Outlander Season 3 Review

  • Series Title: Outlander
  • Season: 3
  • Episodes:  13
  • Discs:  5
  • Network:  Starz/SonyPictures
  • Cast:  Caitriona Balfe, Sam Heughan
  • DVD: Widescreen DVD (R1, NTSC)

Season 3 of Outlander begins with Jamie and Claire separated and living completely separate lives. Jamie survives Culloden and joins up with a few additional survivors. The British army finds them and executes all the surviving “rebels” save Jamie. By an incredible act of luck, one of the British officers is the brother of an English officer whom Jamie spared a few years earlier. Owing Jamie a debt of honor he captures him and does not kill him. Jamie is on the run for a few more years, before being captured and sentenced to jail.

Claire meanwhile returns to her own time. She, her husband, Frank, and her daughter, Brianna, are living in Boston, where Frank is a history professor at Harvard. Claire is in a prison of her own, trapped in a loveless marriage. She eventually enrolls in Harvard medical school and becomes a surgeon, one of the first female surgeons in the US, at Boston General Hospital. But she and Frank are not happy. The discuss divorce once, but Frank won’t hear of it – fearing Claire will take Brianna from him. The second time the two discuss divorce, Brianna is eighteen. Frank intends to divorce Claire and marry his long-time mistress, a one-time grad student and now a linguistics professor. But Frank is killed in a car accident shortly after the discussion. Claire and Brianna return to Scotland and Roger, to try to find Jaime. They discover he survived Culloden and was jailed, but when the jail was closed, they find no evidence that Jamie was “transported” as an indentured servant.

Meanwhile, we discover what Jamie’s up to. Jamie had become the leader of the prisoners in his jail, and reluctantly befriended both governors of the prison, the second is John Grey whose life he had spared so many years ago. At one point, a man is found on the moors muttering about treasure and a white witch. This motivates Jamie to escape, which he does and he finds the island the man’s mutterings lead him to – but not Claire. He does find a treasure, but hides it again, taking only a single sapphire. When he’s recaptured he gives the sapphire to Grey, telling him the treasure box was empty. Much later, the prison is closed. Rather than turning Jamie over for transportation, Grey has him change his name and gets him a job as a groom (stable hand) in an English landlord’s house in England. Jamie does well there and eventually is bribed into having sex with the Englishman’s young daughter (it’s complicated). The girl is married off to a much older Earl and is soon pregnant. The Earl doesn’t believe that he’s the father of the child. The girl dies in childbirth, and during a struggle between Jamie, the girl’s distraught sister, and the two sisters’ parents – the Earl is killed. Jamie’s child, Willie is taken in by the sister. Soon after Jamie leaves.

Meanwhile, in Boston, Roger drops by – and tells Claire and Brianna he has found Jamie, he was a printer in Edinborough twenty years after Culloden. Brianna convinces Claire she must try to be with her one true love. Claire succeeds in her journey through the stones. She finds Jamie right away, and the two are happily reunited. Jamie is a printer, a smuggler, and also printing “seditious” pamphlets and helping what remains of the Scottish Rebellion. He’s also living in a rented room at a brothel. Claire, though surprised and upset, accepts everything as well because she loves Jamie so. She and Jamie catch-up on their twenty years apart. Claire shows Jamie pictures of his daughter.

However, one night, the exciseman comes calling and attacks Claire. In self-defense she kills him. At the same time, someone attacks Jamie’s nephew, Ian, at the print shop – during the struggle, the shop is set alight. Jamie is able to rescue Ian from the flames, but the shop is a total loss. Jamie, Claire, and Ian leave for the family estate. Once they arrive, Jenny, Jamie’s sister is extremely cold to Claire, not quite getting why she disappeared for so long.

