Legendary film and TV actor James Garner passed away in his LA home at the age of 86 due to natural causes. He has starred in several TV shows such as Maverick and the Rockford Files and films such as Marlowe, which featured Bruce Lee. Garner was being hailed as the next Clarke Gable or Cary Grant. He received an Oscar nomination and earned the highest honor with the Screen Actors Guild award back in 2004. James Garner will be missed by his family, friends, and the show business community worldwide as his contributions to the film and TV are cemented.

I wanted to get this book last year in 2013 when it was released in hardcover, but I didn’t get a chance to have one. This year back in April, I had the fortune to buy the softcover copy of this book from a local Barnes and Noble store. It’s about the early years of KISS from 1972-75 and it’s authored by Ken Sharp with Paul Stanley and Gene Simmons. Sharp also authored another of my favorite KISS books, Behind the Mask, which covered from the beginning up to the Farewell Tour. If you have that book, please do not discard it as it’s meant to supplement this book.

While it’s about how Paul and Gene have made their rock and roll dreams come true with Ace Frehley and Peter Criss, it’s also an insider’s view on what it’s like to witness the formation of KISS from the ground up to the groundbreaking live album Alive that launched their superstardom. Upon reading the book, I could not put the book down and I still can’t. As far as I’m concerned, this is the true KISStory book along with Behind the Mask.

The book is packed with rare photos from 1972-75 throughout the book and not exclusive to the colored inserts. With this being softcover, it’s more affordable than the hardcover one. No wonder Paul and Gene have talked about how they liked the early years with Ace and Peter because it’s one that they’re happiest in, especially Paul, whose favorite era is this and current lineup.

Unfortunately, the only negative I have is that there wasn’t much quotes from Ace and Peter and likely because of Paul and Gene having input. However, as long as Ace and Peter are quoted in the book it prevents the book from being one-sided like KISStory. Is this a high recommender for KISS fans? You bet. My suggestion is to sit down, listen to KISS Alive, and read this very book. You will not regret it.

Actor Casey Kasem has passed away due to declining health. He was 82 years old. Casey was a radio show that connected with America and  hosted a rock and roll television show in the 1970’s and 80’s to showcase the rock and pop acts. He was the equivalent to the late Dick Clark, who passed away in 2012. In addition he was also a voiceover actor as he did the voices of Shaggy of Scooby-Doo, Cliffjumper, Bluestreak, Teletraan-1, and Dr. Asrkeville from the original Transformers series. His contributions to voiceover animation and rock and roll are cemented. He will be missed by his family, friends, and the show business community.

Legendary model-turned-photographer Bunny Yeager has passed away at the age of 84 this morning. Bunny started out as a model in her own right until she became a photographer. As a photographer, she lets women get comfortable in their own skin. She was known for producing many well-known and iconic photos with the legendary Bettie Page during her time in Miami. Their partnership was legendary until Bettie Page left modeling in 1957 and the years after that between them were unkind. Bettie revealed that Bunny was stingy when it came to money. The pair never reunited and Yeager recently did interviews for the recent Bettie Page documentary, Bettie Page Reveals All. For many years she has lived in Miami, Florida from the 1950’s to now. Her contributions to the modeling world are cemented and she will be missed by her family, friends, and the modeling community worldwide.

As Arrow embarked in the second season, it was about Oliver transitioning from a vengeful killer to crusading hero and they did that through his actions. He killed one or two times, but they still had him on track to being the hero from the comics. He has changed his approach because of the death of his friend, Tommy Merlyn. It was what drove him to change. While he’s in that new approach, his old and new enemies he encounters were a reflection of what he once was back in the first season. The action in the second season was amped up when playing Green Arrow, but they still haven’t found a way to make his alter-ego Oliver Queen likeable like last season. I don’t think they progressed that in the present, but in the island flashbacks they sure did.

Diggle and Felicity were more involved in the action than they were in the first season. Diggle has a storyline with Amanda Waller and the Suicide Squad while Felicity is conflicting with her feelings between Oliver and Barry Allen. I’m glad neither of them are gone as they will be the core group for Arrow and different directions have been planted for them, especially for Diggle when he found out he has a child with his ex-wife, Lyla Michaels. I hope Diggle’s child is named John Stewart. Team Arrow expanded its ranks with Roy and Sarah as we need some variety in the group.

