Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Birds of Prey: Nature of the Beast (1.9)

I always think it's hysterical when a show explains away a cast member change with a couple of lines about plastic surgery. It's like when Steven Carrington had facial reconstruction surgery on Dynasty, waking up with flawless skin, no scar tissue. Not that I'm necessarily unhappy with Al Hawke's transformation from Stephen McHattie into A.D. Skinner. Mitch Pileggi was actually pretty great. The story he's involved in, the continued shenanigans with Reese and his dad, was also pretty great. I've never thought a whole lot about Reese as a character, but I could understand his conflict here. The choice he had was between protecting his father because he's his father, or punishing him for the crimes he's committed. In general, the concept worked.

Both Helena and Reese struggle with morality. Helena too has aggressively pursued the dark side in the past, and it's an interesting idea that so many of the characters on this show have lost people close to them. Helena and Dinah both lost their moms, while Reese has always struggled with his father's corruption and criminality. A lot of the show's ensemble are lost souls in a way, and it's unfortunate that Birds of Prey hasn't totally exploited the sadness that is clearly at the root of all these people.

Neil Hopkins' jumping-through-walls assassin didn't get much development beyond his ability, which was a little disappointing. And as much as I loathe her, Dinah's desperation for revenge wasn't as developed as it could have been either. I feel like the show really struggles with her character. It probably doesn't help that Rachel Skarsten can't emote in the slightest, but the impression that the writers are giving isn't too promising. B

Guest stars Kristofer McNeeley (Frankie Spitz); Neil Hopkins (The Specialist); Mitch Pileggi (Al Hawke)
Writer Melissa Rosenberg Director Shawn Levy

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