Just as Jamie is about to reveal to Claire his last secrets from their time apart, two young girls rush into the room calling him “Daddy”. It turns out Jamie is married to Laoghaire MacKenzie. He quickly explains it was a marriage of convenience the two girls are from Laoghaire’s first marriage, and he and Laoghaire have lived apart most of the time of their marriage. Jamie consults Ned Gowan and confirms that because Claire was “missing” but not “dead” his own second marriage is null and void. But, to let him leave, Laoghaire demands alimony.

No problem, Jamie tells Claire and Ned – he knows of a treasure on a small island off the coast. They can get the treasure, go to France to sell the antique coins and jewels, and come back to pay off his other wife. But Jamie’s been in a fight and is injured and cannot swim to the Selkie Island. Young Ian offers to swim to the island instead. But a pirate vessel captures Ian and the jewels. Claire and Jamie discover the ship is Portuguese and probably going to Jamaica to sell Ian as a slave. They book passage on another ship.

The journey on the ship isn’t without issues – they are becalmed at one point. Then a British warship approaches, they press Claire into service as their ship’s surgeon to treat a fever on the ship. Claire recognizes the fever as Typhoid. Although the British ship loses many men, eventually the disease runs it’s course. But Claire discovers the young captain knows who Jamie is and instead of reuniting her with him in Kingston Jamaica, he intends to use her as bait.

Claire jumps ship at first opportunity and washes up on another island. She is bitten up by fire ants, becomes a bed for a python, and eventually meets a very strange defrocked priest and his mother-in-law. The priest offers to help her get to Jamaica “in a few days”. But he then complains one of his goats was killed “by a Chinaman” from a stranded ship. Claire realises this is “Mr. Willoughby” a friend of Jamie’s and a companion on their journey. She rushes across the island and is reunited with Jamie. They head to Jamaica to find Ian, forwarned that the Navy Captain wants to capture him.

In Jamaica, Claire runs into Geillis, who wants the three sapphires from the jewel box on Selkie Island so she can hear a prophecy about the “next king of Scotland”. She also bathes in goat’s blood and is just very, very weird. The Seer she hires is Margaret Campbell – a patient of Claire’s in Edinburgh when she was with Jamie (and he was a printer). The new governor of Jamaica is John Grey – friend to Jamie. Yes, all this dovetails the season nicely.

I’m not going to spoil the last two episodes, because the series’ does a really good job of bringing together these various characters from various times in Jamie’s and Claire’s lives. They do find, rescue, and escape with Ian in the same boat they took to Jamaica, but that boat is hit by a hurricane – still Claire and Jamie survive, and it’s a set-up for the next season.

Outlander is beautifully filmed and has excellent acting, especially the leads. This season paints a wide canvas of locations: 1960s Boston, Edinburgh in 1766, 18th-century sailing vessels, including a British Man’o’War, and 18th century Jamaica and nearby islands. The season is a bit timey-whimy, and plays with the ideas of predestination versus free will. On the other hand, Claire and Jamie are soul mates, destined for each other, and whatever the obstacles in their path they always overcome them to be together. It’s a beautiful, enjoyable and lovely show. Highly recommended.

Read my Review of Outlander Season 1 Volume 1.

Read my Review of Outlander Season 1 Volume 2.

Read my Review of Outlander Season 2.

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Book Review – Doctor Who: The Emperor of Eternity

  • Title: The Emperor of Eternity
  • Series: Doctor Who Companion Chronicles
  • Discs: 1 CD
  • Author: Nigel Robinson
  • Director: Lisa Bowerman
  • Characters: Victoria Waterfield, Jamie McCrimmon, Second Doctor
  • Cast: Deborah Watling, Frazer Hines
  • Date Reviewed on GoodReads: 4/16/2018

**Spoiler Alert** The Emperor of Eternity is a volume in the Big Finish Companion Chronicles line of audiobooks and audio plays. The Companion Chronicles feature stories told from the companion’s point of view and usually rather than being a full play in the audio format like most of Big Finish’s productions, they are a smaller, two-hander production. The Emperor of Eternity is a purely historical story featuring Victoria, Jamie, and the Second Doctor (as played on the Doctor Who television series by Patrick Troughton) set in Ancient China during the end of the Chin Dynasty in 200 B.C.

