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Archer Review – An Old Foe Returns (11×04)

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Archer has made quite a few enemies over the years. When you’re a selfish, alcoholic super-spy going around foiling everyone’s plans that’s bound to happen, and no one has had their plans (and their life) foiled more than Barry. Barry, the former ODIN and KGB agent, has been Archer’s main rival from the beginning. The two have constantly butted heads with Archer inexplicably gaining the upper hand time and time again. It is safe to say the two men have a burning hatred for each other which makes it all the more surprising to see Barry casually chatting with Archer’s friends. Apparently, Barry has turned over a new leaf in Archer’s absence and has become a valued member of the team. Archer is not buying it, repeating “double-cross” at every point of Barry’s explanation of the plan.

While Archer, Barry, Lana, and Cyril leave for the mission, Mallory is trying out new butlers for Archer, putting them through a ringer of mud masks and drink refreshments in order to test their subservience. Pam and Cheryl aren’t convinced it’s enough. Cheryl insists they take these candidates to their breaking points to test their mettle with a dark anecdote about her former servants going postal (due to mistreatment by a young Cheryl in a hilarious recurring gag involving darts) Frankly, it’s not the worst idea as any butler serving Archer can expect to be routinely humiliated.

The gang continues to bicker as they drop into the mission area. Cyril is frustrated that Archer and now Barry don’t take him seriously as a leader or a human and tries to complain to Lana but it falls on deaf ears. Cyril, like Archer, burned quite a few bridges himself but doesn’t have Archers charisma or record of success to command even begrudging respect out of his comrades. It’s very amusing how hard Cyril has worked to become an elite spy and how quickly his confidence has been shattered by Archer’s mere presence. You can’t really blame them for tagging on him, as he can’t even keep one guard from escaping.

Archer and Barry start to bond over insulting Cyril, flaunting their complete disregard over the Agency’s no-kill rules. Archer tries to torpedo any goodwill after chopping off one of Barry’s hands to prevent a classic “which one do I shoot?” moment with the other Barry bots. Barry manages to shrug this painful moment off and reveals he visited Archer eight times while he was in his coma. How very sweet of him.

Cyril finally snaps after his leadership credentials come into question one too many times. He breaks the neck of a guard and blasts a chainsaw-wielding Barry away. Of course, Archer and Barry don’t give him any credit, instead remarking that it’s in poor taste to kill an unarmed man and now four girls are without their father. Cyril can’t catch a break.

The gang fights through a seemingly endless army of Barry Bots while Lana uploads a virus to disable them. She’s successful but a killer robot breaks through the wall pinning them down. The big reveal is that it’s Lana, not Barry, who’s doing the double-crossing. She’s willing to sacrifice their new ally to save her own hide and Archer is not having any of it. It seems like an unlikely friendship has blossomed between Barry and himself and results in a poignant moment as Archer sings in Spanish to his remains. It turns out, however, that Barry can transfer his consciousness over to other Barry Bots, effectively making him immortal and ending the episode on a happy note, at least for now.

The new season finally appears to be hitting its stride and settling into a good comedic rhythm. Archer was actually sympathetic in this episode although he continues to throw his coma in everyone’s face.  Barry and Archer have really fun chemistry together and while I assume they are setting him up to betray Archer, I hope they hold off as long as possible.

 

Favorite Moments-

  • “You know you got shot right?”
  • “For your information, this is a prior wound.”
  • “I hate him but he definitely got you. Lana, did you hear Barry get Cyril?”
  • “Time for daddy to give baby a spanking…No I don’t stand by that.”
  • Barry singing to an unconscious Archer and kissing him on the forehead is such a delightful throwaway gag. I really could see them being friends in a different life.
  • Archer throwing Cyril a candy bar after every insult is top tier Pavlovian humor. Watching Cyril smash a candy machine while crying over the picture of the guard’s daughters is so laughably pathetic,
  • It appears Mallory has found the perfect replacement for Woodhouse in Alister who is both expert sommelier and lemur rehabilitator.


