After more than a year off the air, AMC’s dystopian martial arts epic Into the Badlands has finally returned! And with it, so have these NOC Recaps. Speaking of which, I’m going to try to title each recap with a line from Hamilton because 1.) seriously, have you met me?; and 2.) the Badlands writers have basically challenged me as much. So, appropriately enough, the Season Two premiere is named after a lyric from “Yorktown.”
“I ran back in time because Zoom and my dad and things and I got to live with my parents and it was all good but then it wasn’t so I came back but everything is different and I want everything to change back.” – Barry Allen during this week’s panicked voiceover
Barry flips his shit so hard that he flips it all the way to Star City. All over Felicity. Who, like us, is like, “You just, like, run back in time? All the time?”
We’re back! I think? Barry Allen is living an alternate reality with both of his parents. He’s retained his powers, but he’s spent the last three months laying low, summoning courage to speak to Iris West, hugging his mom and dad, and watching a yellow-clad Flash take care of Central City for a change.
When Netflix announced a reboot of the Voltron franchise, the inner child in me jumped for joy. More, I felt an instant connection to my identity as an Asian American. You see, when I think of Voltron, I’m instantly transported back to the 5th grade where I spent my time insisting to my American friends that, in the Philippines, Voltron (and a live-action TV show that turned out to be Super Sentai) was a thing before the Power Rangers. My friends wouldn’t believe me and would only laugh harder when I’d proffer that not only was Voltron a thing, but that it was actually better than the Power Rangers.
Voltron is tied, then, to that part of me that identifies as distinctly Asian American and to finally see a reboot that introduces this great franchise to a new generation is such a treat. That the first episode starts off with such great quality makes it like TV lumpia for me. Clocking in at just over an hour, the ambitious attempt to set and sketch the universe that this iteration of Voltron in is not only given space via quality writing and animation, but also time in this outsized episode. More, a roster of recognizable names lead by The Walking Dead’s Steven Yeun as Keith, along with delightful surprise Rhys Darby as comic relief via Princess Allura’s (more on her in a bit) right-hand man, Coran.
One of the more enjoyable parts of Supergirl’s inaugural season is the refreshing and bold decision to place this National City hero squarely in the present as a Millennial. The bright and optimistic (and inclusionary!) perspective is drawn clearly in Kara’s idealistic worldview and personified by the bright and hopeful characters she has chosen to surround herself with (more on that in a minute). If Arrow is about the fight against a cold cynicism with The Flash about overcoming tragedy via the love of family, then Supergirl is about staring down the challenges of life with hope and optimism.
The strength of Supergirl the show, however, is in its ability to weave the moments that threaten its idealism with the technicolor moments of triumph its fans have come to savor. In that way, “Better Angels” does well in representing the thesis of Supergirl as it closes out its first year.
In the penultimate episode of the season, Barry can’t stop the feeling that he’s invincible since the Speed Force told him that it loved him and read him a Night-Night book about a dinosaur. He’s got that sunshine pocket. Got that good soul in his feet.
Even #Metapocalypse 2016 won’t throw off his game. The metahuman army that rallied together when Zoom outed the “disappearance” of the Flash on broadcast TV. Barry swoops in — a little too late, in my opinion — to bail out the Central City Police because EVERYTHING IS LITERALLY ON FIRE. And did I spy Earth-2 Hawkpeople?
“The Runaway Dinosaur” is a children’s book that our Flash’s mom used to read to him when he was younger about a lost dinosaur. Our Barry-saur is also lost, but in a place we’ve only been in passing: in the Speed Force. I think. What kind of noun is the Speed Force, anyways? Only Kevin Smith, the director of this episode, knows.
“My name is Barry Allen and I am the fas– nope, not yet.”
Now I know that there is a certain amount of suspended disbelief when it comes to this show, and this is one of those times when I can’t help but yell, “REALLY?” at my TV. In the absence of The Flash, Team Flash is using a hologram to trick the city and the city’s criminals into believing that Central City is still under Barry’s speedy protection. In reality, Cisco is using his Warcraft skills to control the projection as Barry runs around in a Tron suit. Iris is being as helpful as she can, but it’s just too damn ridiculous.
My name is Barry Allen, and I am the saddest man alive. The title of the episode is “Back to Normal,” but this is not the normal Barry Allen that we met on Arrow years ago. He hates buses and putting on clothes and when his coffee cup breaks, he looks like he’s going to burst into tears.
One of the best things about Barry Allen is how he recognizes and appreciates his support system. From the beginning, he’s been a team player: willing to ask for help, seek guidance, and collaborate. It’s one of his greatest strengths, which probably stems from the roots of the home he was raised in with Joe and Iris West. Barry knows that their support is what shaped him into the man he has become despite the tremendous, life-defining tragedy that struck him — like lightning — as a ten-year old.