Victoria tells most of the story with assistance from Jamie. The TARDIS materializes in space, gets hit by an asteroid and the re-materializes in Ancient China to make repairs. But as the Doctor, Jaime, and Victoria wander while waiting for the TARDIS to repair itself, they come across utter devastation. It seems that the general for the emperor took the “falling star” as a sign of the gods’ displeasure with the village where the meteor fell, so he ordered the destruction of the village and the killing of the men, women, and children living there. The TARDIS crew is appalled, especially Victoria.

They meet a young woman and warrior who takes them to another village. There they meet a wandering monk. The people of the village argue about who might be a spy or assassin out to kill the emperor. Some of the people in the village insist that as strangers, the TARDIS crew, especially Jamie must be assassins. Jamie insists the strange monk must be the assassin because he doesn’t really look like a monk. But Victoria says that the village should show kindness to everyone. She says that she and Jamie and the Doctor are travelers, and no doubt they should show a holy man respect. The Emperor’s warriors also arrive. Victoria also convinces them not to hurt anyone. But they take the Doctor prisoner in the night.

The next morning, discovering the Doctor missing, Jamie and Victoria decide they must rescue him. One of the people in the village agrees to lead them to the Imperial City. They sneak in through the underground tunnels, that her father built. In the tunnels, they discover rivers of mercury, which freak Victoria out a bit, but they successfully get to the throne room. They discover the Doctor is fine, and that the Emperor has asked him to provide an elixir to grant him eternal life. But in the throne room, the woman who led them to the city kills the old man on the throne. She blames the emperor for her father’s death because the mercury vapors in the underground tunnels killed him. She is executed by the emperor’s general – and the old man turns out to be a decoy. Victoria is appalled by this turn of events and the death and violence. Victoria, however, still argues for clemency, for understanding. She shows sensitivity and caring for all. The emperor insists the Doctor take him to his machine of wonders, TARDIS, which would allow him to wander in eternity. The Doctor refuses of course.

The Doctor and company are sent to the dungeons. That night, someone arrives and lets them out and offers to help them escape. They make their way to the TARDIS in the foothills of the mountains, but Victoria insists they must warn the village, thinking the emperor might target them for allowing prisoners to escape. Near the TARDIS, they again meet the monk from earlier. The general arrives also and captures Victoria. Victoria insists the Doctor and Jamie should leave without her. The monk reveals he is the real emperor, who disguises himself to find out what the people really thought of his rule. He is impressed by Victoria’s kindness and caring – and angered by his general’s violent answer to everything. But most importantly, the emperor has had a change of heart. He no longer thinks he needs to live forever to avoid the wrath of the gods. And he is angered at how his general has exploited and harmed his people. He fires and executes the general, vows to be a better emperor, and lets the Doctor, Jamie and Victoria go to the TARDIS unmolested.

The Emperor of Eternity is a good story. It’s nice to have a purely historical story for a change – and Deborah Watling does a wonderful job telling the story as Victoria. Frazer adds to the story as Jamie. Overall, this is an enjoyable tale and I recommend it.

Find out more about Big Finish audios at their website: www.bigfinish.com.

Click this link to order The Emperor of Eternity on CD or Download.

Note: No promotional consideration was paid for this review. I review because I enjoy it!

American Gods Season 1 Review (Spoilers)

  • Series: American Gods
  • Season: 1
  • Episodes: 8
  • Discs: 3 (Blu-Ray)
  • Cast: Ricky Whittle , Ian McShane, Gillian Anderson, Emily Browning, Crispin Glover, Bruce Langley, Pablo Schreiber
  • Network:  Starz (Lionsgate, Freemantle Media)
  • DVD Format: Blu-Ray, Color, Widescreen

Here Be Spoilers – for the first season of American Gods.

