Sunday, January 31, 2016

Kung Fu Panda 3 - Box Office Review


This is the third film in the franchise and the first of them I have watched. I wasn't sure what to expect walking into the theater except some humorous moments. I was not disappointed. The overall story is a coming of age tale. A panda (voiced by Jack Black) must become more in order to defeat the rising villainy that is stealing the "Chi" of kung fu masters and growing in power and ability. Now sprinkle in some clever dialogue, witty banter and philosophical teachings of buddhism and you have the intelligent animated comedy "Kung Fu Panda 3".

The voice talent that was present in this animated film was cast well. If this was a live action film it would easily be anticipated by all movie-goers. Jack Black, Bryan Cranston, Dustin Hoffman, Angelina Jolie, J.K. Simmons, Jackie Chan, Seth Rogen, Lucy Liu, David Cross, Kate Hudson and James Hong are all fantastic. It's truly remarkable that all these actors were able to come together for one film, animated or otherwise. 

The writing for this film was spectacular considering it's a film for families with kids. The concepts of enlightenment and spiritualism were presented in a manner that was understandable for anyone who watches this movie. It's not a film that forces the ideas of buddhism on the viewer but the dialogue expresses the ideas of personal growth through means of discovering oneself. There's even a brief exchange between two characters about the importance of being able to answer the question, "Who am I?" that occurs early in the film. It's humorous and insightful. There were several moments that were laugh out loud funny too. 

"Kung Fu Panda 3" is in theaters now! Overall, this film was well rounded in being thought provoking and entertaining. I'm also considering watching the first two films based on how much I enjoyed this third installment and how much fun it was to see in theaters. The characters were all entertaining, the story was written well and the laughs were many. I was surprised by how much I enjoyed the movie considering I knew almost nothing about the franchise. It's definitely worth the big screen viewing because the animation was spectacular. I enjoyed the look of the spiritual realm that the movie begins with a great deal. I hate 3-D but this animated film might actually be more visually appealing in 3-D, which says something. 


Comment below if you’ve already seen it and share your thoughts! Join in on the fun of movie watching and share this post with anyone who enjoys going to the movies.



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Act 142: Are You Ready for Some Football

Mandy and Masked Blogster talk NFL, Arrow, Flash and pro-wrestling.

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Comic Book Review: itty-bitty Hellboy #1 - Dark Horse Comics (2015)

"The Search for the Were-Jaguar"

Written by Art Baltazar & Franco
Art by Art Baltazar

Itty-bitty Hellboy is on a mission to deliver much needed supplies to the island of the Rogers.  There are others on the way as well that itty-bitty Hellboy may not know about.

This is the post where we take a look at a kids comic book.  I received this book from subscription box, "Comic Boxer Kids" as I also do reviews for HelloSubscription.  I have always been fond of the cover art on the "itty-bitty" series but never felt compelled enough to pick it up.

This is definitely a book meant for children.  If you have kids, great!  Pick up this title as it is fun and the panels are simple to follow.  The book is comprised of multiple mini stories but they do fit together.  It's a nice way of keeping the book fresh for someone who may not have a great attention span.

The art is meant to look simple but the characters were very distinguishable.  Art Baltazar does a nice job with how everyone looks interacting with each other.

Like I typed earlier, this is a book that is meant for a much younger audience.  It's not Young Hellboy getting into the same misadventures you may be used to seeing and/ reading.  This is a much more juvenile look and feel to Red.

What are your thoughts on itty-bitty Hellboy?  What other comic books would you like to see reviewed by Maskerpiece Theatre?  Please let us know in the comment section below.

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Comic Book Review: Uncanny X-Men #1 - Marvel Comics (2016)

Written by Cullen Bunn
Art by Greg Land

Terrigan Mists are plaguing the mutants and many have decided to be put into a sleep stasis by the Someday Corporation.  Magneto and his followers don't like this idea as he does not feel that mutants should hide.

Based on the characters, I'm thinking this should have been called the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants.  It's written well and has me interested in where the story is going even if I'm not sure where it all came from.

