Summary: A coming-of-age comedy about four bright, street-savvy friends navigating their way through high school in the gritty inner city of South Central Los Angeles.
Cast and Characters:
Sierra Capri as Monse Finnie a headstrong, bossy tomboy of Afro-Latino descent who is the leader of her friend group. Raised by her single father, she is star-crossed lovers with one of her best friends, Cesar. In Season 1, she makes an attempt to connect with a woman she believes is her birth mother. Throughout the show, Monse seems to be the “leader” of the group, in that she’s the one everyone might look to. She’s bossy so she kind of just takes that role on as well but it works. She also seems to be a bit hot-tempered, in that she has to keep her anger in check because she seems like she’ll be ready to fight you if she has to. She also is holding a big secret in that she has experienced her sexual awakening and she’s a bit on the passionate side, it’s almost uncomfortable sometimes lol. I like Monse, she feels like a teenage girl. I think Sierra does well with balancing Monse’s maturity but also her immaturity because she can go from 0-100 real quick and it’s just too much.
Jason Genao as Ruby Martinez. He is a smart-aleck math whiz of Mexican descent often serving as the group’s conscience. I love Ruby, he’s probably my favorite. He’s the shortest of the group but he has a bit personality and a big heart. Ruby cares about his appearance, he wants to always make sure he looks good. He gets a little jealous of Cesar who is just cute without even trying. He’s very organized and a bit methodical in how he does things, but he does it for his friends. He spends like two episodes trying to throw a quinceanera for Olivia because he wanted it to be special for her. That’s so sweet. He is a ladies’ man but he’s awkward too so it doesn’t always work out. Jason Genao is just so great, I feel like Ruby could be very annoying but Jason manages to keep that from happening. Instead, I love him. Plus, he loves to talk, he thinks he can talk his way out of things and sometimes he makes things much worse. I love it. Plus, his little quirks that Jason does for him, like the way he’ll cut his eyes at something. AH! I just love him.
Brett Gray as Jamal Turner. He is the nerd of the group and African-American. He believes that there is a hidden treasure scheme surrounding Roller World. Jamal reminds me of a conspiracy theorist. Someone who just believes all kinds of crazy things, and who is even willing to go searching for it. He also manages to really dedicate himself to things that would be so much easier if he would just speak up, but ya know, teenagers are dramatic lol. His parents love football, his father used to play and he wants the same thing for Jamal but Jamal isn’t really into sports. He’s definitely the most awkward of the group, he is clumsy but he’s also really funny. The entire subplot with Roller World is just hilarious, especially all of the scenes with the gnomes. He can’t keep a secret so there is a great scene that deals with that. Brett Gray was great. He’s really funny and since he has a lot of scenes with Ruby, they really work well together.
Diego Tinoco as Cesar Diaz. Cesar is that kid who you often ask, “how is he friends with the others?” because he just seems too cool for them. He’s handsome, he’s suave but he’s also very intelligent which makes sense as to why he manages to find solace with the others. His older brother gets released from prison which puts pressure on Cesar, who is forced into gang life. A lot of his story, is him trying to find the balance between being in the gang but trying to live a normal teenage life with his friends and his new love interest. Things get a little rocky and he definitely relishes in some of the chaos. He doesn’t like it per se, but it’s like easy for him to exploit it. He’s super cute lol, and I very much enjoy watching him ruffle some feathers. However, he’s also a tragic character because he’s forced into something he doesn’t want and it hurts him but he does it. Diego Tinoco is great as Cesar, he’s likable even when you don’t want to like him. He has great chemistry with his love interest and their moments together can be sweet, and sometimes they can be… dramatic.
Ronni Hawk as Olivia. She is a friend of Ruby’s family, they take her in after her parents get deported back to Mexico and she becomes a member of the friend group. Olivia is like the pretty girl, she’s nice, she’s fashionable and she fits right in with the friend group. She ends up developing a crush on Cesar which in ways, causes some problems within the group, but nothing that she does intentionally. I like Olivia fine, she’s one of those characters that I could take or leave. If she wasn’t around, that’s cool but since she was, that’s cool too. I didn’t mind Ronni Hawk, I don’t know anything about her, but I thought her Spanish was terrible.
The Story is Mature. At its core it’s about friendship. Our group is getting ready to go off to high school and Monse comes back from summer camp to find that Cesar has made up a rumor about her and has left the group. She is determined to find out what happened, so most of the first episode is her reuniting with Ruby and Jamal and trying to find out what she missed over the summer. She learns that Cesar was forced into the same gang as his older brother who was released from jail that summer. So, the season focuses on them trying to find a way to rescue their friend, while trying to navigate high school, friendships, family and romance. It’s all handled really well, while I do think the school aspect does get a swept under the rug compared to everything else but I understand that that’s not as important as everything else.
The Humor. Being that it’s set in current time, a lot of the dialogue is just funny because I think the way teens talk is already hilarious. So put them in a show like this, where you have characters like Ruby comparing himself to a Ruben sandwich (since his full name is Ruben lol). It’s hilarious. Plus, characters are awkward and they get into situations that teens shouldn’t be in, but they find themselves in so they have hilarious reactions. Plus, Peggy Blow as Ruby’s abuela steals a lot of the scenes she’s in. Jamal has some great scenes with his parents and this creepy dude and his shop with a bunch of gnomes. Oh man, I was cracking up. Expect to laugh throughout the show.
The Friendship. I think the chemistry between the four main kids is really strong and they feel like they’ve been friends for a long time. They’re all different in ways, but they just fit together. When Olivia is introduced, she fits in with them as well. I also believe some of the drama they have, in a friend group, things are bound to happen and friendships will be strained, that’s just how life is.
Very Relatable. The show is very relatable in how the kids deal with their problems. I don’t think problems get solved and that’s that. A lot of happens and it has long-term consequences or it’s no solved so quickly. That’s life and I like the fact that the show doesn’t gloss over the problems. It feels authentic which I think a lot of teen dramas miss out on these days, I may enjoy them, but I know it’s fiction. On My Block feels real. All of the characters are relatable in that kids get older and experience physical body changes, pressure from parents, from friends, romance, gangs, family, it’s all very real. I also like the fact that they just live day by day. Yeah, they have plans for what they want to do tomorrow, but that’s not what they focus on. It’s all about that moment.
Mature Storylines. Even though these characters are like 14-15, their reality is legit. They live in an inner city Los Angeles neighborhood and they witness a lot. There are times where they hear gunshots and they’re scared about it but then to lighten the mood, they try to guess what kind of gun it was. There are gangs, violence, drugs, and that’s just their environment and the show doesn’t make a big deal about it, it just is. The sexual moments of the show are also handled well. They are minors so it can be a little squick but that’s legit too, teenagers do have sex, so don’t be afraid to talk about it. Also, the stuff about families and how Monse does a little research to find her mom, it’s really emotional and I felt that. It’s all handled very well and with maturity.
The Acting. It wasn’t all bad, nor was it always bad but sometimes in certain moments or episodes, the acting got really over the top, or like they were trying to hard. I think this is mostly notable in Sierra Capri. Her character seems like the defacto leader of their little group and whenever she got invested in something, she liked to raise her voice or yell and it just was too much. Or certain expressions she would make. It was just weird. I even though that Brett Gray sometimes did too much but his character was kind of the “over the top” character in ways too so it wasn’t as noticeable.
Overall, I really really liked On the Block. I think the first season is worth the watch and I am super excited for season two. Every bit of this show feels measured, and carefully planned out. Nothing was wasted. The 10 episodes we got, showed so much but at the same time, left a lot to explored. It’s such a strong show right out the gate that I literally have no complaints other than the acting. I think all of our main actors are great in their roles, they have great chemistry with each other, and they bounce off of each other so well that I believe they’ve known each other for years. It’s really funny as well, none of the humor feels forced, it almost feels like the young actors ad libbed and the director just let them. It’s so organic. I love how it just feels like I’m watching the lives of real teenagers instead of a tv show. It’s very relatable, the mature storylines really help the show from veering into a dramatic teeny bopper show. My only complaint is that not all of the acting is the best, mostly from Sierra Capri, she’s a bit inconsistent but her best scene was definitely the one when she was babysitting. Otherwise the show is great and definitely worth the watch!
Rating: 4.8 out of 5 stars.
Have you seen On My Block? If not, watch it. It’s on Netflix. If you have, let me know your thoughts in the comments below! Don’t forget to like and follow this blog for more reviews!
Summary: High school principal Jefferson Pierce, who retired from his superhero persona Black Lightning nine years ago after seeing the effects it had on his family, is forced to become a vigilante again when the rise of the local gang called the 100 leads to increased crime and corruption in his community of Freeland.
There will be some spoilers ahead. I’m going to try to keep them minor because the show just ended.
Cast and Characters.
Cress Williams as Jefferson Pierce / Black Lightning. Jefferson is a retired superhero with the ability to harness and manipulate electricity. He’s like a battery. He is the current principal at Garfield High School. Jefferson returns to fight crime after his daughters are kidnapped by a local gang. He immediately knows what he has to do and Jefferson will do whatever it takes to protect his family. Now, because he is a family man, he does protect his family but he considers his students to be his family as well. He’ll do whatever it takes to help them. He is stubborn, and can be a bit too determined sometimes but he always means well. Jefferson wants to protect his town from those who want to do it harm. Jefferson feels like a real person, it’s hard with superheroes sometimes, because they don’t feel human, like they don’t have human problems but Jefferson does. He has a family, even though he isn’t married to Lynn, he obviously still loves her and does whatever he can to protect her just as he does his daughters. He’s also very sad and angry about the death of his father and he even tries to take it upon himself to get revenge for it later in the season, but he’s never unreasonable. I like that about him. He gets his mind-set on something but he can still be talked down from it, it’s unpredictable, you’re not sure what he might do. Unpredictable. Cress Williams is fantastic as Jefferson. He’s also a beautiful man lol. He’s so… inspiring when he talks to his students but I also believe he’ll get you right.
China Anne McClain as Jennifer Pierce. Jefferson’s younger daughter, who is very independent, outspoken, smart and an athlete. She has a bit of a wild streak, but I think that was shown mostly in the first two episodes and then that kind of went away probably because of the kidnapping. She is a teenager so she does some teenagery like things, like wanting to go to the next step with her boyfriend, or being a bit of a smartass, and of course stealing her sister’s clothes. Jennifer in ways, reminds me of my younger sister (she’s in college now), but she loves her family even if they can be a bit hard on her. Jennifer gets her powers way late in the game, she shows that something might be different about her when she gets in a fight with this girl (who came at her) and she breaks her wrist. She has strong feelings for Khalil and even though he hurt her, she still loves him. When he comes back, she even is willing to see him but of course he comes back different. We finally see her gain her powers and she’s like a generator and I think she might be more powerful than her dad. I hope to see her use her powers more in the second season because I want to see some LIGHTNING! China Anne McClain is great, I’ve always enjoyed watching her, and she’s great as Jennifer. Her emotional scenes are definitely some of her strongest.
Nafessa Williams as Anissa Pierce / Thunder. Jefferson’s elder daughter who is in medical school and teaches part-time at Jefferson’s school. Anissa learns about her powers early on, she has the ability to manipulate her density, allowing herself to have superhuman strength and near invulnerability. She can also create powerful shock waves in which she can do that THUNDER CLAP!! She also has a rapid healing factor. She starts off fighting crime alone as Thunder because she thought she was alone in it (not knowing who BL was yet) but she eventually learns it’s her father and they become a team because she would keep doing it without him. Anissa is strong, determined, very stubborn and will do things her own way, especially in the beginning. We do see her grow to make more mature decisions on how things are handled which is great. Anissa also is bold in everything she does, from her hair to her clothes… I love her. She had a girlfriend in the beginning but she wasn’t feeling it, which I’ve noticed, if she’s not feeling it, then she’s not in it. She does meet Grace, later on, we’ll see what happens with that later on. Nafeesa Williams is great! She has great chemistry with everyone around her. She is strong and she answered my Twitter questions which was awesome. I love how she does the deep breath to allow her powers to do their thing. I also love her hair, I have hair envy every time she’s on-screen. Killing the game.
Christine Adams as Lynn Stewart. A neuroscientist at Bowman College and Jefferson’s ex-wife. Lynn is kind, loving but she will not take your crap. She will lay you out as well. Lynn still loves Jefferson and she of course loves her daughters, she is very much involved in everyone’s lives. She is intelligent and while she may not have powers (I think they should give her some lol), she is a strong part of the family by being the human backbone. She’s watched Jefferson be a hero for years, and now she has to see it again, with her daughters being caught in the mix. She doesn’t like it, but she has to accept it because it’s the reality of the situation. I also love the fact that she knows her family enough that she knows when something is wrong, but she doesn’t pry. Christine Adams is great! Whenever she’s being sassy, I’m like YASSS and whenever she is letting someone have it, I’m like YASSS! I also love her mother/daughter scenes with her girls, and her passionate scenes with Cress Williams.
Main Supporting Characters.
Marvin “Krondon” Jones III as Tobias Whale. A former politician who rose through the ranks of local government through corruption but was brought down by Jefferson’s father, Alvin. Tobias was exiled after killing Alvin but he became the leader of the 100. He also gets involved with the A.S.A in hopes of capturing and studying Black Lightning, but Tobias just wants him out the way. Tobias is an interesting character. He’s Albino and he definitely seems to hate black people, or at least the “typical black person”, whatever that means. He does have some great monologues though. He is super strong, seems to be aging slowly and has extreme anger issues. He trusts very few people, like his sister Tori and Syonide. He’s willing to do whatever it takes to get what he wants. He’ll take everyone out. Krondon Jones is great! He’s a scary dude and his voice is awesome. I believe he’s gonna take over Freeland, and I also believe he could kill Black Lightning if he’s not careful. Dude can mean mug like nobodies business.
Damon Gupton as Billy Henderson. A veteran detective inspector with the police, he’s friends with Jefferson and I think he was an ally to Black Lightning previously. While he may help BL, he’s still a detective and he doesn’t care for vigilantism. However, he does his part because he sees that cops are corrupt. I like him, he can be a bit annoying but I think he’s a good man and I hope nothing happens to him in the future but I kind of feel like something will. Damon Gupton is fine in the role, he’s a nice guy and he doesn’t make me want to punch him so that’s good lol.
James Remar as Peter Gambi. Jefferson’s oldest friend who became a father figure and mentor to him and works as his “tailor” while having connections with Lady Eve. His real name is Peter Esposito and was a former member of the A.S.A. until he turned against the organization and gave information to Alvin Pierce, resulting in his murder.
Reoccurring Supporting Characters.
Skye P. Marshall as Kara Fowdy. She is Garfield High’s vice-principal. In the beginning, it’s easy to tell that she has a crush on Jefferson and that sometimes she tries to hard. She isn’t a major character but it’s imperative that viewers pay attention to her because we learn something about her later on, that I totally saw coming and it makes sense. However, she does seem to feel remorseful about her decisions but ya know, once you get in too deep, it’s hard to get back out. Kara Fowdy does well in her role, I’m curious to see if we see more of her in the second season.
William Catlett as Latavius “Lala” Johnson (mild spoilers). A member of the 100 who is in charge of the Seahorse Motel that 100 use as a front for their prostitution ring. I think he also does a bit of drug dealing. Lala used to be a student at Garfield High, so Jefferson feels a little responsibility for him in that he could get through to him but Lala has his “empire” and he’s not going to give that up. Something happens to him that when he shows back up in the show, something is definitely up with him and you have no idea what’s going on. It’s a bit weird but at the same time, it’s dope. He starts to show some changes himself. One of those changes is that he starts seeing the ghosts and these ghosts leave markings on his body. It’s really cool to be honest. He has some great scenes in the latter half of the season. William Catlett does a great job at making you really dislike Lala (his nickname is also stupid, I can’t always take him seriously) but later on, as things are discovered, he makes you really feel bad for him too.
