Monday, November 29, 2010

Birds of Prey: Lady Shiva (1.8)

It's not exactly a challenge, but Barbara is clearly the most interesting character on the show, as she has the most potential for psychological depth. She's confined to a wheelchair after a life of fighting crime, is locked up in a tower all day, and has the burden of playing den mother to two annoying females. There's a lot of regret and pent-up anger within her, and the show finally exploited that in what was probably the best episode so far. I was just a little disappointed that we actually had resolution to all of this at the end. When Barbara told Alfred that she doesn't feel sad about giving up her Batgirl cowl, it felt like a major wasted opportunity. An interesting character-driven storyline about what she has experienced? Nope, we'll just wrap it all up in forty minutes...

Besides the weak ending, this was a fun hour. Lady Shiva was a great bad guy, played with surprising credibility by Sung Hi Lee. It's also just pretty great seeing Batgirl in action again. One of the biggest problems with Birds of Prey is that the real juicy material is all locked into the show's history, while the stuff we're presented in modern times feels flat and lifeless. I would have loved for the show to have gone the darker route, maybe investigating why Batman seemingly vanished, what Barbara endured when facing her paralysis all alone? It would have been pretty fascinating. On a semi-related note, I still hate that we're forced to believe that Reese has no idea about Batman, who only disappeared seven years ago. It's pretty absurd.

What felt like a whole different show was Dinah's ridiculous subplot. From the 'high school sitcom' tone to the scene where we were supposed to buy that the jock guy was captivated by the hotness of the decidedly unsexy Rachel Skarsten, it was pretty darn hilarious in its awfulness. Equally ridiculous was the 'shock twist' that Dinah's B.F.F. is a big ol' lesbian. I'm struggling to see the point of that...

The show is still flawed, and it feels like there's always disappointment at the end of each promising storyline, but I thought this episode was pretty enjoyable. Or maybe I'm just going crazy now. B-

Guest stars Sung Hi Lee (Lady Shiva/Sandy Woosan); Callie De Fabry (Gabby); Ethan Browne (Matt Kendall)
Teleplay Adam Armus, Kay Foster Story Edward Kitsis, Adam Horowitz Director John Kretchmer

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