Tuesday, February 13, 2018

A Lot To Ask From White Chocolate Lovers: Loacker White Wafer Cookies!


The Good: Tastes good, Generally good ingredients
The Bad: Could be a little more affordable, Not at all healthy
The Basics: Loacker White Chocolate wafer cookies are powerfully flavored in a way that anyone who loves white chocolate might enjoy!


I love trying new foods, even when they are not my favorite flavored foods. I am a big fan of dark chocolate and mint, but despite that, I often try things that are milk chocolate or white chocolate. I was pretty psyched when a recent food box my wife picked up for me included Loacker White wafer cookies. While she might like white chocolate more than I do, I can easily recognize the quality of the Loacker White cookies!

Basics

Loacker is an Italian food manufacturer that has begun importing to the U.S. to grow their brand here. The Loacker White Chocolate wafer cookies are individually-wrapped wafer wafer cookies and they are good, though they are not the most environmentally friendly.

Each 55 gram Loacker wafer cookie is a single bar-style wafer cookie approximately 3 1/2” long and 3 1/4” wide and 3/8" thick. The White Chocolate wafer cookies come in a 1.94 oz. package with a bar that has six segments.

Ease Of Preparation

Eating Loacker White Chocolate wafer cookies is not a real challenge, simply unwrap the wafer cookie, which is pretty much like a candy bar, and consume. When you have a wafer cookie out, all you have to do is stick it in your mouth and chew; there is nothing complicated or foreign about eating these wafer cookies.

Taste

Opening the individual wrap around the Loacker White Chocolate wafer cookies reveals a strong, surprisingly nutty scent. There is almost no chocolate scent to these wafer cookie bars, but there is a weird, faint peanut scent to the cookies.

The Loacker White Chocolate wafer cookies are very sweet and creamy. The white chocolate is potent and instantly recognizable. The crispy wafer cookie inside the chocolate shell is more of a texture as opposed to a flavor, but it is delightful. The white chocolate flavor is strong and dominates these cookies in a pleasant way.

There is no real aftertaste to the Loacker White Chocolate wafer cookies.

Nutrition

Loacker White Chocolate wafer cookies are intended as a sweet snack, not a full meal. The full 55 gram wafer cookie bar represents a single serving and they are not at all nutritious. Made primarily of sugar, cocoa butter and whole milk powder, this is not an all-natural food product and these wafer cookies were produced on equipment that forces them to add a disclaimer about almonds, hazelnuts, milk, wheat, gluten and soy.

Loacker White Chocolate wafer cookies have a whopping 310 calories for a single wafer cookie serving, 170 of which are from fat. A full serving represents 65% of one's RDA of saturated fat, though they are very low in cholesterol, with only 10 mg. (3% RDA). As well, they are fairly low in sodium for a wafer cookie, having only 70 mg per serving. They have five grams of protein and only fifteen percent of the RDA of Calcium . . . and no other real nutrients. As one who is working on getting heart-healthy, I wish there had been even a gram of dietary fiber.

Storage/Cleanup

Loacker White Chocolate wafer cookies are easy to care for and clean up. Unopened, they have a pretty short shelf life; I received mine last month and they have an expiration date of the end of February 2018. Kept sealed, I am sure they would have lasted at least that long. As wafer cookies, one need only not shake the package excessively to care for them and wipe away any crumbs after eating them. This is a low-stress food!

Overall

Loacker White Chocolate wafer cookies are good, for anyone who loves white chocolate and is willing to overlook the nutritional detractions of them.

For other reviews of White Chocolate products, please check out:
Ghirardelli Sublime White Cookies Jubilee chocolate bar
Quaker Chewy White Chocolate Chocolate Chip Granola Bars
Reese's White Peanut Butter Cups

5.5/10

For other food and drink reviews, please visit my Food Review Index Page for an organized listing!

© 2018 W.L. Swarts. May not be reprinted without permission.
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Legends Of Tomorrow Returns With The Horror That Is "Daddy Darhkest!"