Charlbi Dean as Syonide. Tobias Whale’s henchwoman and enforcer. She doesn’t say much but she will kill you with a look and she’s a bit scary. She has a great fight scene with Thunder and we really get to see her physical prowess as a fighter. She also talked in the season finale and I was like “Oh! She talks… weird.” Like she had full on sentences, when usually she just looks, smirks and threatens. Charlbi Dean is fine in the role, she manages to make me feel unsettled by her looks.
Jordan Calloway as Khalil Payne (mild spoilers). He is a track star at Garfield High and dating Jennifer. He is on the road to becoming something great with track. He has a great scene with Jefferson when Jennifer tells her parents that she might be ready to take the next step with Khalil. He’s sweet, a bit awkward and hopeful. He goes on a march with some residents in Freeland and he gets shot which paralyzes him from the waist down. Him losing the use of his legs, depresses him and he gets really moody and even treats Jennifer wrongly. I feel bad for him honestly, especially since his depression leaves him wide open for negative persuasion. He disappears for a while and when he comes back, things are definitely different. It’s a little jarring at first, mostly the appearance but it grew on me and I’m definitely interested to see what happens with him in the second season, I hope he becomes more prominent because he’s interesting. Jordan Calloway is not only *swoons* but he does a great job at playing the many faces of Khalil we’ve seen. The sad part of him, the mean part (though I’ve seen him be mean in Riverdale lol), and the part that he is currently.
Jill Scott as Evelyn Stillwater-Ferguson / Lady Eve. The owner of a funeral parlor who connects Tobias Whale with a secret group of corrupt leaders that gave him leadership over the 100. She is AHMAZING! She has some kind of control that allows her to be like this big boss in Freeland, but everyone also loves her. I can’t help but wonder how she looks and acts outside of her little corrupt group because the fact that people love her, and aren’t suspicious of her makes me wonder. Jill Scott is always a win and she killed it in the times we saw Lady Eve, every bit of line delivery was her just chewing it up.
Strong Family Dynamic. So Jefferson and Lynn are divorced but they have a working relationship that allows their daughters to still have that parent connection even though Lynn doesn’t live with them. They have Friday dinners where they all come together and eat dinner together and most times Lynn is there helping Jefferson prepare the dinner. Lynn and Jefferson also still have amazing chemistry and it’s easy to tell that they are still in love with each other, even though they divorced because Lynn couldn’t handle him being a superhero (the getting hurt part, not the saving part). But she obviously still cares for him. I also love how they are with Anissa and Jennifer. I think Anissa is in her early 20’s and Jen is 17-18 and they aren’t treated like children but in a mature way. They want to protect their girls but they also understand that they’re getting older and they must make their own choices. Nafeesa and China also have great sisterly chemistry, they feel like they’re sisters and I love their dynamic, especially in the beginning when Jen would steal Anissa’s clothes or when Jefferson and Anissa were being all weird and Jen knew something was up. I loved that they know each other so well that they know when something is wrong. I love the Pierce family. I also love how they look related, Anissa looks like Lynn and Jennifer looks like Jefferson, it’s really good casting.
Great Villains. The show has a main villain in Tobias Whale but we’ve seen a lot of people who are villainous in the show. They’re all great. Lala, Lady Eve, Tobias and Proctor are all very different villains, with different ways of going about their agendas but they’re all memorable. A lot of that is definitely the performances of these actors and how they deliver the dialogue. I can’t wait to see what Tobias does in the second season.
The Soundtrack. Now, I don’t always pay attention to the music in TV shows because I just don’t think about it. Unless it doesn’t go with the scene. But I think Blake Neely is the composer for the CW superhero shows, or probably all of the CW shows, and while the music is fine, it usually all sounds the same. Black Lightning’s soundtrack stands out because the music not only fits the show, fits the scenes, but it feels steeped in black culture. Kurt Farquhar is the composer for BL and the songs they choose for scenes, especially emotional and action scenes are so good. For example, in the season finale, they played “Stairway to Heaven” by the O’Jays, during an emotional scene with Jefferson and I teared up. Take a gander for yourself. There is a link below that has the music for each episode in Season 1. I really wish the CW would do what they used to where they would tell us who the artists and the songs were after each episode. GET BACK ON IT!! I would love that.
Get Ready for the Thunder and Lightning! The action in this show is so cool to behold. First of all, whatever Anissa does as Thunder is freaking awesome. Watching her use her powers, especially when she becomes bullet proof (Look there is nothing like seeing black people be bullet proof), and she can just walk through a rain shower of bullets… or how she does her thunder-clap. I love it. Also, when she fights alongside her father, they work so well together AND AND AND he did this awesome thing where he made stairs out of lightning and Anissa uses them to go up before coming down and doing like a Thunder stomp or something. Oh man, it was so awesome. The season finale was also great, Jennifer did this great move where she uses her powers and like body slam this dude and just her whole move was great. Also, Thunder and Black Lightning squared off in a fist fight as well and that was pretty cool too.
The Messages/The Story. I think because it’s only 13 episodes, the first season had the ability to be more intimate and focus on the characters more (which I think is part of Riverdale‘s season 2 problem). We really got to know the Pierce family and our villains. We really got to see what makes them tick and we’re learning more about them in each episode. The story is realistic in that it’s not centered around a young hero making choices that people constantly judge for being stupid (looking at you Barry and Oliver). But it’s about a man, who was already in his prime, whose lived that life and returned to it to save his family. I like that. I also love that it’s focusing on a black family that isn’t in pieces, even though Lynn and Jefferson aren’t together, they’re still a unit. That’s positive. I also love how they are showcasing things that black people go through, just in the guise of a superhero show. I can imagine this might be hard for some people, especially if you only want to see superheros superheroing but it’s set in the real world, so I think that’s legit. I mean, drugs, relationships, gangs, gun violence, police brutality… all of that is real and I think so far they’ve handled it well, for the most part.
Not part of the Arrowverse. While this is a CW show, it’s not in the arrowverse, at least not yet, and I kind of hope it stays separate. It has a more mature and serious tone compared to the other shows, and I want it to stay in its own bubble because I really don’t want to see Oliver Queen try to tell Jefferson Piece what to do and how to do it. Nor do I want to see Felicity try to be nerd friends with Lynn. I just… don’t want it. Now, if somehow Iris could meet Anissa and become best friends, I’m down with that lol, but that’s it. I like how different it feels compared to the other shows. I like that it’s more serious and family oriented (some of the other shows kind of had that going for a while, but it’s been lost I think). I don’t want any type of Damien Darkh-like nonsense to seep into Black Lightning, it has it’s down magic and science thing going on… let it stay that way.
The Serious/Mature Tone. It definitely takes some risks, the show handles a lot of material that I can imagine some people find a bit too heavy-handed, or they feel like it’s “invading” their show because they just want to watch a superhero show. I understand that, but I think not expecting a show to tackle current issues, or to even talk about them at all is a bit ignorant. They’re not all just fiction, a lot of their stories deal with reality. A black superhero is still a black person, they still have to live as a black person. I like that about Black Lightning. I like that. I also like that it handles a strong family dynamic. It doesn’t take itself too seriously, I mean it does, but it doesn’t try to be all dark like how Arrow feels like it’s trying to do now.
The Theme Song. I just want them to choose a new song. I don’t really care for it. It’s very… juvenile compared to the mature feeling of the show and how they use some of the other songs throughout. Let’s upgrade the theme song!
The Costumes. So I have a love/hate relationship with Black Lightning and Thunder’s costumes which is why it’s here and not in the “pros”. So Jefferson’s suit, is like a suit of armor, it’s bulletproof and it has lightning bolts down the front and they’re yellow and blue as shown below.
I don’t really like his suit, it looks kind of weird to me, it also fits him weird. I also do not like the yellow on his suit. Jefferson’s lightning is blue and I think his suit should just have a blue and maybe a kind of white going on, since lightning isn’t yellow. Or at least have the yellow only be the outline and not be so prominent.
Like how it is on this picture left. It’s there but it’s not so big and bulky looking. I definitely don’t want spandex because that doesn’t translate, but maybe something that looks more workable.
As for Anissa’s suit, in the beginning she went thrift shopping and found something to make work for a while. Then when she started working with her dad, Gambi made her suit and while I think she wears it very well and it does look good overall, there’s something about it I don’t really like. I think it’s the neck/collarbone part.
The picture on the left is the outfit she had at first, and while it’s cute, she looks like she’s trying to be Beyoncé in a spandex outfit but it’s not feasible for crime fighting which I think becomes evident when she first fights Black Lightning. Now, her official costume, the one on the right, I think looks good overall. I like the color and I like how it fits, but the little part above her chest plate, I think looks too big when she’s moving in it. It seems loose. Otherwise, I like it.
This is from an animated show and the comics, and I kind of like this look better. I definitely see the inspiration, but the one on the left, in terms of the top, I think looks better. Don’t get me wrong, I like realistic looking superhero uniforms, but I don’t think “realistic” means “unflattering” either. I can’t seem to find it but they showed a look at his old costume and I remember liking that one way more.
Heavy Handed. I don’t think this happens all the time but there are times where it feels like they’re trying to really hammer in some messages and they don’t really have to make it feel preachy. It only happens a few times, but those times do happen and I’m like “Okay, we get it, less is more.” I like the fact that it focuses on things that minorities, especially black people go through, but I do think, for a superhero show, it could fall into that thing that Luke Cage fell into where it hits a glass ceiling because it comes on too strong. This may seem like I’m contradicting myself from my earlier comment but I think I would be remiss to ignore that I have thought that.
Dumb Choices. There aren’t many but I hate, and it burns my grits every time, but I hate it when characters go and investigate stuff and DON’T WEAR GLOVES!!! You are searching for things, YOU SHOULD BE WEARING GLOVES! Ugh I drives me insane. Black Lightning was framed for a murder and Jefferson and Anissa are just running around all willy nilly, breaking into places and just touching stuff. *sighs* Also, Lynn is a neuroscientist, there are too many times where she’s doing science stuff with other people around, or she’s talking to her family in her lab like people can’t hear them. *sighs* There was a scene in a hospital I think, where Anissa and Jefferson or Lynn and Jefferson were talking but they were just casually walking down the hallway… I’m like “really y’all? It’s a secret!” *sighs* stuff like that man. They should really think about that.
Overall, I love Black Lightning. It’s probably my favorite of the CW shows right now. It felt fresh compared to the others, which I guess would happen since those have been on for a few years now. I just loved the family dynamic, I think that is definitely the strength of the show. Not to mention, I think all of the actors do a great job, it’s not always the best, but I think it’s overall good. I like the Pierce family and I like the villains. I think the music is used in a fantastic way in the show. It really amplifies the show and makes it feel so different. The action is handled very well, Anissa and Jefferson work very well together and I can’t wait to see them handle the villains even more in the second season. I love how they handled a lot of the messages, such as gang violence, drugs, police brutality, family issues, identity among many things. I don’t think it handles anything negatively but I can understand if people feel like it’s too heavy-handed and I can agree in some places. I also like that it’s not part of the Arrowverse, I hope that it stays that way. Now, I don’t really like BL’s costume and there are parts of Thunder’s that I don’t care for and I definitely think characters make some really dumb choices. HOWEVER! I loved this show! Second season whoooo!!
Rating: 4.4 out of 5 stars.
Have you seen Black Lightning? What do you think about it? Are you interested in it at all? Let me know your thoughts down below!
There’s a spoiler below… don’t read any further if you haven’t seen the show or at least haven’t finished it.
So in the finale, Lala died, at least I think he died. He seemed to have been blown up, in that Tobias winter soldiered him and made him have a grenade or something inside of him that made him choke up the little pull thing. I don’t know but it was weird. I thought it was weird, how Lala seemed to be the big bad but I knew Tobias was going to be probably the biggest baddie, but then Lady Eve seemed to be even worse than him… then we have the A.S.A. So, I just hope we don’t villain hop anymore because while I definitely think Tobias is the biggest threat for now. I am curious though, is he going to be taken down in the second season and if so, who’s going to top him? They killed Lala, they killed Lady Eve and Proctor (the lead dude of the A.S.A) is dead now, so… I’m curious to see what happens next.
So, it took me a long time to figure out what to call this piece. I wanted to make it part of the “Diminished Characters” list but there’s only been one season so far and I don’t really think he was diminished… at least not yet. Not completely. Kind of…*sighs* I don’t know. I just know I’m a bit irritated.
But this is about Alex Wilder from Marvel’s Runaways. It also took me a long time to do because of the fact that I wanted to rewatch the show to try to notice things I might not have noticed before and I read the comic up to his death so I really wanted to notice things.
There will be spoilers from the show AND the comics, so read at your peril. I’m spoiling everything… I kind of already did in my review but definitely here.
I finished watching the show with my friend and we both enjoyed it. Probably finished it in three days. I was also reading the original comic run through Hoopla (I like reading comics online, it’s a lot easier to just blow through them) and I wasn’t finished with the story yet but I knew at some point that someone in the Runaways team was the mole. They were feeding information back to Pride and I was like “hmm… who could it be?” So let me give you some back story on the comic. This might be long but please read if you’re curious or if you feel the same way.
The Runaways- Comics
So the story starts off with Alex Wilder gaming, it’s clear that he loves superheroes, especially Captain America, as the character he is playing as is Cap himself. His parents make him stop (his dad even makes him cancel the subscription because he didn’t want to be paying a monthly fee even though they live in Malibu, which Alex points out lol) because they’re getting ready for their annual meeting and they want Alex to hang out with the kids of the group. He doesn’t want too because they’re all weird but he of course does.
We meet the others and their parents. Chase Stein, Gertrude “Gert” Yorkes, Molly Hayes, Karolina Dean and Nico Minoru. They all come back together in the Wilder’s house and when Alex comes down, he immediately sees Nico and love at first sight, it was cute lol. But moving on, Alex suggests that since it was all awkward and stuff that they should spy on their parents. They witness a weird ceremony and they all freak out about it. They meet that night, and they end up going to each house to see if they could find any clues, the others all learn about secret things about them. Karolina can glow and is an alien, Gert has a telepathic dinosaur (they also find the Abstract that details everything, they just need Mrs. Dean’s decoder ring), Chase finds the X-ray goggles and fistigons, Molly (who was being held hostage by her parents) is a strong mutant, and Nico absorbs the Staff of One after her mother attacked her with it.
They go to a hideout that Chase found, and they sit tight while Alex is trying to decode the Abstract with the ring they stole from Mrs. Dean. A lot of shenanigans happen and we find out there is a mole among the Runaways. Long story short, Alex decodes the abstract, while also being very distant from the others, he almost treats them (outside of Nico) as children… which Molly is lol. But they go after their parents, there’s a fight, Chase is put out of the fight and he gives Alex his weapons so he can fight. Everyone gets incapacitated and turns out Alex is the mole.
He dies, the parents are assumed dead and the others at the end basically run away after being separated.
Marvel’s Runaways-TV Show
So in the show, it starts off with Alex playing a game but instead of his father coming in to tell him to stop, he tries to play with him because Alex has been distant for the last two years due to a mysterious something that happened. We meet the others as well, and we learn that they all used to be pretty close but whatever happened, which we find out was the death of Nico’s older sister (suicide) they’ve fallen apart. Alex is against having the others over just because Pride was meeting, but after seeing everyone apart, especially Nico sitting alone, he tries to get them to come over that night.