The television series American Gods is based on the novel of the same name by Neil Gaiman, which I have read, twice. Since I read the book, I was familiar with the necessary background information for this series – and I still found it to be a very, very, very weird show, one that I wasn’t exactly sure if I liked or not.

American Gods, the show, uses a lot of extreme close-ups in its cinematography – these extreme close-ups emphasize the symbolic nature of the show. And since the show decided to have Shadow Moon as the POV character, and Shadow has no idea what is going on, the audience has no idea what is going on for much of the series.

The basics are these: Shadow Moon is in jail for “aggravated assault”, although it isn’t until episode six, which tells the tale of his wife, Laura, that we learn he attempted to rob a casino – we can surmise the “assault” was hitting a guard when he was caught. Shadow is due to be released within a few days and is released soon. He’s released a few days early – because his wife Laura died in a car accident. He sees Wednesday pull a con at the airport to get a free upgrade to first class, and when he is also bumped to first they meet and talk – and Wednesday offers him a job. Shadow declines, not wanting to be involved in anything shady so soon after his release from prison.

However, at his wife’s funeral, he learns the exact circumstances of his wife’s death, that she was having an affair with his best friend, and his friend also died in the crash. Shadow, left with nothing, takes up Wednesday on his job offer.

From there – the series diverts from the book. The book is a road novel, taking place largely in the Midwest, with Cairo, Illinois being of special significance. Although Wednesday’s big, black Cadillac is frequently seen, the television show doesn’t show much traveling. Instead, most episodes start with an opening story of how one of the Old Gods got to America – like any other immigrant. The series tells the story of the nation of immigrants through their gods. What the series doesn’t tell you that the novel does from the start is that the Old Gods from the Old World are at war with the New Gods. The series introduces us to a few new gods – Technical Boy, Media, and Mr. World – but they insist there is no war.

Wednesday, however, is trying to build an army of the Old Gods for the fight. And he’s not doing that well. It isn’t until the last episode of the season when Wednesday and Shadow arrive in Kentucky to speak with the goddess of Spring, Easter, that we learn who, exactly, Wednesday is – something that readers of the book remember, and is hinted at strongly in the first “story within a story” telling of the Vikings who landed in America, bringing their god, and then leaving. Yep, he’s Odin – and not a friendly All-Father Odin either.

What’s more surprising in the final episode is the story of Laura Moon (who rejects death) and the Leprechaun, Mad Sweeney. Sweeney had caused the death of Laura and Robbie (which makes it ironic that his lucky coin was the instrument of bringing her back) but he did so at the command of Wednesday – who needed Shadow. As Laura discovers, everything that happened to her and Shadow was manipulated by Wednesday.

American Gods is just plain weird – it drops you into a world with no guidance points whatsoever. Ricky Whittle is excellent as Shadow, and he and Ian McShane make for an awesome double act. In fact, if it wasn’t for Ian McShane’s light touch (half Paul Newman from The Sting and half Columbo) the show would be hard to take, it really would. But, on the other hand, each episode is set in a time and a place specific to the episode – so the show doesn’t have that “road movie” feel it really should. The series is also definitely R rated, though there is no rating on the Blu-Ray box (NTSC version). There’s considerably more sex and violence in the show than the book. Not that it wasn’t there in the book, but it was more subtle. This series seems to be cashing in on the Game of Thrones trend (something possible for a pay-extra cable station like Starz). I also didn’t like having to watch roughly 15 minutes of previews every time I popped in Disc 1 – with no ability to skip to the menu. I will watch previews once without prompting, but I hate autoplay previews especially when forced to watch them over and over (and with violent content for shows such as “Hannibal” too! Yuch!).

Anyway, ambivalent feelings about this one. I don’t think they quite caught the book. Ricky Whittle and Ian McShane are excellent though. I’m not even sure I’d get the second season whenever it may arrive. No recommendation.