Although this is considered issue number one, I can see that I would need to read some other back issues to see what Terrigan Mists are and where the X-Men are(if anywhere).  This is my biggest problem with Marvel Comics continuing to come out with these first issues.  The continuity doesn't start over and I don't know what X-Men books I need to read previous to this one.

Greg Land's artwork looks great and he does a great job putting the Brotherhood(or are these the X-Men now?) in action.  It must be fun drawing all of these mutants doing such extraordinary things.

I was not planning on getting this series originally but I'm happy I read this first offering.  The original cover and a variant cover came in my Zwaag Bag subscription box.  You can read my review of the entire box here.

What are your thoughts on the new Uncanny X-Men?  Are there other books you would like Maskerpiece Theatre to review?  Let us know in the comments below.

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Saturday, January 30, 2016

Comic Book Review: Constantine the Hellblazer #8 - DC Comics (2016)

"Midnight in the V.I.P. Room of Good and Evil"

Written by Ming Doyle and James Tynion IV
Art by Riley Rossmo

Papa Midnite has recruited John Constantine by nefarious means to get help taking control of Midnite's night club.  This is no simple task as this is not your normal everyday night club.

I had stated in an earlier blog that there was a build-up happening within the background of this comic book series.  I feel like this is where it starts to come to a head.  Constantine has been very consistent about magic within New York City not being the same.  It looks like we start to get some answers within issue #8.

Ming Doyle and James Tynion IV have crafted this story incredibly well.  If you haven't been reading, you should get started now.  Pick up the back issues as this would be a fun binge read.  The cover price is $2.99 so you aren't breaking the bank as much as you might with so many other titles out there.

Riley Rossmo is an incredible artist who has the task of drawing some of the most odd conceptions in print today.  The book is rated T+ and his art pushes that limit.  Constantine the Hellblazer is an absolute treat of a horror comic book.

What are your thoughts on Constantine the Hellblazer?  What comic books would you like to see Maskerpiece Theatre review?  Do you have a comic book series of your own you would like us to read and review?  Please leave your comments below.

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Friday, January 29, 2016

Lucifer Review: Season 1 Episode 1 "Pilot"


Lucifer Season 1 Episode 1
“Pilot”

Synopsis:
Lucifer has left Hell to take up a life on Earth. When a friend of his is murdered Lucifer joins forces with the god side of the law to discover who the perpetrators are and to give them what they rightfully deserve.

The Good:
A great first episode, it follows a lot of the same formula we are currently seeing with the DC Comic shows on CW and CBS. 

The Bad: 
Since there is only one episode there was not a lot to go off of. In many ways the show hit it out of the park with the first one and I am certainly going watch going forward. If there is one negative, Lucifer might get trapped in the Guy chasing girl/Girl Chasing guy routine. 


Final Thoughts:
One it looks like Fox has doubled up on the Comicbook shows, developing the Vertigo Comic for there Monday lineup. I enjoyed the first episode and am looking forward to more episodes but the expectation is high. Not only is Geoff Johns an executive producer, but so is Jerry Bruckheimer and Len Wiseman. 

I also find the casting of Tom Ellis to be perfect for Lucifer. I am interested in what he and Lauren German bring to the table for the two leading characters.

I give Lucifer Two Thumbs Up. Let us know what your thoughts are and leave your comments below.


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Thursday, January 28, 2016

Legends of Tomorrow Review: Season 1 Episode 2 "Pilot, Part 2"


Legends of Tomorrow Season 1 Episode 2
“Pilot, Part 2”

Synopsis:
Tipped off to Vandal Savage’s whereabouts, the team infiltrates a munitions deal with Professor Stein as their leader. Surrounded by some of the toughest criminals in the world, things quickly go from bad to worse when Savage Realizes they don’t belong there.

Review:
In order to stop Savage the team follows him to an arms deal where they learn that he is selling a Nuke. Things go bad to worse when Ray Palmer looses a piece of his suit which falls in the hands of Savage. In order for the team to stop the changing of the future they most retrieve the piece of the suit. The team tracks down the young professor Stein in order to use technology that he is creating in order to track down the missing electronic piece. 


Also the team must find a dagger which holds the power to kill Savage, which is currently in his possession. Once they have the Dagger, Hawkman tries to use only to have it turned and Savage kills the future Carter.