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Netflix

‘Feel Good’ Season 2 Packs Quite the Punch

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In Season 2, the final adaptation of comedian Mae Martin’s (they/them) semi-autobiographical comedy, Feel Good takes on much more content in its short six episodes, packing quite the punch.

We’re guided deeper through the traumas of the primary character Mae and left wondering how they’re able to stand on their own two feet after years of childhood grooming, drug addiction, and parental toxicity.

The light answer to this is humor. As it’s joked often throughout the episodes, “comics are supposed to be sacks of shit.” Through light-hearted comedy and the power of laughter, Mae’s story is dissected. However, at times, big topics are rushed and viewers are left grasping at strings, wishing there were more episodes in the season.

Mae on Feel Good Season 2

Mae on the phone in rehab on Feel Good Season 2. Credit: Netflix

Following an unfortunate relapse in Season 1, we’re immediately thrown into Mae’s life in Canada, as they’re about to reenter rehab. They’ve only been away from England for a couple of months, but with the fresh wounds of the breakup, both George (Charlotte Ritchie) and Mae aren’t healed and are still stuck in their desire for each other. I mean, Mae still has George’s photo on their nightstand!

While in rehab, Mae reconnects with an old “friend,” Scott. When he’s first introduced we’re left wondering who he is and what his role is in Mae’s life. As an addict and queer comedian, there’s much more behind Mae’s curtain of trauma than initially presented in Season 1. Much more trauma that’s led to rash behavior, and Mae’s conversation with Audrey, easily foreshadows this.

Intertwined with the main storyline, Mae’s also navigating their non-binary identity. Mirroring Martin’s own coming-out as non-binary, Mae’s figuring it out, explaining that they see themselves as more of a Ryan Goslin or Adam Driver.

Again, with only six episodes to squeeze so much storyline into, Mae’s rehab stint only lasts 15 minutes into the first episode before they’re running out the door back into the arms of Scott.

As Mae’s stumbling through life in Canada, George is also trying to keep her mind focused on things like saving the bees. At an event at her school, she meets Elliot, a bisexual, polyamorous man with who she bonds. He’s the nice guy, maybe too nice for George. He’s one of those men who are self-proclaimed progressive and ultra-feminist, trying to mansplain the harm in porn’s presentation of women and how sex needs to be a safe space for connection.

George, Elliot, Jack, and Mae on Feel Good Season 2.

George, Elliot, Jack, and Mae on a double date on Feel Good Season 2. Credit: Netflix

And as Mae knows, that’s definitely not how George likes to be treated during sex. Thankfully, George and Mae reconnect, and Elliot is quickly out of the picture with Mae and George recreating their first meet-cute, hoping to restart from a fully healed wound.

As Feel Good is written by a queer person, the portrayal of queer sex is finally construed in a realistic and non-hypersexualized manner. Mae and George run through various role-playing scenarios as they are falling into what seems to be a healthy relationship.

Realistically, their timeline is rushed, but Mae needed some stability before they faced the bigger demons hiding under the bed.

The show cleverly depicts Mae’s moments of withdrawal and trauma responses through a high-pitched ringing sound. As if we’re inside Mae’s head. Originally, Mae experienced the ringing sound when they were with George, as George was a replacement drug. But, in this season, the ringing sound appeared whenever the past tried to resurface.

Mae and George in bed on Feel Good Season 2

Mae and George on Feel Good Season 2. Credit: Netflix

Mae told Audrey that they had a hard time remembering the past, that it was all like a jumbly tumbly mess of Tupperware containers. But, as the episodes progress, each Tupperware slowly found its way to its matching lid.

It becomes clear that Scott isn’t just an old friend, but a man who used to abuse and take advantage of Mae. After Mae’s kicked out of the house at a young age for drug addiction, they move in with Scott who presents himself as a safe haven and gateway to Mae’s comedic success. When, in reality, he’s a pedophile who’s grooming them.