Book Review – Doctor Who: The Exilir of Doom

  • Title: The Exilir of Doom
  • Series: Doctor Who Companion Chronicles
  • Discs: 1 CD
  • Author: Paul Magrs
  • Director: Lisa Bowerman
  • Characters: Jo Grant, Iris Wildthyme, Eighth Doctor, Claude
  • Cast: Katy Manning, Derek Fowlds (Claude)
  • Date Reviewed on GoodReads: 4/10/2018

**Spoiler Alert** The Elixir of Doom is a brilliant addition to Big Finish’s Companion Chronicles series. The Companion Chronicles tell stories from the point-of-view of the Companions, often filling in the gaps of the TV series, Doctor WhoThe Elixir of Doom features Katy Manning not only playing Jo Jones (neé Grant) but also playing the time-traveling adventuress, Iris Wildthyme. Jo is now married to Professor Jones and has left the Doctor. She has joined Iris in her time-traveling double-decker London bus and the two are off on an adventure. They materialize in Hollywood in 1936 and attend a Hollywood party, where they meet an actress famous for her monster pics. Both Iris and Jo have a past with her, or in Jo’s case, a future – as she and her Doctor meet Vita Monette in the 1970s, and save her from a vampire. Iris had met Vita a few years ago when Iris was an extra in Boadicea. Jo also sees a man in a velvet coat with curly brown hair at the party, a man who seems oddly familiar to her. Iris stops her from meeting the man.

Jo also catches part of a showing of Boadicea, only to spot Iris doing Semaphore in the background. Jo knows how to read Semaphore, the code performed with flags or arms. Iris was warning that Vita stole something dangerous from her – but then the message cuts off before Iris can give exact details. And, of course, Iris being Iris, doesn’t remember the warning – just that it’s important.

Jo and Iris return to Iris’s bus and read up on old film fan magazines. They realize the film that Vita is currently working on was a film that was never made. The film was never finished due to a horrible accident on the set. They also review the five famous monsters that Vita faces in her movies: Lizard Man, the Human Jelly, Leopard Boy, the Living Skeleton, and The Bloody Count (a Vampire). Coincidentally, Vita also has five ex-husbands.

The next day, Jo and Iris sneak their way on to the set, where Jo meets the Human Jelly, who really is a Jelly and not an actor in a suit. His name is Harold and he’s one of Vita’s exes.

Iris and Jo go to the wake/party at Vita’s spooky mansion, and discover her new husband, Claude, has taken some of Iris’s Elixir – an Elixir of Doom, it turns him into the Wolfman. Jo finds the other “monsters” locked-up in the basement and frees them. The Wolfman attacks Vita but doesn’t kill her.

The Doctor (as played by Paul McGann) is also at the party, and he lectures both Vita and Iris.
With the monsters free, and Vita injured but not dead, and Iris once more in possession of the Elixir, Jo and Iris leave in her bus. Jo realizes the mysterious man is the Doctor but doesn’t get to spend any real time with him. Jo also learns from Iris that she may be from Gallifrey, but she’s from the “wrong side of the tracks” and cannot regenerate.

I loved this story! Katy is one of my favorites as a performer for the Companion Chronicles and here she gets to play both of her Big Finish characters – and she does so brilliantly. I wish there had been a bit more of the Eighth Doctor though, causality be darned! Still, I cannot recommend this story enough. It gets my highest recommendation. I truly loved it!

Find out more about Big Finish audios at their website: www.bigfinish.com.

Click this link to order The Elixir of Doom on CD or Download.

Note: No promotional consideration was paid for this review. I review because I enjoy it!

Gotham Season 3 Review

  • Series: Gotham
  • Season: 3
  • Episodes: 22
  • Discs: 4 (Blu-Ray)
  • Cast: Ben McKenzie, Donal Logue, David Mazouz, Sean Pertwee, Robin Lord Taylor, Cory Michael Smith, Camren Bicondova, Morena Baccarin, Alexander Siddig
  • Network:  FOX (Warner Brothers Productions)
  • DVD Format: Blu-Ray, Color, Widescreen

The opening episode of Season 3 of Gotham brings in The Court of Owls, but then we don’t see them again, until towards the end of the season. Bruce meets the Court and gives in – giving them control of Wayne Enterprises and promising to stop his investigation into his parents’ murder. Meanwhile, James Gordon is no longer a police detective and is making ends meet as a bounty hunter, collecting the escapees from Indian Hill.