Final Thoughts:
Very interesting episode, we learn that Egyptian dagger can only be used by Kendra since she is the only one that can ultimately kill Savage. We also have the first death of one our heroes, as creators decided to kill Hawkman off. Now it is the future Hawkman, so during any of the time jumps we could see him come back. On the bright side as soon as Kendra is back in present time she can hook back up with Cisco. 

Love the fact that during the selling of the Nuke we also see Damien Darhk. Nice little nod to Arrow.


In my opinion this show needs more Leonard and Rory, each time we see them on the screen they are stealing the spotlight. I knew from the start, when Captain Cold was going to be played by Wentworth Miller that his character was going to be one of the best that we would see. My opinion only grows stronger with Legends of Tomorrow. 

The nice aspect of Legends of Tomorrow, there is no drama. This makes each episode fun to watch. This is by no means a knock against any of the other CW shows. I just think this is the perfect fit to end the week. I give this episode Two Thumbs Up. Let us know what you thoughts of the show were and leave a comment below. 


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Invincible Iron Man - Issue 5 - Comic Book Review

Invincible Iron Man - #5 - Marvel
Written By: Brian Michael Bendis
Art By: David Marquez and Justin Ponsor

Iron Man and Doctor Doom are engaged in a battle of combined science and magic as Madam Masque attempts to kill them both. A sudden surprise attack by Mary Jane Watson turns the tide of battle in favor of Iron Man and Doom. After creative, collaborative and intelligent tactics combined Madam Masque is stopped and Doctor Strange arrives to carry her off to be healed and handed over to SHIELD. Tony offers Mary Jane Watson a job at Stark Industry and the decision to move from Chicago back to New York must be made, soon.

If the series finished with this issue I would be satisfied as a reader. The 5 issues written so far have been creatively, artistically and intelligently crafted. Doctor Doom and Iron Man fighting side-by-side to stop Madam Masque was a visual treat. Hearing the A.I. Friday reminding Tony he keeps monologuing to villains and then Doom telling Tony he’s talking to much was hilarious in these issues. 


This issue didn’t really add much to the story however it felt like it wrapped up one chapter nicely. We still don’t know what Doctor Doom is up to or why he is able to appear as he does. Doctor Strange has provided a curious theory but even the Doctor acknowledges that Doom is powerful enough to hide his intentions from him. This issue literally feels like the next issue will be a new mystical or demonic struggle and Doom will be waiting for the right time to appear. Hopefully, Iron Man returns to being the Futurist he knows he can be. Fingers crossed Doctor Strange is never too far away either. 


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Arrow Review: Season 4 Episode 11 "A.W.O.L."


Arrow Season 4 Episode 11
“A.W.O.L.”

Synopsis:
An agent of Shadowspire who was an enemy from Diggle and Andy’s wartime past shows up to Star City. Wiggle must learn to trust Andy but he got more than he wanted about their shared time from War. Oliver however must learn a new way of life when Felicity is now in a wheelchair and receives her codename.

Review:
Shadowspire a group formed of military personnel and part of Andy’s past is in Star City. They take over Argus facilities and take Amanda Waller and Lyla hostage leaving Diggle in need of help and only able to rely on his brother to save the day. Shadowspire kills Waller before being taken down by the team.

Through out the episode Felicity is struggling with her new life unable to walk. Relying on pain killers she start to hallucinate about her past self. 


Final Thoughts:
Its always nice when we get new Flashback of Diggle’s life. It give a lot more detail about his relations with his brother. I am not sure why there is so much hate for these type of flashbacks with the internet community. Granted last season’s were difficult to deal with but in many ways the entire season was difficult to watch. However with Oliver back on the island the flashbacks seem to work again.

This episode helped breakdown the wall between Diggle and his brother. Not sure how but obviously this will have a huge impact on the season. This may just be the person that is in the grave four months from now.

The great thing about this season of Arrow, they seem to build up drama with Felicity but it never last longer than half the episode. Its nice and a huge improvement from last season. As for her being wheelchair bound it will be interesting if this last or if it will just be for the remaining episodes of the season, also it seemed as the hallucinations where just for tonights episode but will this last longer? many of these questions will have the be answered in the weeks to come.

