Season 1, Episode 4 – Feud finally manages to strike the perfect balance between sexism, feminism, actual history, and campy trash in “More, or Less.” With defined narrative arcs for every character, the episode explores the challenges of mixing art and business in the entertainment industry while still incorporating the over-the-top melodramatic moments that the series was created to serve up.
Browsing: Dana Leigh Brand
Season 1, Episodes 9-13 – Just like its main character, Iron Fist ultimately fails to find its purpose. The series props itself up with pieces from previous Marvel Netflix shows and never tells a coherent story of its own. A few characters are enough to save the show from complete disaster by providing interesting growth as a counterpoint to Danny’s aimlessness.
Season 2, Episode 9 – The Expanse is full of science, spies, and political briefings in “The Weeping Somnambulist.” The Rocinante crew takes a back seat to Bobbie and Chrisjen investigating the battle on Ganymede station. The episode deftly connects all the disparate plotlines while giving everyone equal time to move their stories forward.
Season 1, Episode 7 – Legion finally escapes its narrative loop in “Chapter 7” but still doesn’t follow through on the story it started telling. With just one episode left in the season, the series can’t seem to choose between cohesive plot and auteur stylistics.
Season 1, Episodes 5-8 – The second third of Iron Fist picks up a bit with the welcome inclusion of Claire Temple and the development of a few character arcs. Unfortunately, the series still lacks a coherent narrative even more than halfway through the season’s run. Iron Fist is watchable but too messy to be truly great.
Season 1, Episodes 1-4 – The first third of Iron Fist suffers from off-putting character introductions, a lack of motivation, and painfully slow pacing. While there are glimmers of what could be an interesting story, the first four episodes are largely devoid of plot and show no sign of narrative structure either within episodes or in the season overall.
Season 1, Episode 3 – Feud flails by trying to sanctify the nature of motherhood rather than delivering on the promise of titling an episode “Mommie Dearest.” The series wastes all the dramatic potential of Joan Crawford’s and Bette Davis’ notorious parenting in a half-hearted attempt to soften both women, ultimately further cementing itself as a sexist nightmare.
Season 2, Episode 8 – The Expanse continues to delight with another well-executed, tightly written episode that moves forward its solar-system wide political plots while leaving plenty of room for the characters to process events and grow. “Pyre” touches on refugees, revolutionaries, and resistance while simultaneously being a mystery story about aliens.
Season 1, Episode 6 – Legion spins its wheels in “Chapter 6” offering an interesting alternate universe without providing any new information, character growth, or anything else to move the story forward. While the unreliable nature of the narrative is intriguing and the aesthetics are always pleasing, the series needs to tighten up and actually tell a story.
Season 1, Episode 5 – “Chapter 5” of Legion tries to undermine reality and just undermines itself. Showing a lack of both character development and the series’ usual style, the plot ties itself in knots that ultimately unravel by story’s end. Though the episode itself does not gel, it lays groundwork for the rest of the season to build on.
Season 2, Episode 7 – The Expanse shows off its political and social strengths in “The Seventh Man,” tying together threads of revolution, mutually assured destruction, and exploitation in a rich, evocative package. The episode sets the stage for the season’s second half story arc by both revisiting old beats and introducing some new ones.
Season 1, Episode 4 – Legion opts for a more objective viewpoint than usual in “Chapter 4,” adhering more to linear time and less to trippy stylistic sequences. That objectivity plays to the episode’s benefit, utilizing a tight narrative structure and excelling at moving the story forward with the characters’ specific superpowers.
Season 2, Episode 6 – The Expanse delivers a somewhat messy but ultimately satisfying episode with “Paradigm Shift,” featuring technology, social strife, and interplanetary warmongering. The episode generates plenty of conflict within the character groups allowing everyone to demonstrate where they stand on moral issues and international politics.
Season 2, Episode 5 – “Home” weaves together three sides of the same story, keeping the tension high and stakes higher all the way throughout. The episode provides the healthy doses of politics, pathos, and action that The Expanse is so good at delivering.
Season 4, Episode 15 – After three and a half years, Agents of SHIELD finally fulfills all of its immense potential in “Self Control.” Betrayal, uncertainty, and personal agency are at the forefront of the troubles the team must contend while also deeply examining issues of artificial intelligence, consciousness, and personhood. This is SHIELD at its best.