A new villain for the season is Jervis Tetch, whom long-time Batman fans will know as, the Mad Hatter. Tetch makes his Gotham debut at a club owned by Barbara and Tabitha. He appears to simply be a hypnotist and stage magician – but he has far greater control over his victims than an ordinary illusionist. Jervis Tetch approaches Jim and asks him to find his sister, Alice – weaving him a sob story about them being separated as orphans when they were children. But when Jim finds Alice, she is terrified of her brother and says he can control people. She’s also afraid because her blood is lethal and can turn people into monsters.

Alice ends-up dying (accidentally) at the hands of her brother. The death of Alice brings James Gordon back to the GCPD as a detective. However, Capt. Barnes ends-up infected by a drop of her blood. He goes crazy and starts to execute the guilty of Gotham, before being caught and sent to Arkham.

Meanwhile, Penguin becomes mayor of Gotham and is also running Gotham’s underground. He is successful as mayor, and briefly becomes happy – and thinks he’s fallen in love with Ed Ngyma – his new chief of staff. On the night that Penguin plans on telling Ed this, Ed meets a woman in a wine shop who looks just like Kristen, his old girlfriend whom he murdered. She doesn’t even freak out when she discovers that Nygma murdered his ex. Penguin threatens her to get her to leave – but she isn’t intimated by this either. So Penguin has her murdered.

Ngyma discovers his new lady love’s brake lines were cut, causing her car to careen into a train. He blames Butch (and Tabitha) but later is convinced by Barbara that it was Penguin. Nygma shoots Penguin in the gut and dumps him in Gotham harbor. Penguin, however, survives, and is healed by Ivy – now a young woman instead of a child, but with the mental attitude of an eight-year-old. Nygma becomes The Riddler.

Meanwhile, a cult has formed around Jerome – the Joker. The cult leader tries to bring Jerome back from the dead and fails. Later Jerome revives. He and his gang of Jokerz terrorize Gotham but are ultimately defeated.

After the Jerome/Joker attack, the plot focuses more on the Court of Owls. Bruce meets his clone from Indian Hill, but he escapes and reports to the Court. During the battle with Jerome, Bruce decides not to kill him and he makes a solemn oath to Alfred that he will not kill. Bruce and Selina meet her Mom, but she turns out to be a con artist who takes advantage of Bruce to get some money. Selina has a hissy fit and walks away from Bruce. Bruce is then kidnapped. He’s turned over to “Sensai” and his ninjas – more or less the League of Assasins, with the Sensai being a level below Ra’s al Ghul himself. With the clone at Wayne Manor, Bruce is brainwashed and trained to fight. After his brainwashing is complete, he’s taken to Gotham to destroy the “corrupt” city. The Sensai tries to get Bruce to execute the Court – but he is prevented (and the entire Court leadership is killed). Still, the court has had time to place its weapon in Gotham. The weapon is a bomb, loaded with a weaponized and aerosol version of the Alice Tetch virus. The bomb will be released in a public place – causing Gotham to tear itself apart.

Lee Thompkins returns to Gotham with her fiancé, Mario, who just happens to be the son of Carmine Falcone, the gangster. When Jim is forced to kill Mario to stop him from killing Lee – Lee cannot forgive Jim. Later Lee infects herself with the virus, buries Jim alive with a sample, and tells him to use it to get the strength to free himself. Jim resists for himself but when he figures out the location where the bomb will be set off, he takes the dose of the virus.

Meanwhile, Harvey Bullock gets Hugo Strange and Lucius Fox working on a cure for the virus. There is a confrontation in which the first batch of cure is destroyed, but they continue to try to make more, even though Jervis Tetch’s blood is a key ingredient.