Finally Felicity gets a code name, and the way it happened was just great. As the team is about to enter Argus, Oliver reveals the her new code name is Overwatch but not without a little shout out to what the internet has been rumoring the entire time……Oracle, but as Oliver stated it was already taken. Awww you got to love CW and DC’s TV universe. 

This was an excellent episode. Enough emotions to allow you to feel for Felicity without taking away from the show. Perfect! I give this episode Two Thumbs Up. Let us know what your thoughts were and leave your comments below.

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Supernatural Review "Into the Mystic" Season 11 Episode 11


Supernatural Review: Season 11 Episode 11 “Into the Mystic”

Director: John Badham

Writer: Robbie Thompson

Staring: Jared Padalecki, Jensen Ackles, Misha Collins … Honorable Mention: Dee Wallace!!!

Synopsis: Sam and Dean investigate a case where people are suffering violent deaths after hearing a mysterious song.

Review: The teaser for the show starts off in the past with a family being attacked by the monster of this episode. This monster, which later we find out is a banshee, kills its victims by driving them to vigorously bash their heads against things until they kill themselves and then she feeds from the wound on their heads.  With the man dead, the woman quickly works some sort of spell to cast the monster away protecting her baby in the process as she slowly passes away as well. Now in present day another death takes place at the hands of the banshee, after Dean sees the article in the paper he convinces a less enthusiastic Sam to work the case.

The boys find them selves at a retirement home where the murder took place. They quickly come to a conclusion of who is deceased that is haunting the facility, Sam and Dean believe it is a ghost that is the problem. After a quick salt and burn the boys think they are done. Unfortunately the boys aren’t that lucky and another person dies and this time in front of a witness. This leads to the boys to talking to the witness Mildred, who is played by Dee Wallace (E.T., Cujo, The Howling and Critters), she was great! Carelessly flirting with Dean the whole time!

There is another short set back when Sam thinks that he has the banshee in his sights, but we come to find out the woman, Eileen, hat Sam was investigating is actually hunting the same banshee.  Later in the episode it all ties together, Eileen is the baby that was saved at the beginning of the episode, it was a pretty good tie in.  Now leading up to the battle, initially thinking Mildred would be bate for the banshee, both boys and Eileen are prepared to take this monster down.

The twist comes when Dean is the one that can hear the banshee and he starts to bash his head against a doorframe. Sam and Eileen are quick to react, but it is Mildred that traps the banshee so that Eileen can strike home with the gold dagger to kill the monster. With the damsels in distress now safe the boys say their goodbyes and head back to their bunker for one of those heartfelt talks that makes all the fan girls swoon. It was a much-needed talk, Sam is completely honest in revealing that Lucifer did in fact get to him and there were things that he was dealing with.  But Dean is hiding something from Sam, only question is when will Sam figure it out.

Final Thoughts: There was so much I liked about this episode, I love that for once Sam is opening up about how much Lucifer gets to him. Also finally admitting that he regrets not looking for Dean when he was dragged into purgatory.  Although I didn’t mention it during all of this banshee story above, Dean does get a little time alone with Castiel, or well I guess technically Lucifer pretending to be Castiel. They get a little time to talk some things over and Dean admits that there may be some feelings involved when it comes to the darkness. I am very curious about what that is going to lead too. Misha Collins is priceless though, I didn’t think he could make Castiel any more creepy, but he found a way. More of it please! Dee Wallace was absolutely fabulous! Her flirting with Dean brought the biggest smile to my face. She is right though, nothing like watching Sam and Dean walk away! 



The awkward moment though is timing, not in the show timing, but when the episode aired timing.  The Banshee in Supernatural could only be heard by its victims, making them hear what sounds like a high screaming noise, not to be confused with The X-files this week, which focused on a kid that was telepathic and ironically made a man hear a high pitch sound that lead to suicide. I’m sure it was a complete coincidence but it also could have left some to feel like there was a little bit of déjà vu going on.    