They all kind of get into an argument when Alex talks to Chase first about coming over and no one does. It’s not until everyone’s plans fall through that they decide to go over to Alex’s house. They’re awkward and what not, Chase suggests that he needs alcohol if they’re gonna have to talk it over. So Chase goes towards the study where the parents are supposed to be, Nico and Alex have a brief conversation about why he didn’t go to the funeral. They all go into the study and Chase starts raiding the cabinet, Alex tells them they’re not supposed to be in there, but no one leaves. Gert and Chase talk, and Alex moves to get a coaster for her which reveals the secret passageway.
So moving forward, the show takes a longer time to allow us to get the parents and the kids. But for a while, Alex tries to make sure everyone is keeping their cool and acting natural. He basically becomes the man with the plan throughout the show. After Gert and Karolina find evidence on Leslie’s computer, Alex finds out that the information shows the amount of kids “runaways” that Pride has sacrificed and that Leslie Dean has been the one choosing their victims. Nico was with him and she wanted to go to the police, especially because she’s starting to think that Amy didn’t commit suicide but was murdered. Everyone was against this, but eventually, Alex comes around and says that he didn’t want her to be alone so they go together. Then he’s kidnapped and episode 5 is a Wilder-centric episode.
Side Note: I saw some people state that this episode was odd, or it seemed kind of weird, which I can understand, but Alex already doesn’t get enough credit so it was nice to have an episode centered around his family, more so his father, but still. Plus this was also when everyone (minus Gert) uses their abilities and weapons they gained. Sure, it was a bit odd in how they all came together to use their abilities, like how Chase’s unfinished Fistigons worked, or how Karolina popped her bracelet off and just blinded Darius to death… I don’t think she needs that bracelet to stop her from doing anything considering how it takes so long for her rainbow lightbulbs to come on. Not to mention in the finale, she wasn’t lit up the entire time and the bracelet is supposed to inhabit the lights and her powers. But anyway, I appreciate the “Kingdom” episode.
So Alex shot this kid in the shoulder to protect his father, as the kid had a gun on him. So Alex is determined to save Andre, who was just following orders. They don’t find him and Alex feels guilty that he basically killed that kid. Now, I’m sure the Alex haters could say that he could easily have done that to help with the sacrifice since he’s “the mole” but unlike the comic, this Alex is a lot more emotional and attached compared to the comic who is way more cold. Not to mention, there isn’t an abstract so how would he know what the sacrifices were for??? So he and Nico make out after she comforts him through his guilty feelings. At the gala, they have a plan, Alex and Nico break into Tina’s office and this is where it goes downhill. Alex puts the password in without trouble and Nico is suspicious and he tells her “I’m just that good” but she doesn’t buy it. So skip other stuff, Alex is working on decrypting the hard drive they stole from Tina Minoru and Nico basically forces him to tell her how he knew Tina’s password. So he comes clean about Amy.
Amy’s Truth: So basically, while playing I believe Star Wars Battlefront, Amy’s computer starts acting up and Alex tries to help her out being a computer genius. He discovers that her computer was hacked and that someone is seeing everything she’s doing on it. Amy freaks out and runs off. She was snooping on Wizard’s servers trying to see what she could find to knock her mom down a peg (Wizard is created and owned by the Minorus). When she ran off, she was caught by Kincaid, who works for Tina, they knew someone hacked Wizard and he was warning her to back off. But someone else found out and was worried that she found out something she wasn’t supposed to. So Amy did talk to Alex on the phone as she prepared to run away, he tried to get her to calm down but she told him to promise not to tell, which he kept her promise.
So back to the story, so Alex tells Nico all of this and she’s upset. Don’t get me twisted, she has every right to be hurt that he didn’t tell her, but I don’t think her attitude and hostility to him the rest of the show is necessary. He was 14 and Amy was the oldest and she confided in him and I think he confided in her in ways, they were close, and she knew he liked Nico. It’s a natural thing to do. Keep a secret because you think it might do more harm than good, not to mention, he probably felt responsible once he found out she was dead. Imagine what that could do a teenager who knew what he knew. Again, I’m not saying that Nico doesn’t have a right to be mad, I just don’t think her nasty attitude to him afterwards was warranted. Give the kid a break. He’s done everything he can to help everyone. He finishes decrypting the hard drive and calls the others over to let them know what’s on it and how it could finally bring their parents down. Due to all that’s happened with Chase, he doesn’t want to turn the parents in anymore, Karolina is on his side since she’s talked to her dad (Frank) and thinks he’ll help. They argue, Chase and Alex have a fight and Chase deliberately breaks the laptop so all of their evidence is gone.
So, episode 9 is basically the lead up the finale in which the kids have their plan to try to find out what’s on the construction site, since Alex pieced together that the site is probably a front for whatever they’re doing. Before the dance, Nico called Alex from Amy’s phone. Oh yeah, she found the bag that Amy was going to use to runaway which confirmed that Amy was killed, which had her phone in it, which Nico charged IN AMY’S ROOM INSTEAD OF TAKING IT BACK TO HER OWN ROOM! This is why y’all need Alex around because that’s stupid. But she calls him from her phone, which would have freaked me out, and he goes over to her house to look at the text message on her phone. They have a chat, Robert Minoru comes in, Alex compliments Nico and she says “Oh you think I look nice?”
Alex: Yeah, you look great.
Nico: Too bad I don’t give a shit anymore.
Alex: You know how sorry I am Nico.
Nico: Not as sorry as I am.
JUST UGH!! WHHYYYYYY!!??? GIVE THE KID A BREAK!!
So, they go to the dance, Gert and Chase hook up, Nico suggests looking for them and Alex says “Want some company?” and out of spite she says “Sure, Karolina want to come?” just UGH! And this is where Karolina reveals her feelings to Nico by kissing her. So jump forward to the construction site, they get there and Alex is going through making sure everyone is ready and I feel like Nico’s little “and what are you bringing to the party Alex?” was snooty and I’m over it.
So they go in, try to shut it down and the parents show up. They all argue and then Jonah shows up and he blasts everyone. Karolina tells everyone to run while she stands off against Jonah since they have the same powers. So, the others run and everything around them is fried. It was very anticlimactic, the fight we didn’t see between Karolina and Jonah. Nico wants to go back for her and Alex tells her to be smart, and to look at everyone… and everyone is terrified, tired and it’s time to go. She runs off anyway “We’re missing someone!” and ends up having to run anyway!! You’re mad that he said y’all need to go but y’all had to go anyway because the parents were coming after ya’ll. *rolls eyes*
She gets mad at him again because when they ask what do they do after waking up since they’re all tired, Nico says “Save Karolina” and Alex says “Get out-of-town” and Nico says “You’d seriously leave without her” and Alex says that they don’t know where she is, or how she is and Gert tacks on, if she even is still alive. Look, I get it. Karolina is part of the team, I would never want to leave without my full team, but I’m also not going to get bent out of shape when the smart thing to do is regroup and come up with a plan. A SMART PLAN. I swear, these teenagers are so flip floppy, it’s so frustrating but they’re teenagers. Because it’s Karolina, everyone’s like “okay yeah sure”. It’s just so ARGH! Because Alex says they need to leave he looks bad and he’s the last one to get on board, he looks bad. I don’t think he was doing that to be cold, or anything like that, just that he was trying to think of the group and how everyone needed to get themselves together. I would have deduced and I’m sure with how smart Alex is, he would have, or at least should have deduced that Karolina and Jonah were the same. I would doubt that they would hurt her which would give us more time. It’s smart.
But ya know, it’s totally smart that Old Lace doesn’t go with them because they could get caught with her. Everyone is on board with that plan from Alex… yup.
After they rescue Karolina, Nico finds Alex looking at the view and asks her how long do you think it’ll take to walk back home and she tells him that they’re never going back. This is probably the one time Alex shows a hint of weakness in terms of maybe, possibly doubting anything. Everyone else has had their chances to be on their parents’ sides, or to doubt that they’re criminals whereas he’s been pretty steadfast. I know that could mean a lot of things, but he was already distant from them, so this was pretty much a nail in the coffin for him, not to mention the stuff he learned about his dad in episode 5.
But he does leave and he calls someone. We don’t know who he calls but in the next scene with him, we see Darius pull up and Alex tells him that he needs something from him, and that the enemy of his enemy is his friend. Alex came back and spoke with Nico, she asks him if he called his parents and he told her no, she asked who he called and he said it doesn’t matter, he got what he needed and he shows her a roll of money. She says “must be some friend” and her expression seemed a little suspicious to me. Look, you’re mad or whatever, get over it, he just got y’all some money. None of ya’ll thought about that. Then literally in the next scene, we see the Wilders and Cat says to Geoff that he can’t will the phone to ring, she’s tried. I think that implies that Alex did not call them otherwise, why would she say that? Unless he only called his dad and Geoff didn’t tell her yet, but why wouldn’t he tell her? No reason not to.
So we don’t know who called them in as kidnappers, we can assume it was Geoff as he does it in the comics, and Destiny’s death is also included in this so it wouldn’t have been Molly’s aunt. He said he was going to get them to safety and then go to war, and getting them arrested would get them safety, relatively speaking.
So they run.
The Mole Storyline
So in the comics, a note is left behind in the Hayes’ house, after the kids manage to get Molly and the decoder ring, that basically says “I love you mom and dad and I’ll always be loyal to you. I understand why you’re doing this” and I was like Oh snap, one of the kids is on the parents’ side, this is crazy. WHY WOULD YOU BE? What could you possibly understand just from seeing your parents murder someone? So, we deal with the hijinks of the group and their parents trying and failing to find them, while wondering WHO IS THE MOLE. So, the mole tipped the police off to their whereabouts and they sold out Cloak and Dagger (the Pride erased their memories). They finally get down into the lair of the Gibborim and after they revive Chase, who technically died, the rest go to fight their parents. Now, I thought it was strange how Karolina kept suggesting they do the Heimlich on Chase to revive him while Molly was screaming that it was CPR. Now, we all know that CPR is what you do when someone can’t breathe, or swallowed water or whatever right? So, why is Karolina suggesting the Heimlich and she was so sure of it. So I of course started to think that she was the mole. But it didn’t make sense as she technically did not see the parents kill that girl, I think Alex told her to take Molly away so Molly wouldn’t see it.
Anyway, they get to the temple, there’s a fight with the parents. Molly uses her strength, so of course she goes to sleep. Gert is knocked unconscious by the Hayes or Deans (neither of them like her anyway), Nico was frozen by her parents and Chase was left behind because he was hurt. So Alex and Karolina were left, so Alex takes Nico’s staff and he knocks Karolina over the head with it and mind you, he has Chase’s fistigons and X-ray glasses and I’m like “NO!” So then we see this picture.
Soooooo, Alex Wilder turned out to be the mole. Old Lace listens to him because Gert told her that should anything happen to her, then Old Lace was to listen to Alex. So, he has the dinosaur, the Staff of One AND Chase’s weapons. He tells Nico that he’s watched her with the staff and pretty much has figured out how to use it. So, I was devastated and in my mind, I couldn’t comprehend what I’d just read. Alex Wilder, my namesake, who this entire time, had been leading his team, who was in love with Nico, who while a bit short with the others, tried to be patient with them. Alex. *Cries* I was so upset but I had to keep reading. It’s such good writing and a damn good twist that I DID not see coming. He didn’t even cross my mind to being the mole. At all. So Nico is all shocked and stuff, and he releases her from her frozen spell and she’s demanding to know why and what not. He wakes her parents and his parents, who I believe were unconscious and he explains everything. He tells her that he came across the secret passageway a year prior, he saw what Pride did, and he found the Abstract in his parents house and he did tons of research to understand it. He knew what they were planning to do, to put forth their children into the 6 spots the Gibborim offered into the Utopia after they destroyed all humans. He goes on to say that he also overheard the Deans and the Hayes talk about killing the other families and their kids because they didn’t deserve the Utopia since they were the only ones not human. The Deans are aliens and the Hayes’ are mutants. So because they were gonna betray everyone, he decided that he would betray them and instead, he would take care of it. He loves her, so he wants to be with her in Utopia and since he loves her, he wants her to have her parents and of course they’re his parents. Nico does not like this and they argue, he doesn’t seem to understand why she’s acting this way. He gets a little beat up by the others as they all come to. Molly destroys the box holding the offered soul, the Gibborim appear and blame the parents, Alex doesn’t like seeing his father subjugated so he takes full blame aaaand he’s killed on the spot by the Gibborim.
So, I was so engrossed in this that when it happens, I paused and I think I screamed out loud lol. Since I work at the library, I have seen Runaways comics before, and I don’t ever really remember seeing a black kid on the cover, I mean Alex is very distinct with his afro, glasses and swag, so I guess in some way, I knew it… thinking about it now but I was devastated. Such good writing and part of me isn’t mad because it was handled so well but other part of me is pissed and I still am.
Alex’s Role in the Show
One of the biggest thing is that Alex starts off a bit more somber in the show. There’s a tragedy that pushed all of them apart and that will ultimately bring them together as Alex watches Nico be alone at school that he decides to bring everyone together. Or at least try.
So as you can see, in the comics, he was on the road to become a villain in the end, but he did his job in protecting the others until that point. In the show, I don’t see any indication that he’s going to be a villain, at least not yet. I see why people might be wary of him due to his comic book counterpart, but I don’t think that’s fair to him in the show right now.
Like in the comics, he didn’t want to have a get together, but he does it after seeing Nico by herself at school and he’s watching her. He sees everyone else as well but he’s watching Nico and he decides that he wants to have this get together for her. When he approaches Chase about in class, and after Chase, Karolina and Gert all leave, he says to himself that he wanted this for her. They’ve been apart for two years, and maybe their parents meeting would give them an excuse. But, as in pure teenage fashion, no one shows up.
Alex was not the first one to suggest going into the study like in the comics, it was Chase, who wanted alcohol. Alex knew he wasn’t supposed to be in the study, he even said his dad said “there is no reason for him to be in there without him” and he went for the coaster because obviously they can’t be in there and Chase gave Gert a drink and obviously they’re not supposed to be in there! Why leave evidence? He already asked them not to go in there, he already said don’t touch anything… in the comic, it was his idea to spy on the parents. Like out of the gate.
Molly also suggested going into the secret passageway first, it wasn’t really until he said “alright, let’s go” that everyone followed but still. He also did try to stop Molly from taking a picture.
When Alex suggested they split up to search their parents’ houses whereas in the comics they went to each house together. He wanted everyone to find their parents’ secrets so he could learn what they were. In this, he didn’t do that. What benefit would he have to do that if he was going to turn on them later? In the comic, he kind of kept a tight leash on everyone, but in the show, he led but he wasn’t a dictator or anything. Half the time, he would have an idea and someone would say something, or Chase would say “why does he come up with all the plans, what if someone else has a plan??” AND while his plans don’t always work, at least he tries. Everyone else goes along with it without offering anything to add. Alex is just there to be the plan man I guess.
It was Alex’s idea to shut off the power like a surge to hide the fact that there was a flash from Molly’s phone. If he was being set up from the beginning to be the mole, how would he know that Gert wouldn’t let Molly see, and that Molly would still try to see and take a picture? He’s a genius, not God. In the comic, he tells Karolina not to let Molly see but in the show he didn’t say anything to Molly. Alex is probably the only one we don’t really get to see be emotional about any of this until the end, he’s been keeping it together. Yeah, he’s been short with his parents, especially after episode 5, but he’s been the one that’s been pretty resilient the entire time.