The Good: Fun plot, Competent performances, Hints of character
The Bad: No exeptional plot, character or acting moments.
The Basics: Legends Of Tomorrow resumes with "Daddy Darhkest" . . . and an appearance by John Constantine!


Well before the third season of Legends Of Tomorrow began, it was well-teased that John Constantine would be making an appearance. As the show picks up for its midseason premiere, that appearance happens. Having not watched Constantine, I was intrigued to see if it would be possible to appreciate the new direction and character. Fortunately, "Daddy Darhkest" begins with a pretty basic primer on Constantine to help viewers ignorant of his show catch right up.

"Daddy Darkest" picks up in the aftermath of "Beebo The God Of War"(reviewed here!), which climaxed with John Constantine appearing on the Waverider. Given that Sara Lance had just encountered Mallus in the spirit world, the explosion of supernatural elements into Legends Of Tomorrow seems organic.

Opening in Star City, 2017, John Constantine enters a hospital where he attempts to perform an exorcism on a little girl. There, he finds out that something evil is hunting Sarah Lance. Constantine arrives on the Waverider where he informs Lance that something evil is coming for her. Lance and her crewmates are able to name the evil: Mallus, which helps Constantine plan his next attempt to exorcize the demon from Emily, who turns out to be a younger version of Nora Darhk. While the others work on the exorcism, Amaya Jiwe fights Kuasa, who comes to defend Emily. When the exorcism goes badly, Snart, Constantine and Lance find themselves teleported to 1969.

With Kuasa frozen and Mick Rory obsessed with watching a live football game, Dr. Heywood, Tomaz, and Palmer try to help Emily so she might not grow up to hate them. In 1969, Mallus reaches out to Lance, but Constantine is able to help her. Snart, however, is captured by the doctors at the asylum. While Lance and Constantine rescue Snart from a lobotomy, in 2017, Palmer and Tomaz take Emily out to coffee. While at Jitters, Mallus takes over the girl. To escape 1969, Constantine summons Mallus into Lance's body. In the spirit realm, Nora and Sara Lance work together to fight the influence of the demon.

John Constantine is surprisingly unobtrusive in the character mix of Legends Of Tomorrow, which is nice. With Jax gone and Dr. Stein dead, finding a new balance in the characters takes a back seat for an episode. Constantine hooks up with Lance, which is fun and the idea that Constantine has the ability to fight a demon like Mallus makes sense given how most of the crew of the Waverider is more scientifically-minded as opposed to guided by magic. The return of Snart to the crew - even in his Earth-X form - is enough of an adjustment for the regular crew.

Every scene that Wentworth Miller is in in "Daddy Darhkest" reminds viewers of how much his presence was missed in the prior season. Miller steals the show as Leo Snart continues to establish himself as a very different version of Snart.

Madeline Arthur is wonderful as the creepy young Nora Darhk/Emily. Her waifish appearance is augmented by a wide-eyed stare that is just plain creepy. At the key moment of "Daddy Darhkest," Arthur plays the part with a sadness that is palpable and it is impressive for such a young actress.

"Daddy Darhkest" allows John Constantine to help the Legends Of Tomorrow define the season's villain better and open up the show to how they might defeat it. Tomaz and Jiwe learn that the totems may be the key to stopping Mallus and there might be more than the five that Jiwe knows about in existence.

Ultimately, "Daddy Darhkest" is a horror episode of Legends Of Tomorrow and it is solid, but lacking in anything superlative. The episode had no great performances, no unstoppable character moments and a plot that is very familiar to anyone who has watched horror movies.

For other DC Television Universe midseason premieres, please visit my reviews of:
"Legion Of The Super-Heroes" - Supergirl
"The Trial Of The Flash" - The Flash
"Supergirl Lives" - Supergirl

5/10

For other television and movie reviews, please visit my Movie Review Index Page for an organized listing!

© 2018 W.L. Swarts. May not be reprinted without permission.
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Good Career, Average Ornament: The 2017 Veterinarian Barbie Ornament!


The Good: Good balance, Good sculpt, Affordable
The Bad: Does not look at all like Barbie, Seems a little small for the price
The Basics: The 2017 Veterinarian Barbie Hallmark ornament is all right, but not spectacular.