When a woman calls Mae to talk about Scott, presumably about the things he did to both of them in the past, Mae’s reminded of the trauma they had compartmentalized. A doctor suggests Mae might have PTSD, and with George’s help, they begin the journey of confronting the harmful past.

Meanwhile, through all of the personal traumas, Mae’s working through their professional success after being signed with an agent and fulfilling their dream of TV comedy. However, Mae finds it challenging to reinvent their success from the original standup virality that got them the agent in the first place. As mentioned earlier, with comics, the butt of their jokes is their own trauma.

Feel Good Season 2

Mae bringing George flowers on Feel Good Season 2. Credit: Netflix

Unfortunately, as Mae hasn’t healed from their trauma, there’s no way they can make light of it yet. As their career goes for a bit of a downhill turn, and they have a hard time performing for an audience, they begin to seclude themselves and withdraw from the world.

In a much-needed getaway, Mae, George, and Phil take a trip to Canada in order for Mae to confront Scott.

The scene in which Mae directly tells Scott they never want to speak to them again, although a bit anticlimactic, was retrospectively a strong scene that finalized Mae’s character arc in the perfect ending to a witty, raw, and endearing show.

The final episode leaves Mae leaps and bounds beyond where they had been before on their road to recovery. And just as Mae’s love for George grew healthily from a need to a want, our need for a Season 3 resolved itself, and we feel good saying our final goodbyes to Mae and George, knowing fully well they are on their way to a fresh start.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


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Netflix

‘Elite’ Season 4 Review: New Students, New Mystery, Same Scandalous Drama

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'Elite' Season 4 Review: New Students, New Mystery, Same Scandalous Drama

The wait is almost over.

On June 18, Elite returns for its fourth season, but aside from a few new faces and a new principal hellbent on making a difference, things at Las Encinas haven’t changed much at all. 

In fact, things are more dramatic than ever. 

The premiere of Elite evokes the same feelings as the start of the school year — there’s a rush of excitement for what’s to come.

The series indulges in more of what has made it such a success: scandal, parties, threesomes, love triangles, intrigue, crime, and sex. So. Much. Sex. 

I always forget just how many vivid sex scenes there are until I get pulled into a new season, but I’m very quickly reminded. 

The first day of school for Guzman (Miguel Bernardeau), Samu (Itzan Escamilla), Ander (Arón Piper), Rebeka (Claudia Salas), Cayetana (Georgina Amorós), and Omar (Omar Ayuso) is bittersweet. While they may be getting another shot at repeating their final year, their classmates Carla, Lu, Nadia, and Valerio have moved on to bigger and better things. It’s a bummer to lose such a great group of characters, but you almost don’t feel their absence when the new crop of students takes their place, flips the world upside down for current students, and simultaneously ushers in a brand new mystery.

ÉLITE (L to R) MIGUEL BERNADEU as GUZMÁN, MARTINA CARIDDI as MENCÍA, ARÓN PIPER as ANDER, MANU RÍOS as PATRICK, CLAUDIA SALAS as REBECA, CARLA DÍAZ as ARI in ÉLITE. Cr. NIETE/NETFLIX © 2020

The new mystery anchors the story, and like in seasons past, it plays out with flashbacks that lead up to the fated moment. 

However, unlike in previous seasons, we find out pretty early on who is at the center of the mystery with the how remaining the big question mark. 

But there’s no question about whether the Blanco family is involved. 

As Ander tells the investigator, the toxic family’s arrival “tainted everything.” 

Benjamin (Diego Martin) is the extremely rich new school director. He comes in like a bulldozer with big plans to rehabilitate Las Encinas and its reputation after a tumultuous few years that led to two student deaths. He begins his reign by setting his sights on Samu and Omar, who he doesn’t believe belong at the elite school.

WATCH: Netflix Drops Scandalous Trailer for 'Elite' Season 4

Credit: Elite/ Netflix

It’s honestly surprising anyone wants to send their children to get an education there at this point.