I think it’s important that Alex thinks ahead as well, in episode 5 “Kingdom” which is a Wilder-centric episode, pretty much the only one, where he’s kidnapped by Darius, an old friend of Geoff’s. He asks Alex to give him his phone, Alex fingers the gun he took from his dad’s desk, he took it because he’s the only one without anything, and you can tell that he’s thinking “I could use it, but am I fast enough to get them all before they get me?” so he pushes it back down and gives him his phone. Plus, I think a part of him wanted to know more about his father’s past… which to me shows that this Alex, is more compassionate than the one in the comics. It may just be Rhenzy but so far I can’t see it.
I just think that his role is reduced. It’s not about screen time but more about his need in the group. Tv show Chase is secretly smart, which in the comics I’ve read, he’s not that intelligent but he’s very street smart and has a lot of wisdom whereas Alex is extremely intelligent but also extremely wise which he is in the show, but still a teenager, but by making Chase smart like that, kind of makes Alex seem unneeded which bothers me. Why do that exactly? To make Chase more three-dimensional? I don’t think he was ever one-dimensional, he seems really interesting and a good character, they didn’t have to do that to make him “special” in the show. He already was. By doing what they’ve done, they took what really made Alex “special” in the group where he has nothing else, away. I don’t understand that. Plus, he’s treated suspiciously, Nico gives him attitude after she learns about Amy and it just dries me up the wall to know that he’s been keeping it together, doing all he can to find evidence, he’s pulling a lot of the weight just to have Nico shout at him, freeze him out and pretty much decide “oh I don’t like you anymore” and then have Chase destroy his laptop. I mean are you kidding?
Alex & Nico
So from the beginning, it’s clear that Alex has a thing for Nico. It’s also, I think, clear to see that they were probably the closest in the group. Not only were they embracing each other in their picture, but he wanted to have them get together for Nico. He went to her, and he spoke with her… how he missed her. She made it seem like she couldn’t hear him with her headphones but we know she heard him.
Understandably, Nico was upset because he knew this secret and he didn’t tell her.
It’s hard for a 14-year-old kid, to want to tell a secret, even if it’s to the girl he loves, who happens to be the sister of the girl who committed “suicide” to not be afraid of the repercussions. Alex is a genius but he’s still human. He’s calculated but when it comes to Nico, he doesn’t always get it right. I think it’s unfair to expect so much from him and then treat him like he killed Amy himself. He did what he did to protect Nico and Amy, both whom he loves.
It seems like they wanted to add a reason, a more emotional reason, to push them apart. I don’t think they needed to do that, especially since it just makes Alex look bad, and then if they do go forward the mole storyline it makes him seem like a vindictive dick and we don’t need that on top of him being okay with destroying the world and his parents killing kids.
I’ve seen a lot of people say that since the show has done different things compared to the comics, that the whole thing between Nico and Alex could cause him to go bad.
That’s stupid. Why would Alex allow his feelings for Nico make him go bad just because she decided she liked someone else and didn’t tell him?
Alex being the logical person he is, I cannot imagine that being the reason. He would be hurt yes, but I doubt that would do anything.
It would be out of his character right now. We do not have any indication that Alex is a vengeful person. So far, he’s been very caring, yes a bit methodical but not to the point where he would ruin the others because of Nico. That’s dumb.
There is no reason for this situation to make Alex a bad guy. If they do that… dumb and I’m already over it. Just the implication of it I’m over it. I really want there to be a heart-to-heart conversation between him and Nico, where they stop playing games and actually talk. Or she actually listens to him without being extra. Season 2, make it happen. Redeem my boy.
Alex & Amy’s Secret
I think this whole thing with Amy is the biggest reason as to why people say “he’s making it hard to like him…” which this HAS to be the only reason because otherwise, Alex is likable. I can’t see it otherwise. In the beginning we knew something happened to Nico’s older sister Amy, it was part of what drove everyone apart. It’s also said that Alex did not attend her funeral, Nico even asks him about it earlier on but he doesn’t get the chance to tell her. So we know that’s a big thing in the group, Alex didn’t go which made everyone upset. We still don’t know why so I hope season 2 gives the reason and I hope it’s not something dumb. The whole password thing started it, she doesn’t let it go rightfully so. I would want to know too. So, she demands to know more, so he finally tells her that he knew something was up with Amy prior to her death. Like I’ve said many times throughout this, Nico is mad. He tells her that Amy made him promise. Of course, Nico is like “she’s my sister, I deserved the right to know!” Especially since it looked like a suicide and Nico thought it might have been something she did. So going forward, it’s smart-ass comments, but this child is so wishy-washy I get whiplash. Sometimes she speaks to him normally and other times she’s just UGH!
For the 50 millionth time, I’m not excusing him for not telling her, but at the same time, Amy trusted Alex to not tell her secret and he honored that. He also didn’t want to make things worse for Nico and how would him telling her that help? Amy was still going to be dead. The only thing that would change is that Nico wouldn’t feel responsible but whose to say that that’s even true? Alex did the smart thing, the thing he thought was right, to protect the people he cared about. I get it. It was a secret, but that hardly merits him being distrustful at least to the point where people are like “I don’t trust Alex” outside of that… someone PLEASE tell me what he’s done.
The first season only covers a few issues of the original run of comics. The season ended with them running away after seeing that they’ve been framed for murdering Destiny Gonzalez and kidnapping Molly Hernandez. So, as of right now, anyone could be the mole IF they do this storyline. I don’t think they should because I think it would ruin the dynamic of the show and unless they allow the character who betrays the Runaways to be redeemed (and alive), then I don’t think they should do it. All of the teens are good characters and they are interesting. Making one of them mole, at this point, especially with Jonah and possible the actual Gibborim being at the bottom of that hole, it just doesn’t feel right to me. However, if they do go through with it, it doesn’t have to be Alex, it doesn’t make sense for it to be him right now. PLUS HE COULDN’T EVEN HANDLE THE STAFF OF ONE!! IT BURNED HIM WHEN HE TRIED TO TOUCH IT WHEN HE WAS TRYING TO HELP NICO WITH THE SNOW SPELL!!!!!!!
If anything, it should be Chase or Karolina.
Chase because he has a lot to lose in his mind. Pride is taking care of his father, he knows that Pride is up to no good but he loves his father, who has been an abusive dick all of his life. But that’s his dad, so he gets a pass right? No. Chase destroyed the laptop. That’s already a red flag. He also used the fistigons to destroy the computer console that he was sure he could understand because his father designed it, caused the alarm to go off. Which he could have let Gert press the big red button the screen. Just saying.
Karolina because there was a text to Jonah in the finale that said “Mission Accomplished: Let me know what’s next” which kind of indicates there could be a mole if that’s from one of the kids. I mean, who could that be from? Jonah dismissed Leslie and Frank from Karolina’s side, he wakes her up and they talk. We have no idea what they talked about, what he might have said or anything. SOOOO it could be her. It definitely indicates that someone is helping him. His only other close supporters are the Deans. Frank? But what mission? We’ve see him directly helping Jonah and he seems like a major pawn. Leslie Why, especially after she helped make sure Karolina was rescued. I’m just saying.
At this point, what reason would Alex have to be the mole? People were complaining about Alex running off as soon as the team saved him from Darius but I don’t think that holds up. He shot Andre who had a gun on his dad. I mean, Geoff is still his dad just like Victor is still Chase’s dad. He ran back because he KNEW that he was in danger and he wanted to help, especially after learning that Andre was only following orders. Andre’s face said ‘don’t make me…please’ and he looks scared. Alex and his dad fought because he not only learned more about his father’s past and how he’s gone back on his word, he also knows that could happen to Andre. So he tried save that kid too. I don’t think him leaving the others to go and save a stranger, merits him being distrustful or ungrateful. I think that’s a flimsy argument.
This was long and if you made it through, I appreciate that. I just had a lot of things I had to get out and this is my outlet. I really want season 2 to explore the kids more, we understand the parents a lot which I think was a good choice but unfortunately, it was at the expense of the kids in a lot of ways. I hope season 2 really focuses on them. I really want Alex to get his chance to be the strong leader he obviously can be. It’s exciting to see a prominent character, who is a black teenage boy, who is a black nerd, who is smart, who gets the girl (a bit), and who is the defacto leader of the group. All of that is awesome and we don’t see that often. After re-reading the comic, I saw the little hints of Alex being… untrustworthy and the mole but in this show, I don’t understand how he’s unlikable. I don’t understand the dislike of him, nor do I see the purpose in making him the mole.
Movies and shows deviate a lot from their source material all of the time and sometimes they’re good changes. This should be one of those times where it should be deviated. He is a strong and interesting character who deserves more than what has been given to him so far. Plus, Rhenzy Feliz has been so great and he’s made some great choices for the character and I think he deserves to be on the show for a long time and not in flashbacks.
I think his character has a lot to offer and I don’t think he should be a scapegoat, a mole, or written off for any reason.
I guarantee you though, that if they do kill him off I’m not watching it anymore. At this point, it would be a big mistake. I was devastated when they killed Wes Gibbons on How To Get Away With Murder and I know I’m probably in the minority but he was also a good character. I haven’t caught up with the show this season and after thinking about it, that’s partly the reason. I’ll get to it eventually but I’m sure the same thing will happen to this show if they kill Alex Wilder.
It’ll be a big mistake. Don’t kill Alex Wilder. Don’t ruin Alex Wilder. He’s too important.
P.S. Let the boy smile more too. Rhenzy Feliz has an adorable smile.
So I just watched Marvel’s Runaways and I have to say I quite enjoyed myself. I wanted to watch it initially but hadn’t gotten around to it. I also just read the 2003 comics which I very much enjoyed. I’m hoping to keep reading soon.
**There are spoilers ahead. Be warned. Do NOT read this if you don’t want to know details about the show or even the comics.
Cast and Characters. So the main characters are the six Runaways and then their parents are also important. It’s gonna be a lot, but I am going to make mention of each kid and the parents involved.
Rhenzy Feliz as Alex Wilder. He is my favorite character in the show. He is a solitary person in the beginning. He’s considered a nerd due to him being into computers and gaming. Alex has a high intellect and he becomes the leader of sorts of the Runaways. It’s clear to see that Alex wants to reunite with his childhood friends but he recognizes that they’re all into their own worlds but he leaves the invitation open and he’s hopeful. As things are discovered, he gets very upset and feels betrayed by his parents. I feel like he takes it the hardest and he’s also the first one who wants to find proof. He’s always on the move, wanting to do something, find something, understand something. He makes tough decisions and while he doesn’t like it, he does it because it’s the smart thing to do. That type of personality does help him be a good leader, though I can understand why he may not be likable to everyone. He also has a thing for Nico, it’s clear in how he speaks with her, acts around her and in how he looks at her. He’s a bit awkward about it but everyone else pretty much knows it. He’s usually really calm in situations, he’s terrified (Rhenzy does a great job of showing Alex’s fear in his eyes but maintaining a calm facade otherwise) but he can think clearly. I like that about him. He’s not irrational… unless you smash his computer lol. I think things are hard on him because he doesn’t want to see his parents like this (he actually seemed to be the closest to his parents, even if he was distant at the beginning of the show) but the facts say otherwise… especially after what they did in the finale, I cannot imagine him being able to handle that… but he’d be silent about it. I mean if they were the ones to do it, they were the ones who did it in the comics. He’s a suffer in silence type. He shows that he’s very compassionate because he cares about his friends, he does make some questionable decisions but in the end, he’s always down. I also love his clothes, he always dresses so nice and he got swag lol.
I think Rhenzy Feliz is fantastic in this role and I think a lot of me liking him has to do with this actor. I liked him in the comics but I think Rhenzy manages to do a little bit more that keeps him likable to me. He’s so cute with his earnest face lol, but I think it’s a disservice that he doesn’t get to smile much since his character can be very melancholy. I think he manages to hold himself together and while it’s clear he’s not the oldest, he feels that way and while Rhenzy is one of the younger cast members, he holds himself very well in this role. I see bright things for him and this character and I hope the writers do right by him. I refuse to have another Wes Gibbons on my hands.
Lyrica Okano as Nico Minoru. Nico isolates herself from others with her appearance and quiet personality. She is this way after her sister’s suicide. She used to be a bit more open but the death caused her to withdraw. Nico comes off odd in the beginning, she’s into Wicca and what not, but she obviously misses her friends as well. She shows up at Alex’s house for the “hang out night” after failing to I guess bring her sister back through a Wiccan ritual. Nico is a quiet person, very observant but if she has an opinion she makes it known. Quiet yet outspoken when need be. She also has a thing for Alex and that shows in that they have a lot of quiet moments together, or he’s the first person she calls whenever she needs help or needs to talk. It’s cute. Nico feels out-of-place in her family. Her mother is closed off and her father is distant but she obviously wishes for things to be different. As the show goes on, we see her grow a bit in her confidence of wanting to learn more. I do think she can be a bit over-dramatic, I mean I get it, Alex could have told her what he knew about her sister, but it’s a hard situation because he thought he was protecting her and honoring the last wish of her older sister, I’ll get into that another time. But Nico in ways, feels like the right hand man in the group.
Lyrica Okano is very good. The emotions she can go through in a moment is always evident on her face even though Nico tries to hide it. I like that. I like the fact that she feels human and not closed off like she was in the beginning or could be. I think she has great chemistry with her costars, especially Rhenzy, and I think season 2 could allow for her to really get into the magic or “science” as her mother says, from the Staff of One.
Gregg Sulkin as Chase Stein. He is the jock of the group. A lacrosse player who most people dismiss as a dumb jock but he is very smart in engineering and science. Chase is the most different from his comic counterpart I think, which is a good thing personally. He needed to be more than that loud… whatever he is in the comics. I like the quietness in the show. It’s actually his idea to build the Fistigons. Chase does have some moments when he does come off dumb, naive or just very blind to what’s going on around him. He is also the most hopeful for his parents, especially his dad since he wants to believe that his dad actually wants to connect with him, though they do for a while. Chase is likable, though he could also be a character that people might not like due to his kind of wishy-washy nature.
Gregg Sulkin is very likable though which I think helps, otherwise I might not like Chase. His cute smile, big eyes and dimples make him have this innocence about him that just makes my heart melt for Chase whenever he’s sad about his dad. He wants to believe his dad is good. It’s kind of sad really. He’s also British, which I remember him on Wizards of Waverly Place and I think he does an American accent very well.
Virginia Gardner as Karolina Dean. Karolina is a church girl, she is one of the faces of the Church of Gibborim. People often tease her, call her a slut among other things (this is why I defended Chloe Grace Moretz’s casting as Carrie) and it bothers her but she takes it in strides due to her religious upbringing. She wants to be free, to pursue her own desires. She first experiences freedom when she goes to a party and that’s also when she discovers an inkling of her powers. Karolina’s character probably gains the most confidence as the show continues. She has the ability of flight, to glow with rainbow-colored light, and shoot beams of light. In the comics, she and her parents are aliens but I don’t think they’re gonna go that route here, at least not with both of her parents being aliens. She comes off naive as well sometimes, but she’s very compassionate and tries to connect with Molly and gets closer in friendship to Chase and she and Gert understand each other, though they probably fight the most too.
I kept wondering who Virginia Gardner reminded me of and I still haven’t figured it out, but I like her. She’s likable. She does remind me a little bit in some of her delivery of lines of Kristen Stewart (I actually like her as Twilight did nothing for me in making me dislike her). I like some of her little quirks when Karolina discovered things at the beginning, being free and discovering her powers etc. Also the episode when she learns she could fly, when she had her little attitude, I also thought she did a good job for considering she spends most of the show being the smiley one.
