What I Watched Today: Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. (episode 3) & The Flash (episode 1)

Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.:

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Oh boy are they making some moves on Agents of SHIELD. I had hoped when Donnie Gill/Blizzard made his appearance during the first season of the show that they wouldn’t have bothered to set up a powered character like that if they didn’t have future plans for him. Well, guess what, Blizzard has returned! And with his origin already established, he spends the entire episode with powers. Better still is that while the situation with him this episode was resolved, they made sure to leave it open for the character to appear again. All this gives me some actual hope that the Graviton plot from season one will pay off in the character’s appearance at some point down the road. It’s a nice feeling to have.

Then there’s Hydra. There were hints last week with the Absorbing Man that brainwashing was a thing Hydra was doing, but this week it was actually a major focus of the episode. It’s nice to see that after appearance in two Captain america movies and the first season of the show, that Hydra is still finding ways to become creepier and scarier. And with the revelation that Simmons is working undercover with Hydra for SHIELD (using their tricks against them), that brainwashing becomes a very tangible and terrifying threat to a character it’s kind of hard not to like. I just hope they don’t feel obligated to try and recreate the Double Agent Ward tension from season one.

Speaking of Ward, he is back for more questioning this week, but he was not the star of his scenes. That prize goes to Fitz. They first meeting between these two since ward tried to kill Fitz was everything it should have been and even more than it needed to be. It definitely exceeded my expectations. Maybe I shouldn’t, but I like that the had Fitz edge towards the dark side in this confrontation. Hopefully they won’t be afraid to push his character even farther as the season progresses.

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The Flash:

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The wait is over. Ten months after first appearing on episodes of Arrow, Barry Allen’s own show is here, and it is a lot of fun. First thing’s first, Grant Gustin as Barry Allen. Not that I particularly had any doubts about him after his appearances on Arrow, but with him not being the central character at that point, I don’t think we got the full scope of his ability. After this episode I have no lack of confidence that he can both carry this show for as long as it runs and pull off anything that can be asked of Barry Allen. The Flash is another matter though. Not that there was any problem with The Flash moments here, but we didn’t really see him get into a fist fight or anything like that, just run really fast.

Now, lets talk about the world. All the principle elements from the (current) book seem to here (I can’t speak to pre-New 52 Flash). Barry’s father is in prison for his mother’s murder, Captain Singh is on Barry’s case, and Iris West is dating Eddie Thawne. On top of that we’ve got Caitlin Snow (Killer Frost) and Cisco Ramon (Vibe) working at S.T.A.R. Labs. Considering the explanation for powered characters that’s established this episode, I have to wonder how long it will be until one or both of those characters discovers they have some new abilities. Speaking of powered characters, we can’t forget the villain of the episode, Clyde Mardon. Recognize the name? Then you’re a bigger fanboy than me. In the comics, Clyde Mardon is the brother of the New Earth Weather Wizard, Mark Mardon. On the show, Clyde gains weather control powers in the same storm that led to Barry gaining his powers, while his brother appears to have died (though I won’t be shocked if another Mardon turns up later on). And lest we forget, the smaller references, like a Grodd nameplate hanging off a busted open cage. The big one though is a special one in the last scene of the episode that I’m not going to spoil in case anyone hasn’t watched yet. But let’s just say that the word “crisis” is involved.

Finally, let’s talk about Stephen Amell’s brief cameo. I’m not going to deny it, this scene is corny as hell…I mean it’s totally “cool.” Be that as it may though, it definitely made me laugh. I also think it was a pretty important scene and a good way to really start Barry on the path to superheroism. With Captain Cold, Heat Wave, Firestorm and inevitably Reverse-Flash on the way I am totally on board with this show. Let The CW/DC universe continue to grow!

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What I Played Today: Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor

Continuing my way through Shadow of Mordor, I actually streamed about an hour of the game both Tuesday and Wednesday morning (Atlantic time) on Twitch. the first stream split oddly in the recording so I didn’t bother uploading it to YouTube, but you can find the recording of the second stream below for your enjoyment.

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