Arrow – Seeing Red review

If there was an episode that is a turning point for the show and the second season, it’s this one. On the surface it may have been about Roy’s Mirakulu rage that peaked, but it wasn’t. Later on that. We’ve found out from last season on what’s happened with Roy since he left the group as Slade puts Mirakulu in him. Roy has been attacking police officers left and right as well as his friend Sin. If there’s anyone that carried this episode, it’s clearly Thea who has reached her breaking point when she discovered not only her true parentage, but of what has happened with Roy. She confronted Roy and wanted him to kill her, but glad it didn’t happened.

There was sudden friction between Oliver and Sarah on what to do with Roy considering the fact that they may have a cure for Mirakulu. Oliver wants to save Roy while Sarah wants to kill him. In he end, Oliver got his way in saving Roy and Thea yet Sarah confessed she wanted to kill Roy as she leaves both the team and Starling City. Unfortunately, this doesn’t make Sarah different than Helena, whose known to kill her enemies. Sarah wanting to kill Roy is something that Helena would have done. In  fact, both of them are mirrors of each other. If Dinah Laurel discovers Sarah’s identity as Canary, this may cause her to take up the mantle but giving it her own spin that’s in line with justice. The producers were not kidding when they said that Oliver and Sarah will part ways.

Now comes the tragic spoiler – Moira Queen is dead at the hands of Slade just as she was about to tell both Oliver and Thea the truth and reconcile with Thea. Slade had Oliver repeat what happened at the island, yet the difference was that Moira stepped forward and sacrificed herself for Oliver and Thea. For comic fans like myself, this is something that had to happen as Moira was dead when Oliver was young. She had to pay for all the things she’s done in the flashbacks and last season. Everything she did was through lies, so it’s fitting she had to go. Now it’s up to Oliver and Thea to face the real world by themselves.

Things are only going to get worse for Oliver from this point onwards. One of the memorable episodes and a good one overall.

Arrow – The Man Under The Hood review

After coming off the last episode with Deathstroke, things begin to progress and heat up in the Arrow world. Oliver loses his company to Isabel Rochev and is on the verge of losing his fortune unless he can get Thea to sign the documents. Slade has struck Oliver’s team in the very last place they expect to be hit – in the Arrow Cave, which left Sarah in the hospital. This was where Dinah Laurel comes in after learning about Oliver’s secret as Arrow. Dinah Laurel learns more about Sarah’s ordeal at the island through her injuries she didn’t know about. She also questioned her jailed father concerning the Arrow’s identity, but the way her father answered it was subtle as we’re lead to believe he knows or doesn’t know. The end between Oliver and Dinah Laurel felt forced, but her reaction was one of surprise similar to Smallville’s Lois Lane.

Thea is at a breaking point with the family after learning her true father in Malcolm Merlyn as she plans to leave the family mansion and feels both Oliver and Moira are liars just like her dad. Oliver learns how and why Isabel got to where she is as it stayed true to the comics – she had an affair with Oliver’s father as an intern and her internship was terminated as a result. In the heat of the battle, Diggle shot Isabel and she’s injected with the Mirakulu, along with Roy Harper since the last time we saw him he left the group.

Slade is showing why he’s one of the top villains and his Deathstroke costume is awesome. However, I don’t see him as the top villain for the third season. It looks like the producers are getting many mileages out of Slade before they introduce a new villain for the next season. Another good episode as I feel the second season blows the first season out of the waters.