Season 1, Episode 2 – “Chapter 2” of Legion continues all of the style, depth, and intrigue of the first episode but adds in more structured bits of plot and begins to anchor the series’ story arc. David has to deal with layers of trauma and mental illness while navigating his newfound superpowers and new situation in the mutant enclave.
Season 2, Episode 4 – The Expanse delivers a heavy dose of exposition and big picture plot in “Godspeed,” spending the majority of the episode on logistics. All of that leads up to such a tightly written final act that it largely justifies all of the setup and leads well into the next episode.
Season 4, Episode 14 – “The Man Behind the Shield” features everything from heartfelt science philosophies to hilarious action-packed flashbacks, the episode serves up the best that Agents of SHIELD has to offer and leaves you begging for more.
Season 1, Episode 1 – “Chapter 1” of Legion showcases its beautiful style, unconventional narrative structure, and superpowers to full effect. With a story that functions equally well on its own terms and as a launching point for the rest of the series, the episode is a cinematic masterpiece.
Season 2, Episode 3 – The Expanse experiences “Static,” giving every character a chance to process their various actions and inactions while the plot moves on around them. With the usual mixture of politics, consequence, and exploration of identity, the episode provides clues to bigger puzzles even while everyone stays put.
Season 4, Episode 13 – “BOOM” takes the usual Agents of SHIELD formula and gives it a spin to put Director Mace’s alienation at the center of the narrative. Balancing robots, magic, Inhumans, and scientific enhancement, the episode manages to touch every base and deliver a satisfying conclusion that moves multiple plotlines forward at the same time.
Season 2, Episode 13 – It’s the season finale of Crazy Ex-Girlfriend and except for the fact that we don’t get any more of this charming show until next season “Can Josh Take a Leap of Faith?” is all the delightful conclusion that you could want. Weddings, crazy exes, and crises of faith abound on all sides in a well-balanced conclusion that promises even more insanity in the future.
Season 2, Episode 1-2 – The double episode season premiere of The Expanse introduces us to the Martians, digs into the mystery from the previous season, and continues to portray system politics in an realistic and respectful manner. With plenty of brief pauses for reflection and conflict for character growth, both “Safe” and “Doors & Corners” exceeds the high expectations set by the series’ first season.
Season 4, Episode 12 – Agents of SHIELD tackles philosophy of mind, Russians, and romantic conundrums while Coulson and company race Radcliffe to the Darkhold in “Hot Potato Soup.” Drawing both from current real-life political quandaries and from the series’ expansive past, the episode balances humor and compassion in equal measure.
Season 2, Episode 12 – “Is Josh Free In Two Weeks?” is the closest Crazy Ex-Girlfriend has come to playing romantic comedy tropes straight. The episode lacks the series’ usual style, throwing in songs as an afterthought and sticking to objective reality while still delivering a fun story with a touching conclusion.
Season 4, Episode 11 – SHIELD continues to knock it out of the park in every respect with a beautiful mix of robots, politics, superpowers, and character-driven stories. In this week’s episode, Agent May and her copy both fight against their respective constraints, SHIELD’s three leaders clash over policy decisions, and science might not actually save us this time.
Season 2, Episode 11 – Crazy Ex-Girlfriend uses its musical numbers as an integral part of the show’s magical structure when Rebecca asks “Josh is the Man of My Dreams, Right?” The Santa Ana winds make everyone act a little crazy, giving the characters plenty of opportunity for realizations, development, and some resolutions.
Season 4, Episode 10 – Agents of SHIELD strikes the perfect balance between action, political intrigue, and characterization in “The Patriot.” Pulling details from the entire Marvel Cinematic Universe, this week’s episode mixes robot clones, Inhumans, science-y superpowers, and forgotten plot points from seasons past for a superb blend of plot, adventure, and character development.
Season 2, Episode 10 – Crazy Ex-Girlfriend takes the shine off Josh in “Will Scarsdale like Josh’s Shayna Punim?” The cracks in Rebecca’s fantasy life start to show when Rebecca takes Josh to meet her family. Meanwhile, Darryl is left to deal with the mean new boss at the law office who keeps terrorizing the employees.