This season had more deaths than the first season. The people who were gone this season were Shado, Moira Queen, Sebastian Blood, Kate Spencer, and now Isabel Rochev. Mainly these are comic book characters and the showrunners have a tendency to do that.

The second season was also supposed to be the beginning of the Black Canary story, but the way they did it was controversial in that instead of Dinah Laurel becoming her they had someone else do it. That someone happens to be her long-thought dead sister Sarah Lance. Already she looks and fights like the Black Canary from the comics and she was a hit with viewers, but she was where Oliver was in the first season in that she kills. Her story is tied to Oliver’s more than Dinah Laurel’s.

This made Dinah Laurel a problem for the show in that they put her in things that made her more unlikeable than ever such as her drug problems and blaming her sister for stealing her life. Dinah Laurel was on track when she was investigating Sebastian Blood, but got off track with the drug problem story. She was even absent in several episodes. It wasn’t until the final few episodes of the season that she became useful and the finale saw her wearing the Canary jacket that gives hints of where she’s going in the third sesaon. Hopefully, they will correct the beginning of the Black Canary story.

Roy joins Team Arrow, learns of Oliver’s secret identity, and had a falling out that got him with the Mirakuru that gave him enhanced strength like Slade, but it made him uncontrollable until Oliver cured him of it. In the finale, Roy suddenly becomes good with bows and arrows and this became a source of criticism and rightfully so as they should have covered Roy’s training more instead of the Mirakuru that could have made him unlikeable. I’m glad he’s heading towards Red Arrow than Arsenal and I think the finale was Roy’s best moment than whatever he did in the second season.

After the first season of being an annoyance, Thea ends up being the voice of reason in the second season and she doesn’t know Oliver’s secret as Arrow. She started out running Oliver’s club until she broke up with Roy and learned the truth of her real father that resulted in her fiction with Oliver and Moira. Just before she can reconcile with Moira, Slade took that away from her when he killed Moira in front of her and Oliver. That set Thea on a dark path that led to her encounter with her real father, Malcolm Merlyn, and eventually leaving Starling City with him.

There many guest-appearances of DCU characters such as Bronze Tiger, Nyssa Al Ghul, Barry Allen, Vibe, Killer Frost, and Amanda Waller, along with returning characters like Huntress, China White, Deadshot, and Professor Ivo.

The main villains of the second season were Slade, Sebastian Blood, Isabel Rochev, and Amanda Waller. All four were after either Oliver or Starling City. Slade has surpassed Malcolm Merlyn in villainy in that he killed Oliver’s mother and took away his money and Queen Consolidated from him. No way did they kill off Slade as his fate was appropriate and full circle. He will be used again down the line, but he’s likely benched for a season and he’s likely no longer a series regular after the season finale.

The second season has moved Oliver forward more as Green Arrow when he was transitioning from killer to hero and the police have eventually accepted him. Is it better than the first season? Definitely. I’m looking forward to the third season to see what it brings.

Everything is coming to a head in this season finale with the long-anticipated fight between Oliver and Slade, who is the season’s villain. We see their fight in both the present and the flashbacks and in both of those showed Oliver coming out on top. Oliver is also faced with the choice of being either the hero or the killer once and for all, but he chose to become a hero and it was a great step towards becoming the Green Arrow from the comics. If he chose to become a killer again, then it would have been regression and would undercut everything they went through in the second season. We see Oliver being aided by Diggle, Felicity, Roy, Sarah, Nyssa, and the League of Assassins to counter Slade’s Deathstroke army and for Oliver it’s a struggle of getting help. Oliver and Felicity were on one side of not taking a life while Detective Lance, Sarah, and Nyssa were on the other in taking a life to do what’s necessary. It was cool seeing Oliver lock Slade in the island they were in and they call it the SuperMax, which may be a reference to a Green Arrow movie screenplay.