The 2017 Veterinarian Barbie ornament is one of the last 2017 Barbie ornaments I had yet to review. The ornament is all right, but it is hardly one that will light the world on fire. The Veterinarian Barbie ornament is an ornament of a Barbie doll - this time, a brunette! - dressed in a traditional white lab coat, holding a tiny dog in one arm! This is a Barbie ornament intended to be Barbie at work and it is cool on that front, but it is not one that looks like the distinctive ornament from Mattel.

Basics

The 2017 Veterinarian Barbie ornament is an entirely unique ornament, featuring an incarnation of Barbie that is part of the Occupations line of full-sized Barbie dolls. The ornament was released with an original issue price of $17.95, which is on par with other ornaments in the Barbie line. The 2017 Veterinarian Barbie ornament is 4" tall by 2 5/8" wide by 1 1/4" deep and she is made entirely of hard plastic.

The 2017 Veterinarian Barbie ornament has a purple shirt, covered by a white lab coat, and blue pants. The flats that the Veterinarian Barbie wears are notable for the realism of their sculpt. Similarly, the dog in Barbie's arm is cute and surprisingly healthy-looking for a dog at the vet's. This Barbie's hair is long and black and back in a professional fashion. The sculpt is fairly simple, but the ornament has incredibly well-sculpted details like shoelaces!

The coloring of the Veterinarian Barbie might well be its only serious detraction. The 2017 Veterinarian Barbie is incredibly simple in its coloring. The coloring is done without any subtlety or depth of shading; instead the ornament is colored in decent, if solid, colors.

Features

As a Hallmark Keepsake ornament, the Veterinarian Barbie ornament could have a function like a sound chip or light effect, but it does not. This is just the ornament, simple and direct. The dog may not be removed and the doll ornament does not feature articulation.

Balance

As with all ornaments, the intent of the Hallmark Keepsake 2017 Veterinarian Barbie ornament is that the ornaments will be hung on a Christmas Tree. For those creating the ultimate Barbie Christmas Tree, the Veterinarian Barbie ornament is a cute addition, but the ornament does not quite look like a traditional Barbie. The Veterinarian Barbie has a steel hook loop at the top, center, of her head and from there she hangs with excellent balance.

Collectibility

Hallmark Keepsake began delving into the collectibles market in 1991 with Star Trek when it introduced the exceptionally limited edition original U.S.S. Enterprise ornament (reviewed here!). Since then, they have branched out into every major franchise from Barbie to Gone With The Wind to The Hunger Games. The Veterinarian Barbie ornament was released at the October Ornament Celebration Weekend and it has sold out at most of the Hallmark stores I've been to before the end of the season. So far, though, this ornament has not appreciated at all in the secondary market and it seems like a tough sell for it to.

Overview

The 2017 Veterinarian Barbie ornament is all right, if simple and lacking in any iconic Barbie components.

For other Barbie ornament reviews, please check out:
2017 Lavender Luxe Barbie ornament (Limited Edition)
2017 Holiday Celebration (Black) Barbie ornament
2017 Holiday Celebration (White) Barbie ornament
2017 Dream Date Barbie ornament
2016 Ballet Wishes Barbie ornament
2016 Holiday Celebration Barbie ornament
2016 Soccer Player Barbie ornament
2016 Cherry Pie Picnic Barbie ornament
2016 Picnic Set Ornaments (Limited Edition)
2015 Celebration Barbie (Black)
2015 Barbie Celebration Set (2013/2014 Celebration Barbie)
2012 Barbie Provencale
2012 Brava, Ballerina! Barbie
2012 Holiday Celebration Barbie (Black)
2012 Holiday Celebration Barbie (Caucasian)
2012 Matinee Fashion Barbie - Final In The Series!
2012 Tweed Indeed Barbie
2011 Celebration Barbie (Black)
2011 Campus Sweetheart Barbie
2011 Prima Ballerina Barbie ornament
1996 Enchanted Evening Barbie ornament
1995 Barbie Debut (Brunette) - Club Exclusive
1994 Barbie Debut ornament

6/10

For other ornament reviews, please visit my Ornament Review Index Page for an organized listing!!

