Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Birds of Prey: Split (1.7)

As annoying as most aspects of the show are, this is arguably the strongest episode so far, principally because it featured a Metahuman storyline played mostly straight, featured some decent performances and a faint stab at handling the touchy subject of mental illness. Yes, viewers, I am still talking about Birds of Prey. The Crawler/Darkstrike story worked pretty well, if only because there was some mystery to it and decent execution of the whole 'serial killer' motif. The twist was signposted from the beginning, albeit the whole thing was mildly entertaining. At least compared to every other Metahuman story so far.

One of the biggest problems about the show that admittedly I've only just realized is that the writers seem to have forgotten the whole 'Birds of Prey' aspect. The lure of the comic books is that we have three kick-ass women working together as a team. Pretty much every episode so far has been The Helena Show. Even Reese appears to be getting more screentime than both Barbara and Dinah. I get that Barbara is a little grounded story-wise because of her wheelchair, and Dinah is just a straight-up pain in the butt, but with a little tinkering both characters could be stronger. Especially since Dina Meyer is playing Barbara with such conviction and strength already. She's becoming wasted on this show, and that really should not be the case.

Speaking of things that aren't working, Helena and Reese have all the chemistry of a goldfish and a futon couch. Shemar Moore can't decide whether he's playing Reese as bothered or intrigued by Helena, while the idea that Helena has "love in her life" (making her a desirable victim for Crawler) was more than a little contrived.

While the Darkstrike story provided an upshot in quality, there are too many problems with the general structure of the series and its flat characters. That needs to be the area the writers are concentrated on, as it's single-handedly what makes or breaks a show. Of course, reading that back I'm reminded that this isn't a show that's actually airing anymore. The fact that it died a quick death shows that the writers never handled that major issue. C

Guest stars Kristoffer Polaha (Darkstrike); Brian Thompson (Crawler)
Teleplay Adam Armus, Kay Foster Story Edward Kitsis, Adam Horowitz Director James Marshall

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