Benjamin doesn’t waste any time making changes, but with his focus solely on “discipline, excellence, and achievement,” he fails to realize that his family’s arrival brings the bulk of the drama.

Immediately, you begin to wonder how Benjamin plans to fix a whole school if he can’t even control his own children — Ari (Carla Diaz), Patrick (Manu Rios), and Mencia (Martina Cariddi). 

Benjamin has a fraught relationship with his youngest, Mencia, who has brought the family pain in the past and continues to rebel and defy her father at every turn.  

Credit: Netflix/ Elite

She has a genuine connection with new girlfriend, Rebeka, but the relationship stirs up even more problems for Mencia as Benjamin disapproves and thinks Rebe is a bad influence considering her mother’s reputation as a drug kingpin. 

Little does he know, Mencia has gotten into a world of trouble all on her own.

While Rebe’s relationship with Mencia grows into one of the purest this season, following Samu’s betrayal last season, she’s understandably closed off and cautious with her heart.

Ander and Omar are still going strong but find their relationship is tested in unexpected ways when they invite Patrick, Benjamin’s son, into the fold.

Patrick knows the power he wields over them and intentionally meddles in their lives, but there’s also much more to him than meets the eye.

Ari is Benjamin’s star child who respects and listens to her father, but to her peers, she’s the resident mean girl who is oftentimes uptight and has a chip on her shoulder.

She catches the eye of both Samu and Guzman, which fractures their budding friendship. These two have always fought over women, but last time, Samu was being protective over his best friend, Nadia, who Guzman is still dating when the season commences. 

ÉLITE (L to R) CARLA DÍAZ as ARI in EPISODE 08 of ÉLITE. Cr. NIETE/NETFLIX © 2020

Nadia appears only via video chat from her New York apartment, and their relationship allows the series to explore the trials and tribulations of a long-distance relationship that’s tested as temptation lurks right around the corner for Guzman.

While Guzman stands a chance with Ari based solely on social class and standing, Ari and Samu connect unexpectedly in an academic setting. 

Who will the love triangle favor in the end?

Additionally, the school has attracted the youngest royal heir in Europe, Prince Philippe (Pol Granch). The series flips the classic “princess and the pauper” narrative to “prince and the pauper” as he connects with the school’s janitor Cayetana, making all of her fantasies come true.

But as the saying goes, “be careful what you wish for” as this fairytale quickly turns into a nightmare when it’s revealed the prince has a dark secret, and Cayetana’s past secrets with the late Polo and Valerio come back to haunt her.

Overall, you know exactly what you’re getting into when you press play on the fourth season. The writers have managed to deliver yet another incredibly intoxicating season about a group of lost souls looking for a purpose and tapping into the extreme lengths they’ll go to numb their pain.

Elite hits Netflix on Friday, June 18 with eight brand-new episodes. 

*This review is based on the first four episodes of season 4 that were available to the press*


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Batwoman

Batwoman Review – Rebirth (2×16)

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Batwoman Review Rebirth Season 2 Episode 16

Roman Sionis, Circe, Kate Kane, and Safiyah are all connected. 

On Batwoman Season 2 Episode 16, Safiyah makes her return as it’s revealed that she worked with Roman aka “Black Mask” to deliver him Kate. 

But when she finds out that “Circe” and Alice came into contact, she informs him that Alice is Beth Kane. Safiyah knows that Alice would be able to identify her sister even if her mind was been wiped. 

By the time Roman’s people get to Circe/ Kate, Alice and Commander Kane have made impressive strides with forcing her memories back. 

Considering there was so much focus on the keyword to trigger Kate’s memories, I feel like they returned a little too easily, but I won’t complain too much cause the team-up between Alice and her father, albeit short-lived, was such a treat. 

Alice may no longer be the Beth she remembers, but she’s still in there somewhere. 