© 2018 W.L. Swarts. May not be reprinted without permission.
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CBS All Access Asks Fans: "Will You Take My Hand?" Into Star Trek: Discovery's Second Season.


The Good: Speeches exemplify Star Trek values well, Most of the acting is good
The Bad: Terrible characterizations, Awful direction, Simplistic plot, A couple of lousy performances, Continuity issues
The Basics: Star Trek: Discovery completes its first season with "Will You Take My Hand?" and it's a lackluster end to a disappointing first season.


The first major chance Star Trek: Discovery has to make a massive course correction has arrived: it is season finale time! Having spent the weekend with die-hard Trekkers - I was at a wonderful fan-run convention populated by the Star Trek fans who remember watching the original series, supported the boom of Trek during the mid-nineties and have kept fandom and the franchise alive for fifty years - who either refused to watch Star Trek: Discovery because they were not going to pay for CBS All Access or because the first two free episodes completely offended their sensibilities (seriously, CBS - I found ONE person who vocally enjoyed Star Trek: Discovery at a convention attended by thousands!), I was in no real rush to watch the first season finale of Star Trek: Discovery. But, upon returning home, my wife - with hope in her eyes - asked, "Did you watch the season finale while you were on the road?" The look of disappointment in her eyes when I said "no" broke my heart. So, while she's sleeping in today, I'm taking in "Will You Take My Hand?"

"Will You Take My Hand?" is a chance for Star Trek: Discovery to make an attempt to re-steer Star Trek: Discovery toward something more recognizably Star Trek and more in line with Star Trek canon (which would be a virtually impossible task). Instead, the show generally digs itself in deeper with an attitude of "we'll do whatever the hell we want with this show!" "Will You Take My Hand?" picks up where "The War Without, The War Within" (reviewed here!) left off, with the U.S.S. Discovery headed on a dangerous mission to the Klingon Homeworld in an attempt to end the war.

As the Klingon fleet closes in on Earth, Emperor Georgiou - impersonating the lost Captain Georgiou - commanded the Discovery on its mission to Kronos. As the ship closes in, Georgiou is harsh with her crew and Saru and Burnham resist her authority and jibes. Georgiou and Burnham visit L'Rell in the brig where Georgiou attempts to torture the information of where she should send a landing party out of L'Rell. Failing that, Burnham brings the Captain to Ash Tyler in an attempt to get the information a nicer way. Tyler advises a team to visit a volcanic site that was leased to the Orions and Georgiou enlists Tyler and Tilly to help deploy a mapping drone needed to better define targets on Kronos. Saru and Stamets take the Discovery under the planet's surface, while the Away Team beams to the Orion marketplace and attempts to gather information.

Shocked by how Tyler's interactions with the Klingons triggers memories of her parents' death, Burnham becomes sympathetic to the Klingons on Kronos. Waking up from being drugged, Tilly discovers that the mapping drone is actually a bomb capable of almost entirely destroying Kronos. Realizing that StarFleet has sanctioned a genocidal action, Saru and the Discovery crew turn on Admiral Cornwell and devise another plan. L'Rell and Tyler leave to end the war by taking control of the Klingon High Council. The Discovery returns to Earth, where Burnham is given a pardon and re-commissioned as a Commander.

"Will You Take My Hand?"actually manages to embody the adage from "Mirror, Mirror" (reviewed here!) that it is easier for civilized people to play the barbarian than the other way around; from the outset, Georgiou is impulsive, short-tempered and cruel, exactly what one would expect from the Mirror Universe version of the character. It proves a severe lack of judgment on the part of the Federation leadership and StarFeet that they would attempt to use Georgiou to end the war. Unfortunately, the fact that no one in the leadership of StarFleet or the Federation foresaw the stupidity of putting Georgiou in command is insulting. How did so many people rise so high in such an ethical organization only to completely lose their principles?! It's a conceit that plays to the idea of a heroic starship crew, but plays poorly to the idea that they are part of something larger; how are they the only capable people in StarFleet who actually adhere to the principles of the Federation?