KISS Inducted Into The Rock N Roll Hall of Fame

KISStory is made and my favorite rock group of all time, KISS, has finally been inducted into the Rock N Roll Hall of Fame. Other acts inducted include Nirvana, Hall and Oates, Peter Gabriel, Cat Stevens, The E Street Band, and Linda Ronstadt. However, this is about KISS as the hall of fame only inducted the original lineup of Paul Stanley, Gene Simmons, Ace Frehley, and Peter Criss and with good reason – they formed the band, created the makeup, costumes, personas, and the stage shows, as well as making live albums cool for the record industry. They’ve influenced many rock acts, including Rage Against The Machine whose guitarist Tom Morello was the inductor for the group. The original KISS each made their speeches 2-3 minutes maximum and all of them came across pretty good. Gene paid tribute to Paul, Ace, and Peter as well as other KISS members who were not inducted. Peter brought up being breast cancer-free and making a shot at the current KISS lineup with his remarks about Ace and himself. Ace breaks the tension by being the funniest as well as bringing up being sober for 7-8 years. However, both Ace and Peter thanked Bill Aucoin, Sean Delaney, Neil and Joyce Bogart, Carol Ross, and Carol Kaye – the KISS team of the 70’s who were vital to KISS’ success. Then Paul was the last one and thanked Gene, Ace, and Peter as well as Bruce Kulick, Eric Singer, and Tommy Thayer. However, the fans booed Tommy and Eric and with good reason – they only want the originals and they got it. But Paul saved the best for last when he took shots at the Hall of Fame and dedicated the induction to the fans. With the drama going into the Hall of Fame, the original lineup miraculously put aside their differences by hugging and thanking each other.

Then they go to backstage where they took pictures togerher, but took no questions with the press, except for Ace and Tom Morello. This is exactly what I predicted – that the original KISS lineup would not play together, but rather accept the induction at best. A great way to cap the original KISS lineup.

There were some negatives, but none had to do with KISS. There was supposed to be an All-Star Jam involving Ace and Tom Morello performing AC/ DC’s Highway to Hell, but it didn’t happen because Bruce Springsteen and the E-Street Band took too long in the induction and performances. I heard some fans left during that time. Also according to rock radio host Eddie Trunk, none of the KISS members sat at the same table – Ace had his own table with Eddie Trunk, Peter had his own table, and Paul and Gene had theirs with Bruce, Eric, and Tommy.

Since this will air on HBO, I know that they edit out some things. I can see them editing out Paul’s speech the most since he took shots at the HoF. They could edit out Gene’s line about the critics. Ace and Peter’s speeches will likely stay intact. The HoF night may have belonged to Bruce Springsteen and the E-Street Band and Nirvana, but KISS and the KISS army can celebrate this long-overdue victory. Overall, I’m damn proud to be a KISS fan and member of the KISS Army!!

Farewell James Hellwig aka Ultimate Warrior 1959-2014

This is a tragic day for wrestling fans. Ultimate Warrior was one of my favorite wrestlers in the 1980′s and 90′s. The highlight was defeating Hulk Hogan for the WWE World title and the first face-painted wrestler to become World Champion and the first WWE superstar to hold both the World and IC titles.

Trained by Red Bastien, he broke into the business in 1985 with Steve Borden, who would become Sting, and become part of the quarter known as Powerteam USA where he and Sting were known as Justice and Flash. The other two members were Garland Donahoe and Mark Miller. Immediately the group dissolved and became the Freedom Fighters at Jerry Jarrett’s promotion. Because of the success of the Road Warriors, Borden and Hellwig wore facepaint and became the Blade Runners in the Mid-South/ UWF where they broke up. It was the turning point of their careers.

Hellwig went to World Class Championship to become the Dingo Warrior that would be the precursor to the Ultimate Warrior when he went to WWE in 1987. He caught on and his popularity grew to rival Hulk Hogan’s. Warrior held the Intercontinental title from Rick Rude before facing Hulk Hogan in 1990 at Royal Rumble and WrestleMania 6. After dropping the title to Sgt. Slaughter in Royal Rumble 1991, Warrior ended the career of the man who cost him his title Macho Man Randy Savage inWrestleMania 7. From that point onwards, his wrestling appearances in WWE were sporadic at best as he returned in both 1992 and 1996. In 1998, he went to WCW where he reunited with Sting to face Hulk Hogan and Bret Hart. It would be their only reunion. Hulk Hogan would defeat Ultimate Warrior in their rematch at 1998 Halloween Havoc. That was the last time Warrior wrestled until several years ago he defeated Orlando Jordan for an independent wrestling title and relinquished it thus ending his in-ring once and for all.

Warrior found his niche outside of wrestling to become a public speaker for conservatism as well as appearing in wrestling conventions. He was controversial in his statements and made many enemies in the wrestling business. Recently he returned to the WWE for a video game, DVD, a WWE HoF induction, signing a multiple-year deal to become WWE Ambassador, and the now-final appearance on Raw where he mend fences with those he didn’t get along with, including Vince McMahon and Hulk Hogan.