Ariela Barer as Gert Yorkes. Gert is a social activist, a loud personality, opinionated and the source for a lot of funny moments. She can come off too strong sometimes and I can definitely see why people would dislike her but she’s one of the characters that says what she’s thinking or feeling at all times. They need that as most of them don’t, at least not right away. A lot of her loudness is a facade as she is insecure in ways, especially when it comes to her feelings about Chase. I think Gert’s relationship with Molly is really sweet; there is a part in particular where she sings Molly to sleep. Really cute. She learns of the dinosaur her parents created that she has a telepathic link to. Gert quickly creates a bond with Old Lace and it’s like having a giant dog. I actually thought she was adopted as well as she looks hispanic and her parents are white… but ya know it’s fine lol.
I think Ariela Barer is really funny. She really plays Gert well, I actually kind of like her way more in the show than I did in the comics. I love the purple hair on her and whoever does the costume design does a great job with her. I love that she has anxiety and that she deals with that, I’m sure a lot of viewers can identify with that and I think Ariela handles that well. She has great chemistry with Gregg Sulkin and while she can be in your face with her personality, her emotional moments are really beautiful.
Allegra Acosta as Molly Hernandez. Definitely a favorite character. She is the youngest, I would say 12 or 13 and she always has a positive attitude. Molly learns that she has superhuman strength and invulnerability that tires her out after using it. She is feisty, a bit naive obviously but very wise for her age as well. She is a kid so sometimes her dumb moments I want to give a pass, but I have to remind myself that she’s really young since Allegra Acosta is 15 and looks like it. But she’s really likable and I love it when she enjoys using her powers because I enjoying watching her use them. I also love the faces she makes when she’s upset because with the eyes and her expressions… kills me. She’s great! I love Molly’s energy and she’s way more likable than her annoying counterpart in the comic.
The Wilders (Catherine and Geoffrey). Katherine is a successful lawyer and Geoffrey is a self-made business man. They are one of the two couples that are on equal footing. It does feel like Catherine is a bit more ruthless than Geoffrey is, but he’s just really protective of his kid and feels the most remorse for what they do. I like them and I think they have great chemistry and understanding of each other. They are a strong power couple who seems to keep it all out in the open with other, for the most part. I think both actors are great in their role. I think Ryan Sands (Geoffrey) is a large and intimidating teddy bear. Angel Parker (Catherine) is a caring mom who will kick your butt if you mess with her son.
The Deans (Leslie and Frank).Leslie Dean (Annie Wersching) is the leader of the religious group “The Church of Gibborim” which is pretty much a cult. She seems like the leader of Pride and one of the more ruthless of the group. Leslie is the one who finds and brings the sacrifices. Annie Wersching is great at eye acting and I think if it wasn’t her, then Leslie would just be this crazy person, but Wersching manages to have this… way about her that makes you see she has a plan but doesn’t know how to keep it together. It’s pretty interesting. Frank Dean (Kip Pardue) is a former movie star who I struggling in his acting career. He is not on equal footing with his wife, though he is closer to Karolina, but he wants to be more involved. He’s a bit of a curious cat, and gets involved when he probably shouldn’t.
The Steins (Janet and Victor). Reminds me of Frankenstein lol, maybe an inspiration? But Janet is the “perfect PTA mom” though she has a brilliant mind as well, but we definitely don’t get see that as she takes more of a passive role compared to Victor’s active one. Ever Carradine has the soft, sweet voice that keeps her from being imposing compared to the other moms, and she’s the most motherly as well. I love her facial expressions though, she has some sick burns going on in the show lol. James Marsters as Victor is quite scary. I think he’s scary anyway. Victor is extreme in that he wants Chase to live up to his potential but in the past, he didn’t feel he was, which made him frightening and abusive. Victor is the one that Pride needs the most as he’s the only one who can create and understand the little devices they use in their sacrifices. I like all of his scenes because you never know what he might do.
The Yorkes (Stacey and Dale). They are bioengineers and the most quirky and eccentric of the group. They’re probably my favorite adults as they’re the ones who care the most, at least in what’s going on and trying to understand. Dale is awkward and says whatever he wants (It’s where Gert gets it from) but he can also be very scary himself when he needs to be. I can see my bother in law playing this part. Stacey is the best! Her expressions and comments are gold! They get a bit more to do in the latter half of the season. When they have to send Molly away to protect, that entire scene was beautiful. Brigid Brannagh and Kevin Weisman have great chemistry with each other, and their girls and they’re the most likable in the group.
The Minorus (Tina and Robert). Tina is a brilliant innovator, ruthless CEO and perfectionist. A “Dragon lady” if you will. She is cold, and closed off and probably the most scary next to Leslie. She never seems like she cares, or she’s the one in Pride who makes the hard choices. She has the Staff of One that she created with science, I guess they didn’t want to deal with magic that much, but she knows how to wield that thing. She does things that’s best for her family mostly and her endgame will always be her family. I think Brittany Ishibashi is great in this role, I don’t think I’ve ever seen her in anything before but she’s very intimidating but when she has to let emotions through, I felt really bad for her. James Yaegashi is Robert, and he is fine in his role. He doesn’t get much to do as not much is known about him other than the fact that he’s closer to Nico and nicer than Tina. He is very distant and has his own thing going on but he manages to get a moment in episode 8 I think that really allows him to be a character.
Julian McMahon as Jonah. A mysterious character, but it can be determined that he is the defacto leader of Pride. Jonah knows what he wants and he does whatever he wants to get it, no matter who he is hurting in the process. Julian McMahon is a scary dude period so when he showed his face, I knew he wasn’t up to any good in the show. I’m interested to know more about his character and I hope we get to see him really let some of the other characters have it.
The Story. Six teenagers from different backgrounds unite against a common enemy — their criminal parents, collectively known as the Pride. They congregated at Alex’s house after each of their evenings didn’t turn out the way they wanted and they try to have a good night. They discover a secret hiding place in Mr. Wilder’s study and discover their parents doing a ritual together where they killed someone. The kids freak out not knowing what to do and what their parents are up too. It really goes into allowing the viewer to spend time with the parents, to understand them, to spend some time with the kids and understand their dynamics in ways. It was really smart to wait until the season finally to actually let the kids become Runaways. I think the show allows the story to progress, but it does it very slowly that really stretches out the plot… maybe a bit too much but I’ll talk about that later. It gives a lot of questions but it does answer those questions. The story is interesting and really allows for some interesting character moments. I can’t wait to see what they do in the second season with the fact that now they are all accused of murder and of kidnapping Molly. Should be good.
The Friendship. The strongest aspect of this show is definitely the friendship between the Runaways. They start off apart from each other, they’ve drifted apart and are into their own worlds (outside of Gert and Molly since they live together), but they come back together and stumble across something that unites them. It’s great to see them grow with each other, together and apart. I think as a group they’re strong but of course there are some that connect more each other than the others.
Alex and Nico. They have one of the strongest connections I think. They also have a bit of a romantic chemistry and relationship going on that I fully support. He cares about her and doesn’t really know how to go about it, but I think it shows that she knows and she feels something for him. I do think he feels more for her than she does for him, but with the right kind of growth and writing it could grow organically. Whenever they’re together, a lot of the talking is done by Nico and he’s listening or offering advice, or he’s trying to be just be there. Like the great scene during the Pride gala when they’re hiding out in Tina’s office. I thought that was a great moment between them. I also love the scene in the limo when he puts his arm around her, she leans into him and he kind of plays with her purse, it was so cute. He also tries to be supportive. He went with her to the police station and he even helped her clean up the mess she made in her mother’s office. She called him because she knew he would understand and help her. It’s not perfect, they do have arguments, but I think they feel the closest and the pair that doesn’t feel random or out of left field.
Gert and Molly. They are so cute! I love their sisterhood, it’s definitely something special. Molly is the adopted one but she doesn’t feel like she is, Gert is protective of her, though she does treat her like a little kid when Molly just wants to be involved lol. I think one of the best part is when Gert sings to her to help her sleep, or later on when Stacey and Dean have to send Molly away and she and Gert have a beautiful scene. The actresses work together so well.
Chase and Gert. Now they don’t really have a strong friendship but they definitely have a romantic one growing which is also cute. In the beginning Gert obviously likes Chase but he’s blinded by Karolina’s prettiness and aloofness, that she doesn’t stand a chance. Towards the end they get closer and it’s cute, both actors have really good chemistry with each other and while I don’t think there was really much indication in the beginning that Chase liked her, they did work well together and it clear that there might be something in the future.
The Kids and their Parents. Another strong aspect of this show is that it’s human, which helps because the comics are like that as well. The show explores the relationship with the parents a bit more which for a show, I think is a strong choice. Each kid deals with their family differently. It’s very interesting to see the dynamics in the family.
The Wilder(s) seem to be closest to an extent. Alex has been distant but it seems that he at least used to be a bit more conversational with his parents which shows in how his father and mother speak with him and interact with him. I would say their entire family is one of the stronger ones. It was great watching both of them get riled up when Julian threatened to hurt their kids.
The Yorkes are probably the family that is the closest group, with both parents and Gert and Molly. Even with Molly being adopted she feels like she’s part of the family, and Gert and Molly seem so close that I actually thought they both were adopted by Dale and Stacy. The emotions that happen towards the end with them and Molly, was extremely heart-wrenching and you could tell that it was killing all of them. As a family, they were probably my favorite.
The Dean(s) are definitely one of the broken ones, which is interesting because what they have is a front anyway. Leslie is in charge of the church and I thought there were times when it seemed that she and Karolina were close but as the show went on, it was easier to tell that Karolina was much closer to Frank than her mother. She even trusted him with secrets towards the end of the show. Their dynamic felt like a power struggle a lot of the time. A power struggle that wanted to be on equal footing… quite interesting.
The Minoru(s) are interesting and it’s hard to really say. They have tragedy in the family as Amy, the oldest daughter committed suicide which prompted Nico’s change into her gothic persona. Robert is definitely closer to Nico than Tina but I think Nico felt out-of-place anyway in her family. Tina is closed off and a bit of a hard ass but as the show goes on, it’s definitely obvious she loves her family, and Robert has his own thing going on that he doesn’t feel part anyway.
The Stein(s) are also a broken family. First of all, Victor is a workaholic and violent. He’s beaten both Janet and Chase in the past and while we don’t really see any of that in show, we see moments where they’re both obviously terrified of him, even Chase, who is taller and bigger. There are moments where his eyes are just huge in fear and anticipation. They’re a smart family, that’s easy to tell, but there is definitely a feeling of “who’s the boss” in there. Definitely Victor. But Chase and Janet are close, that’s easy to see, but he also loves his father.
Relatable. I think when you have an ensemble cast like this, it’s important that the teenagers feel relatable and like real teenagers. Sure, their circumstances are extreme and it is set in the Marvel universe, but these kids are just kids. They still have to deal with their emotions, romance, school, bullying, puberty and the problems with their parents. I think all six of the teenagers are relatable and even if you don’t see yourself in all of them, you’ll see parts of yourself in one of them definitely.
Potential. I think this show has a lot of potential. Being that it’s based on comics, there are a lot of places it could go, I mean, I hope it doesn’t completely follow the comics as I am still upset at how the 2003 run ended but I hope they do manage to stick to some plot points. SOME. The way the season ended with them actually running this time, (great shot by the way) due to something the Wilders did (if they actually did it), follows what they do in the comics, which is pretty ruthless lol. I love it though. I hope they stick with it. Perhaps they’ll even have a chance to crossover with some of the other Marvel shows like Agents of Shield or the new Cloak and Dagger show that’s supposed to be on Freeform.
The Pacing. There are times when the show is reeeally slow. Certain moments that should be quick take forever to get there. It’s a show so things must take it’s time to an extent to make more seasons, but I don’t think it should feel like a glacial pace that I could lose interest for even a minute. Plus, some characters make really stupid decisions that affect a lot and could easily be avoided if they just, oh I don’t know, don’t charge the phone in the room you’re not supposed to go in, why not take it back to your room or something?
Missed Opportunities. Maybe this will happen in the second season but there are some things I noticed that they don’t really touch on. When I come back to review season 2, we shall see.
Alex and Chase. It seems that Alex and Chase used to be really close friends at one point, but Chase took the jock route and Alex is the nerd which pushed them apart. They have a lot of moments where they feel very antagonistic and I wonder what exactly happened if anything. I want to see more interactions between them. They’re the only guys in the group (which is cool since its always the girls who are outnumbered) and I think we should see some type of interaction that explains. I mean after the fight they had… I need to know what the deal is between them.
The Steins. We never really spent a lot of time with them, at least not with them together. We did see a flashback to show how Chase’s father was, but I kind of wish we got to see more of them as a whole. I don’t know, I like detail (though I know when too much is too much) and I wish we could have seen more of the monster that Victor was. James Marsters is a great actor and I think he would have had fun with that.
Not Enough Action. I expected a bit more action. There is some good realistic action going on. There is even a nice subplot where Alex gets kidnapped because of some bad blood with his dad and an old friend… I kind of wish that lasted longer than it did but ya know, cool. Then there is some stuff in the second to last episode mostly. Considering that Chase has the Fistigons, Gert has Old Lace, Karolina is a rainbow lightbulb, Molly has the strength, and Nico has the staff, there should be more going on. We don’t really get to see them use what they can do. Hopefully we get more of it in the second season. I’m not expecting like fights every episode, but I think outside of Molly who we’ve seen grow into her powers, the others should get the chance to show what they’ve learned with their abilities.
Alex’s Involvement/Character Growth. So he’s my favorite character. I think I have a thing for the characters that get less, because I see the potential and sometimes it’s the actor that helps. I think Alex is a really cool and interesting character, he’s a very strong one that honestly could turn out good or bad depending on what happens. So far, a lot of things have happened and it seems to just get worse and worse for him. The others have things and moments that allow them to grow into themselves and receive clarity and strength. For Alex, it goes the opposite way. I recognize that THAT IS CHARACTER DEVELOPMENT however, I feel like things could turn sour really quickly if he’s not allowed to show what he can do. In the first few episodes he naturally took on the leader role, I don’t know if he’s the oldest of the group or not, definitely seems like Chase or Karolina are older (but that may because the actors are 22 and 25 respectively) but he just oozes maturity and cleverness. If anything, he should be like the Professor Charles Xavier of the group, but more involved. He doesn’t have any abilities or weapons but he’s supposed to be really smart, we’ve seen that but not as much as I think we should have. It feels sometimes like they don’t make him feel necessary because Chase has genius potential and Alex is SUPPOSED to be a genius. He’s put pieces together, he’s made the hard choices (which everyone dumps on him for) and he spent an episode or two or three decrypting a hard drive. I feel like we still don’t really know him the way we were getting to know the other characters. I think he should get that chance in the second season. Plus, I think Rhenzy Feliz is very charismatic onscreen and I want him to really get his chance on the show.
The Romances. So, I feel like I have a problem with romances generally in tv shows but that’s because they sometimes either take waaaaay to long and do that whole “Will they, won’t they?” thing that gets really annoying OR they make it happen WAY to fast which I think is worse because if I’m not invested in their relationship then why would I root for them just because you smushed them together? I think the 2003 comics do this as well. Plus, the lead characters are teenagers and I’m not interested in seeing a good show ruined because of romance drama. That sucks.
Chase and Gert. Now I know I talked about them earlier, I think they’re cute, I do but I also think Chase decided he liked her out of nowhere. There was hardly indication that he felt for her the way she felt for him. I think he recognized the fact that he didn’t dislike her but romantic? Meh, I didn’t really see that until he called her first after his father got hurt which is about episode 8. He spent most of the time pining after Karolina, so it felt really random. I like it but I wish they would have allowed Chase to realize it and think on it more or something.