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Wednesday, January 27, 2016

"Agent Carter" Ep 2 Recap

 Peggy, Jarvis and Sousa are still trying to solve the mystery of the mysterious black ooze but realize they might need Howard Starks help. When Thompson pays the west coast SSR division a surprise visit it’s clear that the investigation is only getting more challenging. The villains are becoming more visible as Peggy and team stop at nothing to solve this mystery, but a new dangerous mystery has begun that has lethal possibilities and few have survived that know about its existence. 

The second episode did not disappoint. There was a great little joke regarding comic book movies not being a realistic idea as Howard Stark is attempting to direct a comic book film. I enjoyed that brief moment of humor in an otherwise intense episode. The tension keeps building similar to how the structure of season 1 worked and that’s great news. It clears up a little bit that’s established and creates new difficulties or builds on moments that were mere mentions in the previous episode. 

It’s becoming clear how the hero’s and the villains will be working with and against each other in this season and it only took two episodes. It’s shows like this that prove writing done well can elevate the enjoyment factors immensely. The characters have their own personalities and they all seem to play off each other well. There were moments that felt a little forced when they were in the club but later the story led me to believe Peggy won’t be dealing with those individuals, another will. Thompson is dealing with them and it felt appropriate. Writing done well by placing characters in situations fitting for their personalities and ambitions is one positive attribute this show possesses. 

The filter that makes the show appear bleached or whitened out is somewhat peculiar. I understand that they’re using the filter to make the show appear retro and unique but I’m curious how much better the show would appear without it. Other than that, “Agent Carter” continues to delight and impress. I’m still very much enjoying this mini series on ABC. Overall, two thumbs up. Great fun.

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The X-Files Review Founder's Mutation


The X-Files: Founder’s Mutation Season 1 Episode 2

Director and Writer: James Wong

Staring: David Duchovny, Gillian Anderson, Mitch Pileggi, Joel McHale

Synopsis:  A scientist working for the DOD commits suicide. Mulder and Scully start an investigation only to discover a secret mutation experiment.

The Good: Just as I hoped this episode felt much closer to the investigational freak of the week format that was a little closer to the original X-Files that long time fans are use too. Even though this was promoted as the second night of a two night premier, Founder’s Mutation had very little to do with the first episode The Struggle. Mulder and Scully worked much better together in this episode. They are back in the thick of things solving the case of a scientist that appeared to have committed suicide.  Walter Skinner was more involved this week as well, which I am always grateful for. Skinner was doing his part to give Mulder and Scully more time to get to the bottom of things. Just because I need to say it, the “evil scientist” biting it in the end warmed my heart.

 

The Bad: This is closer to what old school fans want, but isn’t there just yet.  It is starting to feel more like home, but its like there is this unknown thing missing. I’m hoping whatever little thing that feels off fixes it self in the next few episodes, though it could just be nostalgia playing with my head. I will say this, even though I am usually a fan of flash backs and dream type things, the spots with Scully and William just felt off at times, like they don’t belong. Scully’s little snippets where much more heart warming than Mulders though, his just made my heart hurt. Oh the feels.


Final Thoughts: Mulder and Scully worked much more smoothly in this episode, which made a world of difference in the episode flowing much better. I’m sure they are just getting use to working off of each other again, but still it is a relief to see them flowing together. I loved the dynamic of the twins and I hope that is not the last we see of them, you know considering one of them melted the villains brains and then I assume they escaped. Also could we please have more Mitch Pileggi ?... Just more.

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Invincible Iron Man - Issue 4 - Comic Book Review


Invincible Iron Man - #4 - Marvel
Written By: Brian Michael Bendis
Art By: David Marquez and Justin Ponsor

Iron Man is battling a group of ninja’s who have unrecognizable tech and lethal intentions. The battle rages on at Marina Del Ray California at night on the beach. Iron Man eventually figures out the appropriate measures to solve this conflict but it ends with a surprising twist. A short while later, Tony is visiting the children’s hospital when a surprise visit from Doctor Doom interrupts the event. The two are off to Chicago to stop Madam Masque when we see the night club they arrive at is owned by one well known Marvel sweetheart. 

The high tech ninja’s fighting Iron Man with Light Saber looking weapons was fantastic. Additionally, the art showing off the light weapons, the camouflage Iron Man armor and the explosions looked amazing in this issue. The yellows and blues present in the fight scene are mesmerizing. I wonder if it was possible to enjoy the art any more in this issue. 

