Arrowverse Recap For March 30 2020

(Welcome to The Clock Tower, where we’ll break down the goings on of the The CW network’s Arrowverse. We’ll touch on things like themes, cultural impact, lead-ins to major events, ships, and more every week! Warning: this Clock Tower is filled with spoilers. Proceed at your own risk.)

Readers, friends, countrypeople – I lied to you last week. Only half of The Arrowverse was off this time. Supergirl and Batwoman held down the fort while the teams on the Waverider and in Central City did, well, whatever it is that they do. The World’s Finest did an admirable job keeping our TV streets safe. Let’s dive in. 

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run review

There’s something magical about onscreen chemistry. It’s not easy to fake, and poor chemistry between two leads who are supposedly drawn to each other can badly sink an otherwise great premise. So when something comes along that appears to give off genuine sparks between its two main characters, it’s like watching fireworks explode across the screen.

Such is the case with Run, HBO’s smart, funny, and sexy dark comedy series that lives and dies by the chemistry of its leads. As a former college couple reunited after years apart, Merritt Wever and Domhnall Gleeson are electric, and incredibly convincing. It’s easy to get swept up in their journey together, because we genuinely buy their attraction to one another.

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“Fighting for your life makes every other thing you ever did before seem extremely dull.”

This line is spoken by Wendy Byrde (Laura Linney) in the penultimate episode of Ozark’s third season, which hit Netflix on Friday. It’s a line that cuts to the core of what makes Wendy, her husband Marty (Jason Bateman), and the show around them tick. In its first season, Ozark plunged viewers into the world of the Byrdes and their Missouri money-laundering operation. From the moment a Mexican drug lord knelt Marty down and put a gun to his head in the pilot episode, we’ve been watching him talk and scheme his way out of certain death.

Subsequent episodes and seasons have seen Wendy take on an increasingly prominent role within the criminal enterprise that is keeping her and Marty and their two kids alive (for now). Ozark lost some momentum in its second season as its pace slowed, but the show is back with a vengeance now, doing what it does best: namely, putting the Byrdes at the center of a volatile situation where things keep spiraling further out of control. This season, the dark drama pops with bigger emotional fireworks, thanks in no small part to the arrival of Wendy’s bipolar brother, Ben (Tom Pelphrey), who adds an unexpectedly moving human element to a show where characters regularly display an inhuman lack of empathy. Ben is the Fredo Corleone in this equation, ready to break his sibling’s heart and that of the viewer.

If you’re all caught up with your weekend Ozark binge, then let’s dive into the Lake of the Ozarks with spoilers.

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Cars Revisited

(Infinity and Beyond is a regular bi-weekly column documenting the 25-year filmography of Pixar Animation Studios, film by film. In today’s column, writer Josh Spiegel highlights Cars.)

In the early days of 2006, the Walt Disney Company made a dramatic change whose impacts are still being felt today. Michael Eisner had once been the CEO of the Disney conglomerate, and while he’d grasped a modicum of the success that Pixar Animation Studios would bring, he’d always been standoffish to the idea of Pixar being fully brought into the fold. For many reasons, Eisner was pushed out of Disney in 2005, when Robert Iger became the new CEO. As Iger wrote in his recent memoir, The Ride of a Lifetime, one of his first acts of business was to do what Michael Eisner refused to do: make Pixar an official part of Disney.

So in January 2006, Disney confirmed a $7.4 billion deal to acquire Pixar Animation Studios. The deal was such, though, that it really felt like Disney was asking Pixar to join them, instead of throwing billions at them. John Lasseter was installed as a creative lead at Walt Disney Animation Studios and Walt Disney Imagineering, too. That same year, Lasseter returned to the director’s chair, for a true passion project. It was technologically as bold and daring as anything else Pixar had done. The studio’s prior film, The Incredibles, had focused entirely on humans, for the first time. For Cars, though…well, Cars was another story.

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star trek picard poster

The first season of Star Trek: Picard was as frustratingly mixed as any first Trek season. As thrilling as it was to see Jean-Luc Picard return, its great ideas and story elements are tantalising moments amid a show that’s merely pretty good. The central story is solid. It’s the best-shot Star Trek show to date, shying away from shiny sci-fi precision in favour of earthy tones and messy spills of light. The inevitable moments of fan service mostly serve the story. And while its structure and texture is wildly different to any prior Treks, it still finds time to explore big ideas like the rest of them. 

So by way of organisation, here are five things we loved about the season, and three we didn’t (and by “we,” I mean “me”).

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Westworld The Absence of Field review

Westworld season 3 seems to hit its stride with its third episode, “The Absence of Field.” It’s certainly the best episode of the season so far, featuring a killer performance from Tessa Thompson, and more insight into, uh…INCITE. We finally see what it is that draws Delores and Caleb together, and we also learn a bit more about what the hell new big bad  Engerraund Serac is up to. And those are just some of the things that happened this week on Westworld.

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(Welcome to The Quarantine Stream, a new series where the /Film team shares what they’ve been watching while social distancing during the COVID-19 pandemic.)

The Series: The Endless Adventure

Where You Can Stream It: YouTube

The Pitch: “Greetings adventurers! We’re Eric & Allison, a travel couple on a journey to find the most interesting places and unique foods this planet has to offer! We’ve traded in our steady paychecks and permanent home for a life of travel and adventure. Come along and see the world with us!”

Why It’s Essential Quarantine Viewing: If you’re anything like me, you’re probably already feeling a bit cooped up during self-quarantine. What better way to escape your home during this period of social distancing than by traveling virtually around the world with friends you never knew you had? Eric and Allison are a hipster couple who traded in their full-time jobs to travel the world with plans to document it for a YouTube channel. Four years and nearly 650 videos into their journey, they have found a way to make their dream a reality.

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All the Natalie Portmans

After an extension by the MCC Theater off-Broadway, the COVID-19 outbreak forced the early closing of C.A. Johnson’s All the Natalie Portmans. That’s over two weeks of audiences who didn’t get to experience this production in its original form, which is a real shame. But as the virus forced New Yorkers and other entertainment-seeking visitors in the city out of public spaces, it moved them closer to more intimate forms of consuming entertainment – and quite proximate to the scenario of the play’s protagonist, Keyonna (Kara Young).

I recognize elements of her life because I lived many of them myself. As a 16-year-old in the year 2009 (yes, we’re even the exact same age), we didn’t have too much trouble with the classwork part of school but struggled to relate with other people. Instead, we found solace and comfort inside DVD boxes, learning empathy and connectivity through movie characters on our TV sets.

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quarantine stream nailed it

(Welcome to The Quarantine Stream, a new series where the /Film team shares what they’ve been watching while social distancing during the COVID-19 pandemic.)

The Series: Nailed It!

Where You Can Stream It: Netflix

The Pitch: A baking competition show featuring the world’s worst bakers.

Why It’s Essential Quarantine Viewing: There’s nothing riding on Nailed It! It’s about as laid-back a show as you can get – even when compared to other laid-back baking competitions, like, say The Great British Bake Off. No one takes the competition angle seriously, and, best of all, the contestants – who are truly terrible bakers – will make you feel better about your own culinary skills.

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Cool Posts From Around the Web:

quibi free trial

On the March 27, 2020 Episode of /Film Daily, /Film editor-in-chief Peter Sciretta is joined by /Film senior writer Ben Pearson to discuss Quibi’s first-month line-up.

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