After being cured of Mirakulu, Roy gets a mask of his own and gets to fight alongside Oliver and the others with bows and arrows. There was criticism about his sudden prowess after spending a portion of the season with Mirakulu. They should have covered Roy’s training in bows and arrows. I get the sense that like Smallville’s season finales, this finale seems to be correcting some of the problems in the 2nd season. That’s not a good approach for a season and that’s why some of Smallville’s seasons were duds because of that.

Dinah Laurel has been great in the season finale, but despite her heroic actions she gets kidnapped by Slade and his army along with Felicity. It was great in seeing her try out the black leather jacket as it’s a hint of where she’s heading. But I wish they did the beginning of the Black Canary story better and I will touch on this in my season review. Dinah Laurel has a storyline for the 3rd season concerning the surprise event involving her father.

Diggle and Lyla have their own storyline in getting Deadshot’s aid and taking down Amanda Waller to stop her from unleashing the bombs on Starling City. However, Waller had a surprise revelation for Diggle concerning Lyla’s child and that will likely come into play for the 3rd season. I was hoping to see Bronze Tiger in the season finale since he was a part of the Suicide Squad.

One other storyline has Thea confronting her real father, Malcolm Merlyn, and she shoots him yet he survives with kevlar. You’d have thought that she would shoot someone else. Then she reunites with Roy briefly and after Roy heads out, Thea discovers bows and arrows and ends up leaving thus leaving a letter to him to finalize their breakup. It’s not a surprise to see Thea heading out of Starling City with Malcolm and I can see her becoming either Speedy or a darker archer of sorts to be used as Malcolm’s vendetta against Oliver for the next season. Of note, Malcolm Merlyn will be a series regular for the third season and I expect Sarah to be one as well along with Amanda Waller.

The island flashbacks have ended for now with Oliver defeating Slade and Sarah’s apparent death as they move towards Oliver in Hong Kong, along with Amanda Waller. I expect the third season flashbacks to be devoted to Hong Kong.

Great season finale and a great ending to the second season.

The penultimate episode of Arrow was mainly about Thea meeting her biological father, Malcolm Merlyn, who saves her from a Deathstroke soldier. Their meeting was not positive as Thea wanted nothing to do with him after what he did in the first season, but with Thea losing her home, money, the club, and Roy, she’s left with nothing but a dark path that’s laid before her. The scenes between them were heavily emotional. I can’t believe the episode ended with Thea seemingly shooting Malcolm when it should have ended with the Deathstroke army terrorizing Starling City and that would have given us a reason to watch the Finale.

Meanwhile, Oliver and Dinah Laurel have the makings of becoming the heroes we know provided if the showrunners stay true to the comics. Dinah Laurel has become useful in this episode as she learned the bow and arrow from Oliver himself. Last episode saw Dinah Laurel giving Oliver the speech, this time it’s Felicity’s turn. They need to make Oliver a lot more likeable – while I like his Green Arrow, I can’t say the same for his Oliver Queen. Justin Hartley nailed both personas in Smallville. As they go their separate way, Oliver and Felicity try to get the cure for Mirakulu while Dinah Laurel meets Sarah who makes her return since we last saw her.

Speaking of Felicity, that was daring of her to hit Isabel with a car as Diggle and Felicity were fighting. Her emotional scenes with Oliver tells me that she may be one of the characters to go in the season finale or she may go to the Flash spin-off that’s now greenlighted by the CW Network.

Sarah is getting a bit of a redemption story as she was in a place that Oliver was back in the first season and her heroic actions in rescuing several people proved that she is a hero. I wonder where that old friend was that she was supposed to get that she talked to Oliver about. They established Sarah being named the Canary, yet I thought it was going to be Black Canary.

A couple of DCU characters are gone – Sebastian Blood and Kate Spencer, who were working together to try to save Starling City. That throws out the idea of Kate becoming Manhunter in the show. Sebastian realizes what Slade is all about as he gives Mirakulu to Oliver, yet this has not escaped Slade and Isabel as Isabel took care of Sebastian. I would have thought that Dinah Laurel should be the one to take him down so the stuff between Dinah Laurel and Sebastian Blood throughout the season was all for nothing. So both Moira Queen and Sebastian Blood, who were running for Mayor in Starling City are now gone and neither of them are the right people to save the city in the first place. It’s a waste to go through all that.

Good penultimate episode overall as things are building towards the finale.