Karolina/Nico/Alex. No they’re not a thrupple, but as I stated before, I like Alex and Nico, I think they’re really cute. I also know what happens in the comics that pushes them apart and that Karolina likes Nico. I think they’re together at times in the comics… I don’t know, haven’t gotten that far but apparently there’s something there. I think the Karolina/Nico part is the rushed and forced part of this triangle. I have no problem with the fact that Karolina likes Nico or that Nico might be bisexual, it will be something she has to obviously think about… if they allow it. But we had no indication that Karolina was into Nico. I remember thinking that she obviously wasn’t into Chase, at least not the way he was into her. When she walked in on a moment between Alex and Nico, she was awkward and I was like “why is she looking like that? Is it because they were really making out… or is she into Nico or Alex?” However, she hardly had any scenes with either of them outside of being with the group that I didn’t really think about it again until they were getting ready for the school dance. She started to tell Nico something and she leaned towards her and Nico was like “ummm?” Then when she kissed her, it was a moment that was great for Karolina because she finally gained the confidence to come to grips with her feelings, but then Nico kissed back and I was like “What?” Did she kiss back because she likes her? Did she kiss back because she was just kissed? I have a lot of questions that I hope they answer later on. Then later, when Karolina goes up against Julian, they all run to safety at her request after some over dramatic refusals by Nico. After the explosion, Nico wants to go back for her but Alex says first that they should keep going, and the others agreed with him, plus they all look so haggard that I understand them wanting to take a moment. I would want to too. But Nico is all like “WHAT?” ya know dramatic and stuff and I was like “Okay, so it is weird that everyone isn’t up for rescuing her, especially after Karolina was willing to help save Alex and go see Chase previously, but Nico is being a bit much”. I get that she was mad at Alex for keeping a secret about her sister from her, and she has every right to be upset but I thought everything just happened and unraveled so quickly that it felt wrong. It just happened without preparation. Yes, I know they’re teenagers but I couldn’t help but to roll my eyes because it was so quick. I can’t even enjoy or even want to root for Nico and Karolina because I’m not over the fact that Nico and Alex never got to really hash things out. She just yelled at him. I don’t know… I don’t like love triangles, they’re annoying and I hope this doesn’t turn into anything serious at least that causes good characters to look bad. Especially Alex since he already is a character that people have mixed feelings on. I hope they don’t go the comic route for him because of love. I will be very upset if that happens. I hope they hash this out and if Nico and Karolina are the next step, that they allow it grow the way it should… realistically and organically.
The Battle. So in episode 9, the Runaways face off against Pride and more importantly Julian. They try to go and foil their plans at a construction site and the parents show up trying to get them to stop. Julian then shows up and hurts them, they all get back up and stand against him, even Alex who doesn’t have a dinosaur, weapons or powers. I was like that’s my dude! But anyway, Karolina uses her powers, tells the others to run away and she faces off against Julian and it was boring. I guess we’ll see them face off again seriously in season 2 but meh. I think it could have been better, especially if they were gonna have Karolina use her powers against Julian. I expected more to be honest. Though I do like the part when the parents show up and they’re all yelling at each other lol and Molly goes “and we’ll FIGHT you if we have too” and her eyes light up and the adults back away in shock! lol BAWSE but when Julian shows up it’s a yawn.
Potential Storylines. This isn’t really a hit against the show but I have to talk about it because I just DON’T WANT IT! So, I’m gonna spoil the comic here, I kind of have too to explain my thoughts on this… So in the comics, when they all escape, after some minor fights between the kids and the parents (in the comics the Wilders are mob bosses, which isn’t too far off I guess lol. The Steins are mad scientists, on equal footing. The Yorkes are time travelers. The Minorus are dark wizards. The Deans are aliens and the Hayes, Molly’s parents who are alive, are evil mutants), they actually run to a secret hiding place that Chase knows about. The parents find a note from one of the kids stating that they are still loyal to their parents. They don’t know which child said this but they have hope that they’ll be able to catch up with their kids because of the mole. The mole also alerts the police to their location. Later, they go to the secret location their parents meet to offer up the soul of their sacrifice to these gods called “The Gibborim” who want to destroy the people on earth and then recreate it into a Utopia. After Janet Stein reveals she’s pregnant (which puts Chase as the oldest), the others decide they would have children as well because the Gibborim told them that they would only allow six of them to live in the new utopia, so they decide that it should be their kids that get to have the Utopia. So, Chase almost dies, but he’s weak so he gives Alex his x-ray goggles and the Fistigons, and they go to fight their parents. Nico gets frozen by her parents, Gert gets knocked out, so does Molly and Alex uses Nico’s staff to knock Karolina out. He releases Nico and reveals that he was the mole the entire time. I was PISSED lol but damn that was some good writing and a good twist, I wouldn’t have thought it was him. But it makes sense. Anyway, he explains the whole thing to Nico, he reveals that he knew about Pride for at least a year, and he knew that the Hayes and the Deans plotted together to kill the others and their kids so they and their children (Molly and Karolina) could live in the Utopia since neither family are human. So he had a plan to save his family and Nico’s family since he loves her. Bruh… it’s a lot. In the end, the Gibborim show up, Molly crushes the box that holds the soul, and Alex tries to protect everyone by telling the Gibborim it was all his fault and they incinerate him… I mean, there is literally nothing left of him. UPSET. Then its assumed the parents all died when the kids escaped because their underwater temple exploded.
Alex’s future. So anyway, I don’t want them to go this route. While I enjoyed the twist, though it killed my soul since I love Alex, I don’t want that to happen in the show. So far, Alex is the character who has shown a ton of compassion for everyone. He does make the hard decisions and he does get a lot of flack because of it but I think that it shows that he cares about his group. Everything he’s done has been for the Runaways (he even tries to name them lol it was cute) or for the good of someone else. When he shot that Andre kid, he did it to save his father, but then he tried to go and save Andre because he knew what they were going to do to him. He didn’t have to do that since the kid helped kidnap him. I just don’t want him to turn against his group because at this point, it would be OUT OF CHARACTER. If it happens, they better have little moments here and there where it shows that he’s drifting away… he’s already mostly an outsider since he’s the only one without a weapon/ability. I also don’t think they’ve already been building up this “mole storyline” either. Yeah, he’s smart and he does make hard decisions, and in the finale, he does make a call to someone, we assume it was to Darius who gave him money and a gun (he is the only one without anything directly protect him and he had good aim when he shot Andre), but I don’t think those things point to him betraying anyone. I just want him to have his chance and though this is an interesting storyline, I feel like this would make things much worse and if he dies… I just can’t. I think it would actually be interesting… if they DO go this way for either Karolina or Chase to be the mole since they were the ones who wanted to believe their parents had reasons or whatever. I’d rather them NOT do the mole storyline but if so, I think Karolina or Chase would be the better options in the show.
Overall, I liked the show a lot. I really enjoyed myself. It has some issues that I hope they fix going forward but I think the strongest aspect of the show is the cast and characters. Everyone, including the parents, are extremely interesting and the actors do such a great job in their roles. The story is also very interesting and that it leaves a lot of questions that need to be answered so viewers will keep coming back for more. I appreciate the slow burn of the plot which allowed for some of the characters to really shine. I think the chemistry between the Runaways and even Pride is really strong, not to mention, certain actors and their characters really fit well together. It’s intriguing. It’s also really funny, I think the actors have great comedic timing with their delivery and facial expressions. I didn’t give its own “pro” but it’s a good thing. The characters are relatable. I see a lot of potential for the show and the characters going forward, even if they don’t completely follow the comics. Now, on the other hand, I DON’T WANT THEM TO FOLLOW THE COMICS COMPLETELY ESPECIALLY FOR ALEX’S CHARACTER. I think the action is pretty lame and not very well choreographed for the little bit we get to see, I really hope they up the ante in the second season. The battle in season 9 that was built up was quite boring. There are a lot of missed opportunities in the show that could create more mystery, or to set up future things, or even beef up the history between certain characters. I also don’t really care for how the romances are handled in the show. I don’t care what anyone says, I think they were rushed. I like some more than others but rushed. There are also pacing issues that make the show feel really slow, especially in the middle of the season. I also have issue with how they handle the writing for the Wilders, especially Alex’s character. I have a lot of feelings on that, so I’m going to have to do a separate post about. But I really like the show and I can’t wait for the second season.
Rating: 4.0 out of 5 stars.
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Ya’ll! I have some exciting news! So a while back, I was watching either “Supergirl” or “The Flash” on the CW. I always live tweet when I watch my shows because it’s so fun. So, I received a message, or a direct tweet in which someone asked me if I would like to be on her show, she told me a bit about it and I’m suspicious by nature, so I looked into her. She was legit. Just Jess hosts a show on WCCB, The CW for Charlotte, NC and she asked me to be on her show. I was super excited and I told everyone. I mean everyone I come in contact with everyday and most importantly close friends and family.
I was super excited but super nervous. Today being the day December 6, 2017, I knew I was nervous because my stomach was playing games. One of my best friends came down to be at the station with me, so thank you Tracey.
So basically, I met Jess, as well as the other guest, Wess and Jess gave us the rundown of her show and I was even more nervous but so excited. So we get started and I really tried to make sure I wouldn’t talk fast, Tracey would motion me if I got to fast lol, thanks.
I was so nervous that I kept moving, all of my energy was in my hands and in my feet. Thank goodness there was this huge block in front of my legs so you can’t see how much my feet were moving. I’m usually pretty still but I couldn’t contain myself. I know my hands moved a lot and I was like “girl calm down”.
So below, is the Meet Me part of the episode. It was filmed at the end but as you are meeting me and my fellow guest, it’s gonna be first. Please enjoy!
It was so much fun! I can’t wait to talk even more about these shows and I hope I receive the chance in the future to work with Jess again.
You can also read the article sharing the videos as well.
Summary: A sequel to the original 2003 series when the famous bandit of secret heroes we know are back and fighting the evil computer virus XANA in the live action sequel.
If you want to read the review for the original Code Lyoko animated show, then click this link here.
I think I’d watched Code Lyoko for like the third time when I did my thing on my google and I found out they were reviving the show. I got so excited but then I found out it wasn’t technically the same thing. Instead it was going to be a live action/animated hybrid of a show. I wasn’t upset with that really because I wanted to see how they were going to do it. Then they started to reveal the casting and I didn’t have a problem with anyone, at least not that really bothered me. I did think that the actor for Odd looked to young but he technically was the right age so I got over it, I thought the actors for Ulrich and Yumi were spot on and then of course I was curious about Aelita and her hair lol but this show was going to be in French as the animated show is originally a French cartoon. I didn’t mind as it would probably be the only way to really enjoy it. I don’t really like dubbed voices over live action because the lips don’t match up and it bothers me. But anyway, I finally watched this entire thing, I don’t think I ever did when it came out but after watching the animated show, I went right into watching this one, most of it is also on YouTube but there is some weird audio issues, so I had to have two videos up, the French version and video in another language with subtitles and I would play them at the same time but mute the other language so I could have the subtitles.
Cast and Characters. I’m just going to talk about the Lyoko Warriors as they’re the ones that really matter here. Also, I’m not going to go into detail about the characters since I did that in the first one, I’m just going to talk about the actors and their role in this show.
Quentin Merabet as Ulrich Stern. I think he is the best casted live action actor because not only does he look like his animated counter part but he just felt more like Ulrich then the others felt like their characters. He’s still kind of awkward, in love with Yumi, still not knowing how to tell her, still brave and the introverted one. He does say some insults to Odd but he doesn’t talk a whole lot which fits in with his character. I liked Quentin Merabet, he is first male to play Ulrich since he was always voiced by women. He was stoic, quiet, awkward just like he had to be and I enjoyed how he felt a little more “free” voicing his character on Lyoko. He just sounded more happy.
Now, on Lyoko, I kept wondering why he looked different. I finally noticed it like four episodes in… they got rid of the triangle eyebrows, made his eyes yellow instead of black and they widened his eyes too, they darkened his hair, made him look older, reshaped his head and they widened his mouth, not to mention the slight color and design upgrades to his suit. I like it. It’s been a year and while no one comments about it, Ulrich has become taller than even Yumi (who was the tallest, not counting William) and obviously older so they made his Lyoko form older.
Leonie Bertonnaud as Aelita Stones (Schaeffer). She is the one I think seems the most different while also being the same in ways. Aelita seems just a bit more somber here, I don’t know if it’s because of the actress and she doesn’t give this naivety that Aelita is supposed to have but she seems like she’s lived in this world. She still can be very stubborn and still deliver some harsh burns (mostly to Laura as Sissi is not a factor here). Her chemistry with Jeremie though is still really good. She wants to know more about her mother, after they find her on the screen in the lab where the other supercomputer is. She can be a bit too stubborn about certain things, like dang girl, you want to stay in there forever?? Sometimes I’m like, girl calm yourself.
On Lyoko, I noticed that she also looked different from her animated show counterpart. She keeps her pink hair, elf like appearance from before, but her eyes have been widened, her eyebrows are longer and of course there are color and minor design upgrades to her suit. It’s more a mixture of pink and purple and her little skirt isn’t sheer anymore. They also got rid of her face paint. She looks more human on Lyoko.
Marin Lafitte as Jeremie Belpois. Jeremie is ultimately the same here, he looks like the animated version but there were some things that was very different about him. I’ll talk about it more below, but he’s still the smart one “Einstein” and he runs things in the lab while the warriors are on Lyoko. Sometimes he does snap at people, or get irritated when everyone isn’t following orders, like when William tries to get himself devirtualized to save Yumi, Jeremie was so irritated, I thought Marin Lafitte did a good job handling and balancing out everyone. The times when Laura showed him up or she did something to betray him, I thought his emotion was handled well because Jeremie seemed a bit less emotional in the show but here, maybe it’s because of all that’s happened but he also felt more human.
As Jeremie does not go to Lyoko, again no warrior form, but whoever dressed him did very well because he always looked nice. This picture below with this shirt, amazing.
Gulliver Bevernaege as Odd Della Robbia. My first thought about him is that he looks too young but I think he was the right age for the character technically. He was still kind of loud, funny and always running his mouth. He still managed to feel like Odd, though he focuses most of his romantic intentions on Sam in this version. He was energetic and still quite loyal to his friends and to the things he wanted to do. It was always funny though whenever Ulrich was hurt and had to lean on him because Quentin was so much taller than him that it looked like he almost doubled over just to lean on a short Gulliver. The only purple he really wears though is his hoodie and his hair isn’t that blonde or upright like it is in the show. I didn’t mind his more realistic looking hair but I do think he should have been a bit more blond or his purple streak should have been way more pronounced.
On Lyoko Odd’s face looks a bit younger than he does in the animated show. They got rid of his cat ears that he gained in the last two seasons, not to mention his face paint over his eyes. They also widened his eyes and colored his eyes as well. There is also some minor design and color upgrades to his suit. They also changed how his laser arrows appear, instead of just coming from somewhere on his paws, he has little gauntlets that appear when he’s loaded and disappear when he runs out of ammo.
Melanie Tran as Yumi Ishiyama. I think she is a bit interesting, I think she also looks the most like her animated counter part and I think she had the potential to be really good but it seemed like she was holding back a lot in the beginning. When she was with Ulrich, she felt like Yumi because they had really good chemistry. But there are other times when she’s more…indifferent. I think she’s much better when she does the voice on Lyoko. I think she got better by the end of the show, like maybe she wasn’t holding back so much or maybe they told her to relax a bit, I don’t know, but I definitely noticed a change in her acting towards the end of the show. I did like how she was always the first to react whenever something happened to Ulrich, or the first really react anytime.
