Monday, May 10, 2021

Darth Vader #11

"Into the Fire" concludes as Darth Vader reaches the surface of Exegol in search of the Emperor. Although Vader fights off a few guards, and defeats a crowd of the Sith supporters shown in The Rise of Skywalker, Darth Vader #11 sadly doesn't offer any more context to the group on the Emperor's secret base nor reveal any more detail about them. Other than the one unexpected item Vader discovers in the laboratory, the base on Exegol offers no surprises or reveals (either because Greg Pak had nothing to add to the underdeveloped plot hole left from the film or wasn't given permission to fill it).

Star Wars: The Bad Batch - Cut and Run

The first normal-length episode of the series, "Cut and Run" sets up the template for what life on the run for Clone Force 99 (all voiced by Dee Bradley Baker) will look like. The team travels to Saleucami and introduces Omega (Michelle Ang) to former Clone Trooper Cut Lawquane (Dee Bradley Baker) and his family. It's a little unclear what help the Bad Batch hoped to get from the family as things shift almost immediately to the clones working to get the family off the planet which is now under Imperial control. The rest of the episode centers around the team forging passes to get the team off-world (rather than simply take them aboard their ship and drop them off anywhere in the galaxy, completely under the Empire's nose since they only discover the ship after the Bad Batch notify them as part of the convoluted plan).

Friday, May 7, 2021

The Human Factor

For decades the world has looked at the tension in the Middle East between Israel and its neighbors and wished for a peaceful solution. In the new documentary featuring interviews from the American negotiators involved, The Human Factor takes us back to the 1990s and the closest America came to brokering peace between Israel and its neighbors Palestine and Syria.

With access to members of the team who dealt directly with Yasser Arafat, Yitzhak Rabin, Bill Clinton, Ehud Barak, and others, director Dror Moreh's film offers a behind-the-scenes look at obstacles, struggles, and small victories (such as the Oslo Accords) that offered the hope of lasting peace only to ultimately come up short. Although Syria feels a bit short-changed here given the strong focus on Israeli's relationship to Palestine, and the film could do better in expanding on the last 20 years of after the 90s peace proposals finally fizzled out at Camp David, The Human Factor is an informative and engaging documentary from the perspective of those who lived through events with the added benefit of decades of hindsight to look back on what went wrong.

Thursday, May 6, 2021

Once and Future #18

Riding a dragon, Duncan, Rose, Bridgette, and the Shadow Secretary race to prevent the Holy Grail from falling into the hands of Merlin and Zombie Arthur. While successful, Nimue (or whatever she's referring to herself now) inserting herself back into the story to save her son has much larger implications that she could ever imagined.

Prodigal Son - You Can Run...

The manhunt for the escaped Surgeon (Michael Sheen) begins. The show teases the possibility of capturing Martin in a single episode, returning the show to the status quo. Instead, we get a couple of twists as it seems the Surgeon didn't think of everything. Malcom (Tom Payne) discovers he is more conflicted about the hunt for his father than he expected, especially after discovering one of his old toys in his father's possessions and discovering Ainsley (Halston Sage) has been secretly communicating with their father in the weeks leading up to his escape. In the end, Malcom is able to profile his father well enough to deduce his escape plan and capture both the criminals he escaped with, but the Surgeon slipped through his fingers as it seems Martin's journey took a far different path than anyone expected.