The dialogue in this issue was entertaining at parts. After the battle on the beach the local authorities arrive to investigate the explosions and fires. The back and forth with Iron Man, the rookie cop and the veteran cop was amusing and gave me a chuckle or two. 


Overall, this issue had some magnificent art to begin the issue. However, this issue felt like a segue issue that was leading into the next one. Instead of being a great issue on it’s own, this one felt like it will be better once I read the fifth issue. I’m still enjoying this new Iron Man series. 



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Movie Review: Hits (2014)


David Cross writes and directs a tale of fame set in the small town of Liberty, NY.  The film shows how the internet can make you famous, even if it wasn't the way you intended for it to happen.

Meredith Hagner plays Katelyn, a nineteen year old girl with a dream to be on the NBC television show, "The Voice."  She feels she has what it takes and is willing to do just about anything to be heard.

Katelyn's father Dave, who is brilliantly played by Matt Walsh, has issues with his city council.  He continues to go to the town halls and is shut down.  This has progressively made him more upset and the videos of his city council outbursts have become mildly popular on YouTube.  This is where Donavan(James Adomian) comes in.  He becomes quite interested in Dave's cause when his drug dealer(Michael Cera) shows Donavan and his wife(Erinn Hayes) the YouTube video.  Donavan, who lives in New York City, and his group of friends are part of an internet group called "Think Tank" and he feels Dave is the perfect subject.

Everything culminates in the small town of Liberty.  Katelyn is looking to record a demo, Dave is becoming more and more popular on the internet, Donavan is surprised by the amount of attention, and there are a lot more characters that have integral parts within this story.

David Cross masterfully weaves all of the characters into this film.  There is a lot going on, but he finds a way to give each character enough screen time so that you are able to keep up with this interweaving tale.  There are also characters who may play small roles but had me laughing out loud.  Derek Waters was remarkably funny in his role as the awkward and always hungry Larson.

Those that are looking for fame do find it.  It just doesn't come the way they might have thought it would.

I'm giving "Hits" three out of five Pile Drivers.  Definitely worth watching if you like a tragic comedy.

You can read more of my reviews here on Cinema Head Cheese and also please check out my blogs, reviews and podcasts on http://maskerpiecetheatre.blogspot.com/

Please let us know your thoughts in the comments below.

This review came from one of my earlier Cinema Head Cheese blogs.

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Tuesday, January 26, 2016

The Flash Review: Season 2 Episode 11 "The Reverse Flash Returns"



The Flash Season 2 Episode 11
“The Reverse-Flash Returns”

Synopsis:
Barry and the team don’t believe Cisco when he reveals he got a vibe of Eobard Thawne. Eobard attacks Mercury Labs and Tina McGee confirms that he has returned. Iris and Francine share a nice moment that brings Iris closer to her brother Wally.

Review:
The Reverse Flash is back, but unlike before he is in the form of Eobard Thanwe. It takes Harrison Wells scaring Cisco in order to stimulate his abilities in order to Vibe on the reverse flash. Wells help by creating a special set of glasses which will allow Cisco to vibe and control what he see. 

This time around when Barry is much faster and is able to capture Reverse Flash, unfortunately when Cisco starts having issue due to the past time line having been change. Barry needs to send Thawne back to the future. 




Final Thoughts:
Interesting episode, from the start it seemed as this episode was more about the advancing and control of Cisco’s powers. Everything about Barry’s fight with the Reverse Flash seems rushed leaving us wanting more form the fight between these two. Although one of my favorite moments during the show has to be when Harrison Wells informs Barry this is the Reverse Flash’s origin story. I am hoping this doesn’t just end right here and we get much more between these two. 

Well it took a lot more episodes than what I would have guessed but we finally had another Berlanti moment when Patty leanrs that Barry is the Flash. The way this ended leads me to believe Patty will be back here resurfacing will have a major affect on the story.

This was a solid story, unfortunately it was only to advance the story of Cisco. Since this really had no long term impact on the Zoom vs Flash story and we never really got a great battle between The Reverse flash, I only give this episode One Thumbs Up. Let us know your thought, Leave a comment below.

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