On Lyoko her style is also the same with a few design upgrades. They changed the shape of her eyes and eyebrows. Her hair has a bit more length and movement and it doesn’t have the “tucked behind the ear” look anymore. I think they took away her “geisha bow” and sometimes she got a bo staff alongside her fans.
Diego Mestanza as William Dunbar. I have to say that I liked William here way more than I did on the animated show. I never really liked him all that much but I actually liked him here, he had his moments that I’m like “yep there’s the annoying William that I know” but other times he was really cool. I think a lot of it has to do with Diego Mestanza (he looks nothing like William though), but just oozed coolness. The faces he would make though were the best, he would always make this lopsided smirk, it was great.
On Lyoko his outfit annoys me the most. I can’t help but wonder, did Jeremie program him a new look like he did the others? I mean, obviously it’s very different from his original (white) uniform but when he was possessed by XANA his uniform turned black, so I thought it was strange that he maintained the black uniform, not to mention, he just looked really pale sometimes and it looked like he’s wearing black eyeliner, sometimes. It just really annoyed me because it’s just so different without explanation. At least the others at least still look like their previous uniforms with upgrades. William’s is so different (I like it though). Also, I didn’t get why he maintained his “super smoke” either. Why would he? It wasn’t something Jeremie programed for him, or something he just gained on Lyoko, it was from XANA so why can he still do it? Annoying.
The 3D animation. As always the 3D animation was beautiful, it looked even a bit better than the original show, but it was easy to tell that they put the money waaaay into the warriors being on Lyoko. But I liked the new looks of the characters, and their costumes, I liked how bright and clear Lyoko looked. I liked the designs of the new towers. I kind of liked how the monsters got destroyed, how they exploded and then like sucked back into each other like a contained blast. The money definitely went here.
The story. I think the story is good, it’s a direct continuation of the animated show. It’s set one year later, but XANA reappears even stronger and dangerous than before, which prompts our warriors to turn the supercomputer back on. Basically, they try to find out why and how XANA was brought back, of course to stop him. They also begin to discover more about Aelita’s past and her mother, and there is a new villain as well which was interesting. The story had a lot of potential at least for what they building up.
The Chemistry. I think it’s always a good thing when a group of friends actually feel like a group of friends and I think these actors did. Quentin and Gulliver actually seemed like they were friends, I don’t know about best friends like they are in the animated show but they were friends. Same could be said for Melanie and Leonie whenever they had their “Girl time” it was cute. I think the only one who felt like an outsider was Diego but that’s probably because William doesn’t really “fit in” with the others, they all might still be a bit wary of him because of what XANA did but they’re a lot better about it now then they were. But they all feel like friends.
Jeremie and Aelita were always super cute, but here Marin and Leonie had really great chemistry. They had little moments together where they would share looks, and I just thought it was so cute. We never saw them kiss or anything like that but if they did it would be so adorable.
Whenever Laura would get in there and be around Jeremie, Aelita’s face would be like “girl if you don’t back away”, it was hilarious actually. I think Laura had a crush on Jeremie, or at least she just wanted to be around him because he was smart. Aelita would refuse to stay away or leave if he was alone with her. I think in this scene with this picture, Jeremie reassured her of something and it was just a cute tender moment and there wasn’t enough of them.
Now, in terms of Yumi and Ulrich, I know there’s a lot of negatives going on in their relationship but I think they could work especially as they get older. They both seemed a bit more mature, not as jealous, at least not as often as they were in the animated show. There is a moment in the first episode where Ulrich is trying to tell Yumi how he feels about her and she’s looking up at him like “is he finally gonna say it?” since neither of them ever truly said it aloud. I was like wow. In the same episode, Ulrich gets hurt and Yumi is leading him to the sewer, and there’s this really cute moment and I was like O.O wow, are you two dating in real life? Sure seemed like it.
Then were just some other little moments like the one where she puts her head on his back. Or in the second picture, she gets scared about something but she immediately grabs his hand. I don’t care what anyone says, I like Ulrich and Yumi lol.
Characters. Outside of Jim, I wonder why they changed how the supporting characters looked. I would have no idea who any of them were supposed to be if they never said their names. Sissi has dark hair, when they showed her, I was like “who is this blonde girl?” I mean, I get it if it was in reference to Odd telling Sissi she would be great as a blonde but I can’t imagine her actually doing it. Or Mrs. Hertz looked so different, I thought she was their math teacher instead of their science teacher. Principal Delmas was way younger then he was in the animated show, and Aelita’s mother looks like Aelita, she should also have pink hair. What’s the point of having Aelita keep her pink hair if they weren’t going actually give her a reason to be so different? They could have made a comment about it being because she lived in Lyoko for so long but her mom was a blonde… so weird. Oh and they changed Sam from being a black girl to a blonde white girl, I don’t understand that. Odd liked Sam and she liked him, she was a cool black girl (albeit she did try to steal from the school in her first episode) but still, why change that? Lame.
The look of the real world. Like I said before, obviously all of the money into the design of Lyoko because the real world was lacking. Obviously they don’t have to go anywhere but Kadic, we don’t even need to go to Yumi’s house, though it would have been nice, but obviously they only shot on location in a few areas, or it was a sound stage. The factory’s supercomputer design changed, instead of being massive the way it was, it was changed to some little thing where they needed to input a key or something, I don’t get why they had to change it. Just build a huge styrofoam computer and spray that thing (I like I did in 5th grade).
The animated version is on the left and the Evolution version on the right. I mean, the pillar is the same but it was so weird to see only have the supercomputer come out of the ground then they had this little control panel kiosk thing… it was just weird. Also, their gym, it was so tiny, how could they do anything in there? We never saw the cafeteria, they didn’t really explore the school like they could have. Bleh. Also, the look of the sewer entrance, that opening looked dangerous. It worked for when they would meet there and sit and talk but I feel like it would be super hard to get in there, it looked like if they slipped, the opening would kill them.
Laura Gauthier. Oh my gosh.. this girl is so annoying. The actress is fine but I disliked her so much. She is very smart, tech savvy and curious, she follows the warriors to the factory (it was terrible that they never even made sure no one was following them) but she was a busy body and she did stuff behind their backs, I mean Jeremie how did you not notice that she altered the back to the past program…I mean come on. I was so irritated every time she was on screen. Not to mention, her little smug look, that’s why I liked when Aelita served up so hard burns to her. Pauline Serieys was good, I didn’t think she was bad at all, but I hated her character and outside of becoming a future villain (I think that’s how she would have become in the next season) she added nothing. NOTHING.
No Stakes/Tension. This show was lacking serious stakes and tension. Anytime XANA attacked, it would just send specters to try and steal the codes it implanted in the Warriors in order to become stronger once it was resurrected. It never possessed anything, it didn’t make any lasting damage or damage that could be. It never almost killed anyone. It just would send specters and they weren’t dangerous, sure if they touched one of the warriors and started to steal codes, it would make them sick or give them some sort of side effect but nothing really happened. In the animated show, the specters would run super fast, were really strong, they would growl, they could shoot lightening out of their hands, I mean they were dangerous… in this show, I’m like, you guys can just run. I only saw the specters run in one episode but outside of that… it was so lame. I never felt that there was any danger, I always knew the characters were going to be okay because the show never created any reason for me to be worried.
Nerfed Characters. Another big problem I had with this show is that the characters were super nerfed in their abilities. Jeremie is a genius, I did not like how often they had him messing up, or how he needed Laura to look over his coding/programs, or how he needed her to do it instead of him. It was so stupid. I get people freeze up every now and then, like the moment in the classroom when he forgot how to do a problem, but the many times he needed help, Secondly, on Lyoko the warriors got defeated way to easily. It seemed like one or two hits from certain monsters would defeat them when that should not be the case. There was an episode where Ulrich gets hit by one monster and he is devirtualized. I was so upset because he’s usually the last one to go but they often had it where they could barely hold their own. It got a little better towards the end of the show but it was a bit late. Also, barely saw Aelita use “creation”, or Ulrich use any of his abilities, he only used Triplicate once and I think I saw him use super sprint once… ugh it was so annoying. But they let William keep his super sprint and as we never really got to see him fight before he was possessed he just seemed so overpowered compared to everyone else. I don’t buy that he had the most potential out of the group because there’s no reason for it, so it was just weird to me.
Overall, I liked this show, I mean don’t get me wrong it had a lot of issues and stuff wrong that didn’t feel like Code Lyoko but it was an interesting idea, it just wasn’t executed well. The mature feeling that the animated show had was gone here, yeah the characters were older and obviously not all of the actors were probably the ages of their characters but it felt juvenile. The actors were okay, they got better as the show went on, the animation on Lyoko was fantastic and beautiful as it always is. The story was interesting, it did continue from the animated show and it did feel like there could have been more to explore but unfortunately it did go past this one season. Now, the supporting characters looked like new people minus Jim. Laura was a terrible character, probably set up to be a villain but she was terrible. XANA hardly felt like the villain it once was even if it was stronger. It could have been handled way better. But I still enjoyed myself. I did laugh and I did enjoy certain episodes. It’s okay.
Rating: 2.95 out of 5 stars.
Have you heard of Code Lyoko: Evolution? Did you watch it?
It’s also on YouTube but be aware there are audio issues. You might have to watch two versions, have the French version (with no subtitles) and another version that’s in another language that has the subtitles. I think it happens about episode 18, not sure but really weird. It may not be worth it but I was able to do it without problem.
Summary: When a group of four boarding school students discover a supercomputer housed inside an abandoned factory, they find a virtual world called Lyoko and awaken a sentient multi-agent system virus that tries to take over the real world.
As this is a TV show, I haven’t really reviewed one (I’ve done thoughts and stuff) before but since I just watched this show in its entirety for like the fourth time, I decided I had to talk about it. So, this review will be similar to how I do my movie reviews but a little different. As this is a finished show, I won’t really do “thoughts” as it’s not ongoing but a complete review. I will also do a review of “Code Lyoko: Evolution” which came after this version. I will go into more detail about that in that particular review.
I came across this show randomly maybe in high school, I’m not sure exactly. I’m always online and maybe I saw a picture and I thought the characters looked cool. I don’t know, but I did my thing, I found it online and watched it. Obsessed lol. I’ve watched it quite a bit. I learned it came on Cartoon Network but I only caught it on there one time. But I love this show and it’s uniqueness. This is also strictly for the English version of the show. Oh and there are gonna be a few spoilers ahead, mostly in Aelita’s part.
Aelita Schaeffer (voiced by Sharon Mann).
History: Known as Aelita Stones. She is the second smartest of the group, right behind Jeremie. The others nickname her “Miss Einstein” and “Princess”. She first meets Jeremie when he turns on the supercomputer in the factory. He wakes her up as she is living on Lyoko. Of course, they all think she is just a computer program that they want to eventually virtualize in the real world. But as the show goes on, more and more is learned of her story, she is actually human. She is the daughter of Franz and Anthea Hopper, Franz being the creator of Lyoko and X.A.N.A. Aelita’s mother disappeared and she and her father escaped to Lyoko after a group of suited men came to their home. X.A.N.A also stole a part of her memory that kept her from being fully human. Once they rescued that missing part, she became fully human and no longer linked to X.A.N.A and the supercomputer. But it is revealed that Aelita has premonitions and nightmares of the future and her past.
Personality: Aelita is very smart beyond her years, also very wise. I guess in reality she is technically 20 something. She shows a lot of generosity and compassion for people, especially her friends .She is very quick-witted (Aelita throws some heavy burns at Sissi, it’s great!), and can outsmart monsters on Lyoko (she mostly had to do that when she didn’t have an active abilities to fight back. She is the most naive out of the group (the second youngest physically) and in the beginning of her time on earth, her feelings were hurt easily and she was easily pressured. However she does mature, to the point where she can be a little mean lol. Aelita loves music and has become a great D.J.
Appearance/Abilities: She has pink hair and green eyes. On earth she wears a lot of pink in general. On Lyoko she looks like an elf, probably inspired by her toy elf Mr. Puck. In season 1 and 2 she can attack, but she deactivates the towers. In season 2 she gains the ability to use “energy fields” which are pink spheres made from energy/plasma. She can use “creativity” to create platforms (handy for when characters are falling towards the digital sea), and holes in the ground. In season 4, Jeremie created a new outfit (which I really liked, pictured with the wings) and the ability to fly.
Jeremie Belpois (voiced by Sharon Mann).
History: He is the smartest of the group and nicknamed Einstein. His name is also spelled “Jeremy” sometimes. He is the best student in the school and he finds and starts the factory’s supercomputer while searching for parts to build a robot. As he is not a physical Lyoko warrior, his job is to lead the group through technology, figure out ways to defeat XANA and monitors the group while on Lyoko. He is not athletic and has only been to Lyoko a few times and never actually shows up virtualized as a warrior and he never wants to do it again. Jeremy has a great family, especially his father, who is very supportive. He also has a crush on Aelita, that everyone knows about, he has harbored it since he first turned on the computer. He also seems to be the one that XANA tries to get rid of the most being that he’s the smartest.
Personality: The stereotypical nerd, with his book smarts but often lacks common sense and knowledge. Sometimes he can come off a bit elitist in that he forgets that others aren’t as smart as him, like when he tries to teach Ulrich, Yumi and Odd how to use the supercomputer in case both he and Aelita are out of commission. Often times he needs Aelita to simply translate to the others because he doesn’t say the easiest thing. He also has a bit of a time being hot-headed and a workaholic, he has snapped at the others and jumped to conclusions quite quickly. However, while he is the youngest, he appears to be the most mature most of the time.
Appearance/Abilities: As Jeremie never goes to Lyoko, he doesn’t have a warrior outfit. His ability is his super brain. He’s blond, has glasses and wears a blue turtleneck and tan pants in the first few seasons, then he wears a brown turtleneck and tan pants.
Odd Della Robbia (voiced by Matthew Geczy).
History: Odd shares a dorm room with Ulrich, also his best friend, and has a dog named Kiwi which he has to hide as pets aren’t allowed at Kadic. He comes from a large family, he is the only boy. His parents are cool and sometimes he feels awkward about it because they’re so cool and he’s never had to fight with them, though he often gets into it with his sisters. Odd has great potential in school, Ulrich even says how Odd understands physics but as he is a slacker and doesn’t study, he doesn’t get good grades. He is very interested in the arts, being that both of his parents are artists, he loves to make films and music. Very much a ladies man but has some bad habits that causes it to not work out. He is also the least computer literate of the group.
Personality: The comic relief of the group but he is also very nonchalant and casual which is shown in his dress appearance. He is the loudest of the group, the most outgoing and probably the most crazy. Odd is always in good humor and usually keeps a rather cheery disposition. While he is the smallest and most light-hearted of the group, he can also be very mean and cold. There really is no middle ground for Odd. Though it does unnerve his friends when he’s sensitive.
Appearance/Abilities:On earth, at the beginning Odd wore his blond hair down, he has a purple spot in the middle but after going to Lyoko for the first time, he styled his hair upright like his Lyoko look. He wears purple. On Lyoko, he looks like a giant purple cat. He can shoot “laser arrows” to attack his enemies. Sometimes he uses “shield” to block attacks. Due to him being a cat, he has great agility and can climb on walls. He rides the Overboard on Lyoko.
Ulrich Stern (voiced by Barbara Weber-Scaff). He’s my favorite.
History: A laid back student whose parents expect a lot from him. He’s German. One of his main hobbies is that he practices Pencak silat, often times with Yumi. Often he’s the one who stays behind on earth to handle whatever problem is happening while the others go to Lyoko to deactivate the tower. He often has to deal with Sissi Delmas (the principal’s daughter) who harbors a massive crush on him, but he can handle it in different ways. Whenever she’s involved, he really does try to help and save her. He got involved in Lyoko when he went with Jeremy to the factory and he’s the second one to get virtualized on Lyoko.
