Hawkeye: Echoes

3.5/5

Written by Luke Barnes

Summary

Clint, played by Jeremy Renner, and Kate, played by Hailee Steinfeld must escape their bondage whilst being pursued by new character Echo, played by Alaqua Cox.

I think this episode was a big step up from the previous two mainly because Kate’s parents were barely in it and it focused on action and advancing the plot rather than mindless teen angst filler.

I thought Echo was done marvellously well and can see why she is getting her own show. Her origin story immediately makes the audience warm to her and hate Clint, honestly the series as a whole makes Clint worse as he faces no consequences for being a mass murder; hopefully he will face some kind of justice by the end of the series.

I also enjoyed the series continuing the tease out Vincent D’Onofrio’s Kingpin returning the MCU, I hope they actually deliver on this and don’t full a Boner with this one as well, as I think that would really start to annoy the fans as the series clearly knows what it is doing.

I think the downside of this episode for me was the action sequence as tonally it was all over the place. The most teased trick arrows feel naff and also Kate seem unphased at the prospect at blowing up a truck full of people with one such trick arrow which I thought was a strange bit of character development.

Overall, better than the first two hopefully it keeps this pace and we don’t have to suffer through anymore family scenes with Kate’s parents.

Ps. When I say parents I mean mum and step father, just thought I would specify.

Pros.

Echo

Clint’s emotional moment with his kids

Echo’s back story

The use and restriction of sound

Cons.

Issues with the action sequence   

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Chucky: Twice The Grieving, Double The Loss

4/5

Written by Luke Barnes

Summary

The kids reel after a series of deaths, meanwhile Junior, played by Teo Briones, turns to the dark side.

In many ways this week feels like a build up to the finale, which isn’t necessarily a complaint as there are still a lot of fun moments here. This episode seems to be concerning itself with setting up all the pieces for the final showdown and what a show down it will be.

For the most part this episode is strong, a lot of good moments probably the best of these being Logan’s, played by Devon Sawa, death as it is brutal and memorable and will be one of the defining moments of the series for sure. Moreover, there is another excellent flashback wherein we get to see Fiona Dourif look eerily like her dad and nail the performance once again.

However, this episode is held back from a higher rating by two stupid narrative the decisions. The first being Andy, played by Alex Vincent, deciding to leave his adoptive sister, played by Christine Elise, behind and go on alone. It makes no sense why he would do this; the show wants us to believe he is doing this as a means to protect her yet he brought her back into this world in the previous films so he was fine with endangering her then. It just seems like you would want all hands on deck for the final showdown, no doubt she will conveniently show up. The other being Devon, played by Bjorgvin Arnarson claiming to be done and giving up, only to a few minutes later be back investigating again. This to me just felt pointless and like needless drama to pad out the runtime of the episode.

Overall, good but not great.

Pros.

Logan’s end

Another strong flashback scene

Fiona Dourif

The ending and what it sets up

Cons.

Dumb decisions.  

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Hawkeye: Hide And Seek

3/5

Written by Luke Barnes

Summary

Hawkeye, played by Jeremy Renner, briefly teams up with Kate Bishop, played by Hailee Steinfeld in order to defeat The Track Suit Mafia and free themselves from the grip of New York’s Underworld.

This episode was better than the first, not hugely so, and certainly nowhere near the level of other Marvel shows but it was a small step in the right direction. Why? Well because things actually happened here and the series covered more than just the inner squabbles of Kate’s family. I would very much like the series to leave her family behind and focus on her and Hawkeye taking down the mob.

Thankfully for the most part they ignore the murder mystery aspect and focus more on Hawkeye’s efforts to stop the Track Suit Mafia and get the suit back, which leads to two entertaining scenes. The first being the larping scene as having such a self-serious character as Hawkeye pushed into this silly situation is just funny no matter how you slice it. The other is of course the final scene introducing us to Echo, played by Alaqua Cox, which is fun as it teases out further heroes in the MCU and expands out the coming Daredevil mythos.

I still truly believe the major thing holding this show back is the family melodrama. Whenever I see Vera Farmiga’s mother character or her finance come onto the screen I turn off as I don’t want to watch another family spat, it was tiresome to begin with, now it is just annoying.

Overall, slightly better but still a long, long way to go.

Pros.

Echo

The larp sequence

The wider universe teases

Cons.

Still too much family drama

The pace is still deathly slow

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Hawkeye: Never Meet Your Heroes

2.5/5

Written by Luke Barnes

Summary

Kate Bishop, played by Hailee Steinfeld, has her world turned upside down when she discovers and wears Hawkeye’s, played by Jeremy Renner, Ronin costume from Endgame causing her to become hunted by The Track Suit Mafia.