Ultimate Warrior is a one of a kind wrestling legend who went out on his terms and will be missed by his family, friends, and the pro wrestling community worldwide. Yes, the spirit of the Ultimate Warrior will live on forever and I’m proud to be an Ultimate Warrior fan.

Arrow – Deathstroke review

After the last two weeks that saw nods to the DC Universe with the Suicide Squad and Birds of Prey, we get back on track with the main season plot involving Deathstroke Slade Wilson. Last week’s Birds of Prey ended with Slade picking up Thea and starts with her capture that launches into Slade’s mission of destroying Oliver from all sides. He told secrets about Oliver to both Thea and Dinah Laurel while working with Isabel during the time she was absent in taking over Queen Consolidated from Oliver. As Oliver begins to reconcile with Moira, his relationship with Thea begins to fall apart when she learns about her true parentage. Team Arrow confronted Slade about Thea’s whereabouts and Oliver starts making questionable decisions that caused Roy to leave the group. A lot has moved forward in this episode than perhaps any other episode.

We get the return of Isabel Rochev and learn what she’s been doing from the last time we saw her until now. Now she’s working with Slade and Brother Blood, but I wish she didn’t become subservient as she can become a villain in her own right. I’m hoping she does once they get this thing with Slade out of the way. I can see her being pushed up as series regular for the third season and perhaps don a hood and goggles just like the comics. We find out that she can fight as well and I think she knows Oliver’s secret as Green Arrow through Slade.

Roy leaving makes the most sense since he’s heading more towards Arsenal than either Speedy or Red Arrow. The way it’s written, Oliver should have trusted Roy a lot more. While I like Green Arrow, the writers and producers gave me no reason to like Oliver Queen and every reason to dislike him. The original Justin Hartley version of Smallville has nailed him perfectly on both sides.

I don’t know why Thea would trust the word of Slade immediately after she barely knew him. We don’t’ even get to see their conversation. Also, they should have saved the moment of Oliver revealing his secret to Dinah Laurel and that was taken away with the end scene. Basically anybody outside of Team Arrow who knows Oliver’s secret would end up dead like Tommy Merlyn from last season. I can see Dinah Laurel being the one to go at season’s end. Also this episode and last week’s Birds of Prey is the start of Thea’s downfall as she may be heading down the path of either a superhero or supervillain and it can go either way.

In a way this felt like the season finale, but I wonder where they will go from here as we get a one-week break after this.

Arrow – Birds of Prey review

After last week’s lackluster episode involving the Suicide Squad, they corrected for this latest episode involving the return of the Huntress. This time Oliver gets involved in the A-plot of Helena getting revenge on her father and taking several people hostage, including Dinah Laurel who became an attorney again thanks to Adam Donner. The highlight of the episode are the fights between Black Canary Sarah and Huntress. It’s almost like the Justice League Unlimited where both Black Canary and Huntress fought. This is the Arrow version of the Birds of Prey and these two girls are not close to teaming up.

Someone on the boards came up with a good point concerning Oliver Queen and Green Arrow. While I like Green Arrow in action, I just don’t like how Oliver is written in the show as he comes across as hypocritical. The original Smallville version was never hypocritical and they got both personas down pat. Here in this version, it’s not there. Oliver is not making clear decisions as the threat of Slade is still looming and it’s affecting his judgment, such as telling Roy to stay away from Thea.

Speaking of the stuff between Roy and Thea, I could without that subplot but they had to include it because the end of the episode leads into the next one. Thea was well-written emotionally in dealing with the breakup with Roy and we see Roy’s reaction to it while dealing with Mirakulu inside him.

In all her appearances in this series, Huntress was better this time around and it’s a major improvement in both the acting and writing. Her time in the Dracula series helped. With her father gone, I’m interested to see where she goes from here and I understand she will return for the next season, which has just been renewed.

Dinah Laurel was not annoying in this one and she just became an attorney again. This is the producers and writers way of correcting some of the mistakes in the way she’s written this season and the mistake they made in having her being fired from her job. However, I still don’t see how she will become Black Canary convincingly and I thought that Sarah would reveal her identity to Dinah Laurel. Basically this episode was about most of the girls than Oliver – Dinah Laurel, Sarah, Thea, and Helena. Overall, a much better episode than last week’s Diggle-centric Suicide Squad episode.