Jim, Harvey, and the GCPD race to Gotham train station to stop the bomb. Bruce, held by Sensai, looks down on Gotham from Wayne Enterprises with the trigger in his hand. Alfred, Jim, and Harvey try to stop him. Unfortunately, for everybody, during another fracas – the trigger is knocked out of Bruce’s hand – and pressed. There isn’t enough time to stop the bomb and it goes off.

Bruce seeks out Ra’s al Ghul and finds him by the Lazarus Pit – in Gotham. Alfred follows. Rauch forces Bruce to stab Alfred then gives him the hint to use “the water”. Bruce, now finally freed from his brainwashing, and appalled at what he’s done, pours some water on Alfred’s wound and rushes him to the hospital. The penultimate scene is Alfred starting to wake up in hospital. The final scene has a young couple and their daughter being confronted by a mugger with a gun. The mugger is defeated by a masked man in black. We then see Bruce in black clothing, and a cape, standing on a rooftop gargoyle, guarding Gotham.

Season 3 of Gotham has a few themes – the most obvious one is madness, but it’s not the most interesting. What’s interesting is the theme that no one can be happy in Gotham. Any character who may have flitting moments of happiness – loses it. This is most obvious with Penguin, when he wins the mayoral race, without bribes, he is ecstatic. When he walks into the mayor’s office a few weeks later only to be confronted with a “press conference about his numbers” – he assumes it’s bad news. When the news is good – he’s happy. He even manages to fall in love. – Only to have everything taken from him again. And when Penguin is happy – he’s standing upright, his limp is less pronounced, but as he becomes less happy – he limps more and he doesn’t look good – physically.

But it isn’t just Penguin who goes through these transformations. Lee returns to Gotham, and to her job as medical examiner for the GCPD – even though she’s now engaged. She should be happy, and she should have stayed away.

Harvey ends up as acting captain, and seems to enjoy it – but there was a time when Harvey had also quit the GCPD – and started running a bar. That was his ultimate time of happiness.

Ed Nygma seems to be happy with his Kristin clone, but she quickly dies. And I found myself wondering just how much of a coincidence it was that they met, and they met when Ed was supposed to be on a date with Oswald.

Bruce and Selina have a moment – but then Selina gets angry at him, and leaves.

Pretty much everyone in Gotham cannot be happy – that’s the ruling principle of Gotham.

But this is still a film noir styled show. It’s about protagonists – not heroes. And sometimes even the villains can be just as interesting or more so than the “heroes”. It’s also violent. There are plenty of instances of someone walking into a room and killing everyone there – usually with guns (although the Court of Owls is appropriately enough cut to death by knives). But the violence is disturbing at times.

Gotham also continues to have incredible cinematography. The fight between Bruce and Jerome in the Hall of Mirrors is particularly well shot, avoiding clichés, while simply looking really cool. Early in the season, white graffiti bats appear on buildings. There’s a style to the filming that is reminiscent of the great film noir movies, and it’s just there, without calling attention to itself.

Overall, Gotham is still a good show, and well worth watching.

Please also see my Gotham Season 2 Review.

Please also see my Gotham Season 1 Review.

Book Review – Doctor Who: Ferril’s Folly

  • Title: Ferril’s Folly
  • Series: Doctor Who Companion Chronicles
  • Discs: 1 CD
  • Author: Peter Anghelides
  • Director: Lisa Bowerman
  • Characters: Romana I, Fourth Doctor, Lady Millicent Ferril
  • Cast: Mary Tamm, Madeleine Potter
  • Date Reviewed on GoodReads: 04/05/2018

Ferril’s Folly is a volume in Big Finish’s The Companion Chronicles series. The story is told as a two-hander by Romana, as played by Mary Tamm on Doctor Who during Tom Baker’s era as the Doctor, and the villain, “Metal Millie” played by Madeleine Potter. The Doctor and Romana land on the outer deck of a Folly, a British architectural feature – normally a purely decorative tower or object built on a lawn as a conversation piece. This folly, though is an observatory which features an advanced telescope. As soon as Romana joins the Doctor outside of the TARDIS, the TARDIS loses its precarious balance on the edge and falls to the lawn below. The Doctor and Romana meet a scientist inside the Folly’s observatory and his boss, Millicent Ferril – a former astronaut who was in a crash between her shuttle and a meteoroid. Everyone else died in the crash, and Millie required extensive reconstructive surgery, resulting in metal hands and other metal replacement joints. After losing her career, she traveled the world, then met and married Lord Ferril in England.