Personality: Ulrich is laid back, the son of wealthy German parents but he rejects their ideals of wealth and the pressure they put on him. He is also the introvert of the group, he’s very secretive about his personal life and has a hard time opening up to people about his feelings and whatever’s going on with him (I can relate) which sometimes allows him to channel his feelings when he’s fighting. He can be very self-deprecating, whenever something happens to someone and he feels it’s his fault, he can blame himself harshly. He sometimes seems to be emotionally strong but that’s a facade. He also can get jealous very easily and quickly when it comes to Yumi, and sometimes he tries to be the median between his friends when arguments happen, or he’s willing to take the fall for Odd due to their friendship. He’s quite loyal.
Appearance/Abilities: On earth, Ulrich is the tallest boy but shorter than Yumi (though he does get taller in the last season), he has scruffy brown hair and dark eyes. I definitely prefer his clothes in the last season, with the dark green army jacket, he just looked much more mature. He also can physically hold his own on earth whenever XANA attacks. On Lyoko. he wears a yellow and black samurai suit with a single katana. Later, his suit becomes a yellow and brown body suit with twin blades (I love both of his clothes for different reasons). He seems to have the most use for his abilities such as “Triplicate” to create two clones of himself, and a related technique “Triangulate” which he uses to confuse enemies. He has “super sprint” which allows him to dash at high-speed. He is the best fighter, the most skilled, usually lasts longer than the others before being devirtulized and has had some great fights, like with Xana’s Ulrich clone, a possessed Aelita and when he took down the Kolossus. He uses the Overbike on Lyoko.
Yumi Ishiyama (voiced by Mirabelle Kirkland)
History: Yumi’s family is from Japan, she isn’t a border but she attends Kadic. She is the oldest of the group and has a younger brother, Hiroki. Due to her parents and culture, she must maintain good grades and observe family values. While at home, she has to deal with her parents’ marital issues. She practices pencak silat with Ulrich and due to the on and off tension she concludes that she and Ulrich “must be friends and that’s it.” Yumi is the most knowledgable using the supercomputer besides Jeremie and Aelita. She often has to take over whenever something happens to Jeremy and Aelita has to go to Lyoko to deactivate a tower.
Personality: Fairly reserved, she is very mature being the oldest of the group. She is a good observer and generally understands what’s going on around her, even the people, sometimes not trusting others quickly like the others sometimes can. She is athletic, smart and seems to expect a lot from people, sometimes to an access… but she is a teenage girl. She can come off cold and distance at first but she gets a bit better when she becomes friends with someone. She has a sarcastic humor and can be very ironic.
Appearance/Abilities: On earth, Yumi wears all black, in the later seasons, she still wears black but her outfit changes a bit. Her hair is black and her eyes are dark. On Lyoko, she wears a geisha-inspired outfit with a large bow. Her main weapon is a pair of fans. In later seasons, her clothes are changed to a purple body suit. She also has the ability of telekinesis which comes in handy a lot. She rides the Overwing on Lyoko.
William Dunbar (voiced by David Gasman).
History: He’s a transfer student, known to be troubled at his previous schools. He appears tone a loner at first, but quickly develops a friendship and feelings for Yumi. He showed himself to be adept at helping the Lyoko warriors in times of need on earth, but he often forgets it due to the “Return to the past” program. He also shows that he’s stubborn and a bit overbearing, which is evident when he tries to protect everyone from the zombies and he wouldn’t let Aelita and Jeremy escape. Later, the group wants to invite him into the group due to how much he’s helped, especially when he was willing to sacrifice himself to defuse a bomb XANA planted. Everyone but Yumi voted for him but later it becomes necessary to have him. On his first mission, due to him not listening to Aelita and being overzealous, he is captured and possessed by XANA. He becomes XANA’s general against the warriors. The team works to free him so Jeremy makes a clone to pose as him in the real world, but the clone is either really stupid or really unpredictable and dangerous… though I liked him way more than the real William and he was very helpful. The clone started to develop human like traits which helps the warriors at times. Eventually, they were able to free William before shutting down the supercomputer.
Personality: Overconfident, often going toe to toe with Ulrich for Yumi’s attention. He appears to be a loner at first. He has a very strong personality, often ready for a fight, though he does have some moments of wisdom, like in the episode where he speaks to Ulrich about telling Yumi about his feelings because she won’t wait forever and William won’t wait forever either. He can be a bit childish and overbearing which is why Yumi didn’t trust him to join their group, she noticed that he often did things for attention… but they ended up trusting him because he’s ultimately brave. He is also preserving which kept him wanting to come back to help the others even when they rejected him after they freed him.
Appearance/Abilities: William has black hair and dark eyes, he’s tall, and on earth he wears a red long sleeved shirt under a black t-shit and blue jeans. On Lyoko he carries a giant sword that can release shock waves and a white outfit. When he’s possessed by XANA his outfit becomes black. He also gains the ability “super smoke” which allows him to travel at high speed in the form of black smoke.
XANA: The villain of the show, he is without physical form. A sentient and dangerous computer program that is wanting to take over the world after destroying Lyoko. The only visible knowledge of his presence is when there is pulsing energy in the wires of Lyoko, not to mention his awesome theme. He was one an obedient computer program created by Franz Hopper but it became chaotic and malevolent. The attacks are pretty random at first, but as the warriors grow better and smarter, so does XANA and his attacks increase in strength, intelligence and personality. It becomes more accurate in calculations, goes after large goals and gets a better understanding of human behavior (but it’s not human so he makes major mistakes)
Its attacks are random and not very well thought out in the first season, but it gradually evolves in strength, intelligence, and personality in season two with the constant time reversions. It will grow to be more accurate in its calculations, pursue larger goals, and gain a better understanding of human behavior, allowing it to predict their actions, use their feelings to its advantage, and manipulate others. XANA also never retries the same plan if it failed the first time. It can’t show any emotions inside the computer but it has been known to get upset and frustrated. The only time he’s ever really been in physical form was during Ghost Channel when he took on the appearance of Jeremie and once Jeremie thwarted him, he spazzed out. He definitely sees all of the warriors as obstacles but he goes after Jeremie and Aelita the most. Jeremie because of his intelligence and his control over the computer, I think XANA also respects Jeremie’s intelligence. For Aelita, she’s mostly a valuable tool, though she can thwart him by deactivating the towers, which he uses to his advantage later by using her to erase the sectors. He goes after Yumi a lot on earth, I guess XANA recognizes that she is the most mature and that she’s important to the group but I think it’s overkill sometimes lol. Odd of course is annoying to him and but it’s interesting to see the level of respect XANA has for the warriors because in Marabounta he allows his monsters to take orders from Odd. I definitely think that XANA knows Ulrich is the best fighter, it comes at him pretty hard sometimes, and usually tries to outnumber him to defeat him. As for William, I guess XANA thought he had potential to be the strongest out of the group but I don’t see it, I just saw it as William being the easiest to manipulate and the most overconfident which made it easy for XANA to get him. XANA was a worthy opponent.
The theme song is catchy that it didn’t take me long to learn the words just from watching the show. Not to mention, watching it again recently, I surprised myself at how I remembered it. The music is great in this show. They have this fake band called “The Subdigitals” and they are the source for a lot of music in episodes and every time the music is so great that they should release “the music of Code Lyoko”, outside of nostalgia reasons and it being a show, the music is legit good. Characters have themes that come on when they’re on Lyoko: Xana has a great theme, I believe William has a theme in season four when he’s possessed by Xana. It’s all very fun and entertaining to hear.
Action scenes. The action scenes are awesome. One of the things I thought this show handled well was dealing with these kids being literal warriors on this virtual world. They each have their own style of fighting, weapons, abilities etc. but the way the show allows them to use them I thought was really cool. Even watching it again as an adult, I quite enjoyed watching them fight the Xana army.
Favorite Fight Scenes
So there is a scene in Revelation (season 2) where XANA makes a polymorphic clone of Odd, and he goes up against Ulrich to fight. Ulrich taunts XANA saying that “Odd has never beaten me yet”, so XANA shifts into a clone of Ulrich “Oh well yeah, that changes things” and they square off and have this awesome fight. That is still probably the best fight of the entire show. It’s so well paced, the choreography is intricate and amazing and even the juxtaposition of Ulrich’s yellow gi compared to XANA’s black gi, oh man. Also, when XANA gets the upper hand, Ulrich does a little homage to Bruce Lee. It was so great.
Link for your viewing pleasure:
There is another fight in episode Lyoko: Minus One Xana possess Aelita, and she and Ulrich have an awesome fight too. It was like payback from Xana’s first fight with Ulrich. There are videos of this fight but it’s not the English version, or it’s all to music people added and that’s annoying.
Note: Ulrich has a lot of good fight scenes.
Mature/Dark/Tense. Watching this show again, I realized some of the mature themes and storylines in this show. Not to mention dark moments. I love when animated shows don’t try to cater to little kids or to their parents and just lets the story unfold. I mean sure, be aware of the age group (but parents should also not get upset at a show if their kid is watching it, just don’t let them watch it). But the relationship stuff between Ulrich and Yumi was pretty mature, while also childish in how it was handled at times. Some of the choices and the reasons behind those choices were very mature. It also had some dark moments, there were many times where characters almost died, especially our heroes. In episode End of Take Yumi and Ulrich are almost choked to death, in The Trap Ulrich breaks his arm, he gets stuck in an elevator with Sissi and they almost drown, Ghost Channel (one of my favorite episodes) XANA traps Odd, Yumi and Ulrich in a virtual world that they think is the real world, Jeremie virtualizes himself into that virtual world to save his friends and this is the first and kind of only time they come into a human version of XANA (he took the guise of Jeremie in the virtual world) and he tries to kill them… it was so intense. I enjoy how dark the show could get because these kids were really doing things that could potentially kill them and others. It was risk they often took and the show pulled no punches. Even when XANA would send specters after them in their world, the specters were strong, fast and powerful, it was a challenge trying to fight them even Ulrich and Yumi’s real world experience in Pencak Silat.
The Relationships. One of the best things about this show is the friendships between the main characters, and even their relationships with side characters. The relationship between Ulrich and Yumi being one of the most prominent ones in the show, they have a “will they won’t they” kind of thing going on. I have a love/hate thing with their relationship. I want them to get together, I think they’re cute and that they are meant to be together even if it’s later down the line. Jeremie and Aelita are probably the show’s second relationship thing, Jeremie immediately falls for her when he sees her after turning on the supercomputer, they have their arguments but in the end, they often work together and have their flirtatious moments as well. Yumi and William is a relationship that I don’t really buy or like, it is a friendship but also a one-sided romance. William is just a bit too much for Yumi and she says it at some point to him but he still has his thing for her. I think on Yumi’s side it’s definitely interesting. Odd and Ulrich have a great friendship too, being that they are roommates and best friends, we see them together a lot. Ulrich has done a lot for Odd, like taking the fall for a bad picture of Yumi being given to the school paper. The entire friendship of the group is great.
The animation. I quite like the animation in the show. Each of the main characters, or the ones we see the most, have distinct looks to them, easily identified. The 3D animation on Lyoko is beautiful in which each character gets their own style of costume and how their fights scenes are animated, how they use their abilities, it’s very cool and it feels like a different world.
The Story. The story grows as the seasons continue. It starts out pretty basic, this group of kids go to this virtual world to stop an evil entity who wants to take over the world, while also trying to find a way to bring Aelita, the mysterious computer program who lives on Lyoko into the real world. It becomes much more sophisticated as the seasons continues. Aelita begins to learn more about her past and that she’s actually human, not to mention watching the other characters grow and mature throughout the show.
The mystery. One of the greatest things about this show is that you never really know what Xana wants. Sure, it wants to control the global network and be free of Lyoko but outside of that, we never really know why it wants those things, It’s quite amazing just how intimidating Xana is and no one truly knows what it’s after. Not to mention, the mystery behind Aelita’s family, we learn more about her father but we hardly know anything about her mother. Not to mention, some of the stories of the other characters and their families.
The animation. Also here because it is a bit jarring at first considering how the characters all have extremely large heads, well the kids do anyway. It is weird, I thought so when I first saw it, but it grew on me. However, I can see how people can be turned off when watching the show due to how they look. Plus, one thing I can say is I also really disliked Ulrich’s eyebrows for the longest, I don’t know if they did the little triangles because he’s German (lol) or because he’s the stoic, quiet one… but I never liked it. I mean, I didn’t mind as much this time around but I did go when I started to watch it again “there are those friggin triangle eyebrows again” lol.
Dumb Moments. This show also has a lot of dumb moments, sure they’re kids but sometimes it’s moments that JUST happened a certain way and they still question how to do something. It’s dumb. Or they forget they have something that can help. There are many times when characters are falling and Aelita can use “Creation” to save them, she does it sometimes but there are other times where she just watches and THEN maybe uses it. Yumi has telekinesis, sometime she uses it but there are also a lot of times where she doesn’t, especially for herself. Later, when Aelita gets wings, sometimes she’s falling, or hanging off a cliff or something and someone has to pull her up, I’m like “girl you got wings!” Also, they’re friends and pretty loyal to each other but there are times where they’ll just turn on each other, or snap at each other and it’s so stupid. Yes, they’re preteens but still it’s so dramatic. When Ulrich initiated a return to the past to help Yumi’s family stay in France, they all freak out at him, yeah I know that it makes XANA stronger but no one freaked out at Jeremie when he did constantly for some project he was doing. Or when I think it was Aelita and Ulrich who were around when the Kolossus first showed up, it stepped on them. I’m trying to figure out why Aelita didn’t fly away or why Ulrich didn’t super sprint… OR when Ulrich defeated the Kolossus, I think it’s corpse fell on him… again, why didn’t he super sprint?? There are also times when Sissi’s character gets involved when there is no reason for her to be, there is an episode when Ulrich is trying to escape or something and Sissi’s like “don’t leave me…” but the specter wasn’t after her and she just put herself and Ulrich in danger because now he’s worried about protecting her. JUST GAH!
The relationship drama. I also totally get why the relationship drama is annoying between Ulrich and Yumi. It’s the “will they won’t they thing” and most times when they do, people get bored and sometimes the “won’t they” part is annoying because you KNOW they like each other. They even almost kissed once and they never really said aloud how they felt about each other but the audience knows and so does everyone else. But Ulrich can get really jealous and he can jump to conclusions about stuff, same goes for Yumi. She gets snappy and Ulrich is mean. It’s definitely annoying but because I like them I noticed the bad stuff but I like when it’s good between them.
Overall, I looove this show. I think it’s fantastic, the animation, the action, the characters, the relationships between them, the villain, the tension, how mature it is. It’s such a great show and so underrated. I think the way it was handled was not childish and the nature of the show proved that. My favorite character is Ulrich and I wish the show did do a bit more episodes that focused on him but I liked his characterization along with the others in Yumi, Odd, Aelita and Jeremie. Even the side characters are pretty good, annoying but good. The mystery in the story is also handled very well. While there are many positives, the animation can definitely still be looked at as a negative, for some reason the children all have huge heads lol, the romance between Ulrich and Yumi can definitely be annoying to watch and see play out and there are a lot of dumb moments and choices the characters make. But of course, that’s part of the charm lol.
Rating: 4 out of stars.
Have you ever seen Cody Lyoko? If not, check it out! It’s all on YouTube. Literally. The first episode is called “Teddyzilla”
What is your favorite animated show from your childhood? OR even currently? Let me know in the comments below!
Also, stay tuned, I will be doing a review on Code Lyoko: Evolution.