Jacob seems grateful to get any time with Beth at all, plus, he’s learning more about what led to her Alice persona and he’s surprised that it wasn’t all Cartwright’s doing and Enigma played a huge role in pushing her over the edge. 

I feel like Alice will always be Alice, but they’re at least on their way to having some sort of relationship, especially after it was publicly revealed he is the father of one of “Gotham’s most notorious monsters” and he came to her defense. 

Alice has done her fair share of terrible things, but she is a victim of her circumstances. She’s a victim of a kidnapping, of trying to forge a new path on Coryana, and of Enigma’s brainwashing. It doesn’t make all the things she’s done right, but it helps to see her in a new light. 

With Jacob arrested for aiding and abetting Alice/Beth, he asks Mary to save both of her sisters, who he believes can become who they once were again. It’s a huge ask of Mary considering Alice/Beth killed her mother, but if there’s anyone who has the heart and will to do it, it’s her. 

After Roman’s people captured Jacob, Circe/Kate was able to escape to the Batcave where she endured an inner struggle between the two entities inside her mind. 

At times, Kate was able to recall things. And while she doesn’t have any memory of her sister, Mary, she does recognize Sophie. 

Honestly, Mary always gets the short end of the stick. I guess the point is to showcase how deep Kate and Sophie’s love was, but it’s a low blow not to recognize the sister who was always in your corner!

After Circe resurfaces, she manipulates Sophie in order to escape and confronts Roman about who she really is

Safiyah then tells Roman to tell her the truth and allow her to decide for herself. Roman’s plan is to re-introduce Circe into society as the face (ha, get it?) of his Rebirth line of cosmetics (and even had the perfect millennial story about Malibu and rehab to explain her disappearance), but will Kate/Circe be interested in that. 

Or will she try to become part of the #BatTeam again?

 Safiyah created a world of chaos when she visited Gotham and made sure that Alice paid the price for burning down her entire field of dessert rose. 

She didn’t even attempt to look the other way when Batwoman gave her the only remaining plant to rebuild her empire. 

When it came down to it, she took what mattered most from Alice — Ocean. Is he dead for real this time?

Aside from actually enjoying his character and what he brought to the story, I enjoyed his dynamic with Alice. 

Who would have thought we’d ever see Alice introduce a man to her dad? And how sweet was it that Ocean wanted to make a good impression?

Plus, I don’t want to see what happens to all the progress Alice has made if the love of her life is taken from her permanently. 

We saw how she spiraled by losing her family, and Ocean was one of the few people who accepted her and loved her for her; he didn’t try to change her into something she wasn’t. 

Roman may have revealed Alice’s true identity to the world, but it’s time someone reveals him as Black Mask. He’s done enough damage in Gotham. 

The episode also focused on Luke’s recovery post-shooting. He was looking for trouble by confronting Tavaroff, who proved that he’s quite the tool who can’t even play poker without cheating. And he’s a sore loser to boot. 

Luke may have lost his way temporarily, and it was interesting to see his “bad boy” side come out, but he’ll come around eventually. 

While he wanted to reconnect with his father, he’s needed in Gotham. In a city full of bad men, they need all the good guys they can get. We know this is going to lead to Luke becoming Batwing, which was ushered through a guest appearance from Arrow’s John Diggle (David Ramsey). Yay for a mini-crossover! I wouldn’t mind if he stuck around to become a mentor for Luke! 

Luke’s always been a superhero to his friends, but with the Crow’s dismantled, the city needs another vigilante more than ever. 

And I love that Ryan gave him the space he needed while refusing to apologize for saving his life. 

No one should ever have to apologize for that. 

What did you think of the episode? Can Alice/Beth truly be redeemed, especially now after Ocean’s murder? What will trigger Luke’s decision to become Batwing? Will Kate return or will she go to the dark side and become Circe?

And does Kate’s return mean a Ryan and Sophie relationship is out of the realm of possibility?

Share your thoughts below! 


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