epihanetic and realizes the fetal blood from Boomer 2's baby could me a miracle cure. It is, Roslin's cancer goes into remission.

Also, Baltar, in love with the freed Cylon from Pegasus AKA Pegasix, AKA Gina, gives her a nuclear warhead as a token of his affection. This will end badly...

A fairly slow episode, with a miracle ex machina that I didn't really buy, though it was nice that Roslin could hang around a little longer. It just seemed contrived. Still, as long as she dies before they get to Earth, I guess their Bible remains true. 3 out of 5 antigenless blood cells.

A Galactic(a) Endeavor - Resurrection Ship (2x11-12)

Starbuck returns from her unauthorized surveillance mission with the blackbird in the middle of the the showdown between battlestars. Alarmed by an unidentified ship, the fleet postpones their staredown, and decides to deal with the execution after their upcoming mission.

The mysterious ship that has been following the fleet is the resurrection ship - when Cylons die, they are transmitted and reborn here. Without this ship, their "soul" would be lost since they are so far away from home. Destroy the ship, and the Cylons may not be so brazen.

Anyways, Starbuck is promoted to CAG of Pegasus for her daring. They plan an op to take out the ship, and Adama gives her a special mission to assassinate Cain (Boomer Style) during the celebration. This plan is Roslin endorsed, fearing Cain will strip the civilian fleet and carry on the lost war.

During the fight, Apollo is shot down. He decides death wouldn't be so bad, but he gets rescued. He gets depressed and begins a pointless downward spiral that will culminate in him eating a lot of twinkies. The mission succeeds, but Adama doesn't go through with his asassination plan. Luckily for him, Baltar let the Six clone out of the brig. She, being quite disgruntled and suicidal, finds Cain and kills her. Adama gets promoted to Admiral. Well done sir.

This was a pretty good pair of episodes. This Cain arc was great, and led to the flashback movie Razor, since we all wanted a little more Cain. 4 out of 5 dead admirals.

04 March 2008

A Galactic(a) Endeavor - Pegasus (2x10)

Like out of a dream, the Galactica is alarmed by the sudden arrival of a the newer, bigger, and better armed Battlestar Pegasus commanded by the Admiral Cain. At first its all love, then the fleet starts to realize that the tough as nails Cain runs things her own way, and is pretty ruthless... like a razor. She transfers Starbuck and Apollo under her command and orders interrogation of Boomer 2.

It turns out she has her own Cylon captive, which has been beaten and raped into a catatonic state. Boomer is about to get the same treatment, but Helo and Tyrol interfere, accidentally killing the raper. They are tried and sentenced to death. Adama gets pissed, and demands a new trial. Cain refuses. The episode ends with the two ships launching vipers at each other in a prelude to a seemingly inevitable conflict.

This is a perfect episode. It begins with ethereal music mirroring the glee experienced by the fleet at finding new allies, and new hope. Things sour quickly, and we realize that even though the Cylons are machines, what we humans do to them, defines us. Even if you cannot rape a machine, the deeds done were evil and cruel. The ending is incredible tense, and having to wait months for the resolution was painful. 5 out of 5 winged horses.


02 March 2008

A Galactic(a) Endeavor - Flight of the Phoenix (2x09)

The crew needs a diversion from non-stop work. So naturally, their hobby involves making a new fighter, from scratch. The Blackbird brings hope to the crew who have suffered through so much, and naming the ship Laura after the President that the fleet is beginning to embrace, was an emotional scene, for the characters and viewers. This little bird is gonna come in handy in a few episodes.

The B story involves a virus that has been infiltrating the ships systems ever sense Gaeta's frak up at the beginning of the season. The only way to clear it is to format the hard drives. But the Cylon's have timed an attack to coincide with the virus. Luckily, the Boomer in the brig volunteers to help. She sticks a fiber optic cable in her wrist, and broadcasts a virus back, which debilitates the Cylons. Easy pickins.

I really enjoyed this episode, especially for the ending where Roslin sees the ship named for her. She has a couple weeks left to live, unless a miracle cure is found... and this is a touching way for the crew to show her support. Also, the final product is quite sleek. In all, this episode earns a strong 4 out of 5 Cylon viruses. Up next, the Pegasus arc!

A Galactic(a) Endeavor - Final Cut (2x08)

After the long Kobol arc, we get a one-shot story about the making of a documentary about the people of Galactica. This is intended to give a human face to the people responsible for the massacre under Tigh's leadership. The story in the episode is kinda loose. Mainly, it is about one of the involved soldiers wanting to kill Tigh over the guilt he feels for being part of the massacre. We learn that the former nugget Kat is dealing with addiction to stimulants, and we also learn that Boomer 2 is having some complications with pregnancy. But most of all we learn... (wait for it) that the documentarian D'anna Biers is... the 6th Cylon. We will see more of her.

Not bad for a stand alone episode, I especially enjoyed hearing the Colonial Anthem AKA original series theme play during the film. 3 out of 5 reunited fleets.