The Doctor and Romana soon discover Millie is under the influence of the Cronquist – an alien species that can control metal, especially iron. Controlled by the Cronquist, who controlled the meteoroid, Millie decides to help them invade Earth. Romana and the Doctor stop her. In the end, they disperse the Fourth Segment of the Key to Time (the meteoroid), to find it again later (in the aired story, “The Androids of Tara”). Millie, who had already killed her pet scientist, is killed in a fire that destroys the Folly.

“Ferril’s Folly” is a deceptively simple story. It’s basically an action piece without much depth. But it is nevertheless a fun listen. It isn’t often that the two-handers feature two women: a heroine and a villain. Also, the story at times overlaps – showing the same event from Millie’s point-of-view and from Romana’s. It’s a good story and worth a listen. The CD includes a trailer and an interview.

Find out more about Big Finish audios at their website: www.bigfinish.com.

Click this link to order Ferril’s Folly on CD or Download.

Note: No promotional consideration was paid for this review. I review because I enjoy it!

Book Review – Doctor Who: The Sentinels of the New Dawn

  • Title: The Sentinels of the New Dawn
  • Series: Doctor Who Companion Chronicles
  • Discs: 1 CD
  • Author: Paul Finch
  • Director: Lisa Bowerman
  • Characters:  Dr. Elizabeth (Liz) Shaw, Richard Beauregard, Third Doctor
  • Cast: Caroline John, Duncan Wisbey
  • Date Reviewed on GoodReads: 03/29/2018

The Sentinels of the New Dawn is a story in the Big Finish Companion Chronicles line. The story is told by Caroline John and Duncan Wisbey (as Richard) and features the Third Doctor as played by Jon Pertwee on the British television show. An older Dr. Liz Shaw is interviewed by a new UNIT soldier about “her involvement” in New Dawn. Liz explains that she both was and wasn’t involved and that there are no records at UNIT about New Dawn. Then she tells the story of herself and the Third Doctor going to Cambridge to check on Liz’s mentor, who has developed a time dilation device. Liz is both unsure if such a device will work as intended to allow time travel, and worried about the dangers. The Doctor declares the device won’t work for travel, but it will open a time window for observing the past or the future. However, the window cannot be moved, so it will only show what happens in the room.

No sooner than he says this than the device is turned on and he and Liz are sucked through a time corridor. They awake in 2014, where a Conservative far-right group known as New Dawn is planning a take-over of the world using nefarious means. They’ve used the time window technology to raise money, recruited the rich and powerful, and obtained a weaponized Ebola virus from an African dictator who has joined their cause. And the cause? To bring the world back to “perfect” medieval times, with the Sentinels as the absolute power and “leaders”. The Doctor and Liz are appalled. They meet another scientist who has doubts about the cause he’s joined. In the end, the Doctor, Liz, and their scientist ally defeat New Dawn and return to Liz’s present where they destroy the device and all of her mentor’s notes.

Liz finishes telling her story to the UNIT soldier and answers his questions. As he leaves – we learn who this “soldier” really is.

This is an excellent Companion Chronicles story, especially the punch-to-the-gut ending. Caroline John does an excellent job performing and telling the story. The story is interesting and relevant. I liked it very much. Highly recommended.

Find out more about Big Finish audios at their website: www.bigfinish.com.

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Note: No promotional consideration was paid for this review. I review because I enjoy it!