I think coming off the bat of the other Marvel Disney + shows this one felt disappointing. I appreciate the return to a more street level affairs but this episode is so deeply slow paced that it is almost a slog to get through. For the most part we are dealing with Kate’s family drama, which is neither interesting nor engaging: most of the scenes therefore drag on and on and you are left wishing for something interesting to happen.

The murder mystery angle doesn’t really come into effect until the end of the episode but it is mildly interesting at best, again from everything we have had before it feels very low stakes and honestly it would have been more interesting if Kate began investigating the criminal underworld of New York in order to find out more about The Track Suit Mafia and just left the mystery alone.

Vera Farmiga is in this series for some reason, she doesn’t do anything other than serve as a nagging mother figure for Kate, clearly the writers aren’t very good on this one, and Farmiga’s character is relegated to an annoyance whenever she does show up on screen.

Hawkeye is in this episode but he mostly doesn’t do anything either, he goes to an Avengers musical………. In my mind he only really appears for the last 5 minutes when he comes in to save Kate.

Overall, an incredibly slow start, with a weak mystery and annoying side characters. Of course it is watchable and Steinfeld is promising but the series as a whole really needs to improve.

Pros.

Steinfeld

The ending

It is watchable

Cons.

Vera Farmiga

The family drama

Terrible pacing

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Tiger King Season Two: Series Overview

3/5

Written by Luke Barnes

Summary

All of the supposed Tiger Kings and Queens are back for a follow up.

The biggest question I have for this show after watching it is did we need the second season at all? What did it add? In many ways, it just showed us more of the same and doubled down on a lot of the themes and narrative through lines of the first season. Including more of the unethical issues that many decried the first series for, to see an example of what I and others are talking about consider the issue of bias within the second season of Tiger King. There are clear heroes and villains in the overarching narrative of the show and this is less to do with who is or isn’t guilty but rather who the public latched on to. Yes, I am talking about Joe Exotic. The second season is incredibly in love with him, and decides to ignore his rather obvious animal abuse charges and instead paint him as some kind of falsely accused, for the murder for hire plot, folk hero whilst painting all of his enemies even the ones not convicted of any wrong doings as villains. You can see why Carole Baskin didn’t want to come back.

In the sense of a true documentary this series is and always has been an abject failure. It does not care about the truth but rather what is the most entertaining narrative, as such it is more akin to reality TV. It is in this sense I come to my review score because whilst this season did not need to exist I did find it entertaining whilst it was on, I enjoyed the roadshow as much as anyone else so whilst I can stand here and say it is bias therefore it is a bad documentary series, I think it is already aware of that and doesn’t care.

Furthermore, in some ways this second season provided comfort to me as we got to see a lot of the worst characters from the first season go to prison, or be on their way there, which restores some of my faith in humanity.

Overall, though it was unneeded and incredibly bias, I did still enjoy my time with the series.

Pros.

Dumb fun

The absurdity

Seeing some of the cruel animal abusers facing consequence

Cons.

The clear bias

It was needless

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Chucky: Cape Queer

4.5/5

Written by Luke Barnes

Summary

The gang realise Chucky, voiced by Brad Dourif, is going to be harder to kill then they thought. Meanwhile series main character Andy, played by Alex Vincent, returns to the fray.

I think now that the series has all its pieces together it is really going places, I am excited to see where this series will take us and how that will in turn effect the wider Child’s Play universe. Hopefully we will get one hell of a showdown between Chucky, Tiffany, played by Jennifer Tilly, a possessed Nica, played by Fiona Dourif, and the forces of good in the final few episodes of the series.

I think Fiona Dourif is quickly becoming the star of this series. I forgot in my review of last weeks episode to talk about just how good of a job this series does of having her play the role of Chucky, in human form, in the eighties. They make her look so much like her dad it is a little eerie, the resemblance is uncanny. Moreover, on top of that Dourif also really excels in the role and really nails the mannerism.  I would say she is better used in the flashbacks then in the present day scenes as she is given less to do in those.

Additionally, outside of Nica I also think the series finally seems to have a handle on who these new characters are and what it wants to do with them, as in previous weeks they have verged on annoyance, but here they seem to be well used and contributing.

Overall, the series is getting even better as it progresses.

Pros.

Fiona Dourif

The threat

The coming showdown

Andy is back

The series finally knows what to do with the new characters

Cons.

Fiona Dourif isn’t given much to do in the non-flashback scenes, she deserves more screen time.

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Big Mouth: Season 5 Overview

4/5

Written by Luke Barnes

Summary

The kids face off against love and hate.

I thought after last season this was an improvement, that is not to say that last season was bad more that it went a bit too heavy on its themes of anxiety and future dread, this I felt did a better job as it tackled and did justice to its themes whilst keeping things moving at a fairly nice breezy pace.

Moreover, I thought the jokes were more on point this time around as it returned to the comedic ability of earlier seasons having me laughing quite a few times per episode. In terms of emotional weight I think this film tackles teenage love, unrequited love and hate all quite well having the characters go on believable journeys throughout the season. I enjoyed the scene where Nick, voiced by Nick Kroll, ventures into the monster world to find out who the boss is only for it to be the real life actor Nick Kroll, I thought the metaphor of you being in control and being the boss of your emotions was apt and quite poignant for the show.

If the show was going to end I would say that scene should have been the last of the show.

Moreover, I enjoyed the Christmas episode quite a bit as well. At first the idea of an anthology of stories seemed to be irritating as it was taking us out of the action, however it actually served as quite a nice pallet cleanser and had a number of great segments.

Overall, a strong season that saw a closer return to form for the show.

Pros.

It is funny

It is heartfelt

The Christmas special

The live action scene

Cons.

On occasion it belabours its points and drags them out for too long

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Chucky: Little Little Lies

4/5

Written by Luke Barnes

Summary

The kids do battle with Chucky, voiced by Brad Dourif, and think that they have killed him how wrong they are.

I enjoyed that this episode brought back not just Tiffany, played by Jennifer Tilly, but also Nica, played by Fiona Dourif. It is nice to see the series tying into the wider Child’s Play universe hopefully we will also get the return of other characters from previous films as well.

I thought Fiona Dourif did a terrific job of playing a possessed Nica, she was both chilling and also endearing when she momentarily broke free. I am interested to see where the series is going to take her and see how she will become a bigger part of the narrative- I have high hopes.

I thought that this felt like a very middle of the road sort of episode, it was nice to see the kids get there moment of victory even if we all knew that it was never going to last as there is always another doll body for Chucky. However, it was nicer still when all hell broke loose during the assembly and everyone learnt things were far from over.

Overall, a strong episode with a lot to love for fans of the franchise, maybe a little slow in parts but great for the most part.

Pros.

Brining back Nica and Tiffany

Fiona Dourif

The wider Child’s Play universe

The ending

Cons.

A little slow in parts, the parent’s storylines are just not interesting

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Star Wars Visions: Lop And Ocho

3.5/5

Written by Luke Barnes

Summary

On a distant world a family is driven apart by the influence of the Empire, with one young alien Lop, voiced by Seiran Kobayashi, forced to take up arms to keep her family together.

I enjoyed the focus on family here, I always think Star Wars is at its best when it is telling familial tales of fractured families. In that regard I really bought the father daughter dynamic. However, I struggled to believe the sister dynamic as I thought it did not receive enough development. In the final shots of the episode when such a key focus is placed on family and sisterhood the payoff doesn’t land as the two characters have not really spend much screen time together.

In terms of animation I thought this one looked good and I enjoyed how stylised the battle scenes were, particularly the when the lightsabre got involved. The battle sequence felt just the right length to convey the importance of the moment and the emotion, without beginning to feel repetitive.

My main gripe with this episode comes back to things I have already said here, the pacing is off. This episode could have done with being ten minutes longer, it could have scored higher if it had been as it could have devoted more of its runtime to the sister dynamic and shown the sway of the dark side more than just implying it. However, as it is it just feels like it is missing something.

Overall, a good episode, but one that could have been improved by being longer.

Pros.

The father daughter dynamic

The animation style

The focus on the Jedi and Lightsabres significance

The ending

Cons.

The sister dynamic needed more work

It felt like it was missing something on the whole

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Star Wars Visions: The Elder

4/5

Written by Luke Barnes

Summary

A Jedi and his Padawan discover a Sith whilst investigating a disturbance in the force.

I am a big fan of Studio Trigger and was disappointed with their other episode The Twins, so I am glad to see that they make up for it here. The Elder is easily one of the best episodes in the series, as it meditates on what it means to be Jedi and Sith, and explores how easy it is for one to fall down a dark path.

Furthermore, this is also the best episode from an animation standpoint as it is the most visually interesting and unique, the animation of the former Sith lord is incredible especially what they do with the facial animation. Moreover, the battle scene and later the dissolving scene are also really well done and striking. I would say of the seven episodes I have seen so far it probably has the best fight scenes, or is certainly in the same league as the first episode in this regard as they both have great sequences.

I think the concept of exploration is often underused in Star Wars as a whole, with the same few worlds recurring, as such I like the idea of this Jedi and Padawan just exploring the Outer Rim looking for dangers and I think it would make for an excellent solo TV show. Each week a new planet and new characters.

Overall, a strong episode that nails the animation and perfectly taps into the spirit of Star Wars.

Pros.

The fight scenes

The animation/ particularly the facial animation   

The ending

The sense of exploration and freshness

Cons.

It leaves too many questions unanswered

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