In a similar fashion, it is utterly ridiculous that Tilly would be part of the Away Team to Kronos. Tilly is a cadet and there is no decent explanation within "Will You Take My Hand?" for what particular skills she had that make her of use to the mission. She is a terrible liability, which is evident almost immediately - especially when Georgiou outs herself to Tilly. Saru is still, technically, in charge of the Discovery and he could easily have ordered a security officer to accompany the Away Team. Allowing Georgiou free range to assemble her team without any oversight makes no real sense.

So, "Will You Take My Hand?" is utilized as an opportunity for Tilly to swear, have StarFleet personnel hang around a strip club and lope into a heroic first season ending. The episode feels like it wants to be audacious, but it pulls its punches. Sure, Tilly gets high and swears again. That's a fairly juvenile way of "being edgy." Georgiou has a threesome and appears almost fully-clothed in the aftermath; the producers were not willing to push the envelope the way something like Altered Carbon (season one reviewed here!) did with naked people in combat.

Akiva Goldsman directed "Will You Take My Hand?" and it doesn't take long before the viewer wishes someone would get him a camera stand. There are almost no shots in the episode where the camera is not shaking and moving in an inorganic way. "Will You Take My Hand?" is nauseating to watch. And the movements make no rational/storytelling sense. For a show that makes viewers pay for the privilege of watching the final product, one would think there would be money in the budget to afford something to hold a camera steady!

"Will You Take My Hand?" is hampered by convention to form over sensibility. While there are continuity issues like a Klingon female taking over (much less serving!) on the Klingon High Council and a Klingon fleet massed right off Earth (seriously, did none of the writers watch Star Trek: Deep Space Nine?!), the episode is far more gutted by its forced attempt to stick to the familiar. Michael Burnham is the protagonist on Star Trek: Discovery and Sonequa Martin-Green gets top billing for the show, so she is utilized like she is the most important character in this corner of the Star Trek universe. As a result, the convicted criminal is the character who upholds StarFleet and Federation values more than anyone else and that plays poorly in "Will You Take My Hand?" As the episode comes to a close, Burnham gives a rousing speech to an assemblage of StarFleet and Federation personnel . . . for no particular reason other than the fact that she is the show's focus. A newly-recommissioned, barely exonerated, officer addressing the top brass in such a fashion is roughly equivalent to me being able to address the United Nations General Assembly. The list of people given such an opportunity before me (or Burnham) is so long as to make such an appearance laughable. It severely diminishes Saru's character that he acts as a supporting character in "Will You Take My Hand?," especially in the climactic speech scene.

On the acting front, James Frain continues to shit all over the legacy of Sarek with his performance - smirking through a key scene between Sarek and Burnham in a way that is decidedly un-Vulcan. Frain cannot be blamed for the writing of Sarek (one supposes Sarek learned his lesson on using force against the Klingons, which is why he was not part of the cabal intended to wipe out the Klingons in Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country, though his actions in Star Trek: Discovery would have made an approach by any member of that group logical, in which case Sarek failed to disclose?), but when he outright smiles in a scene it is hard for fans not to wince.

The rest of the acting is fine, though Michelle Yeoh and Sonequa Martin-Green dominate the episode. The dramatic standing of many of the characters is well-performed, but given how little is known of their characters, it lacks impact. And Martin-Green delivers her several big speeches well, but they feel forced for the character she plays.

Ultimately, "Will You Take My Hand?" does what it can to resolve the Klingon war arc that has dominated half of the first season and it gets there . . . but it does so in a way that leaps to that end without making it feel organic or incredible. L'Rell becomes suddenly critically important to wrapping up the arc and the way the episode plays, Klingons are undermined for their resolve, personal strength and even their established cultural values. The result is that Star Trek: Discovery ends with its characteristic lack of respect for canon and an emphasis on style . . . though at least "Will You Take My Hand?" pays lip service to Star Trek values and ideology.

For other first season finales from the Star Trek franchise, please check out my reviews of:
"In The Hands Of The Prophets" - Star Trek: Deep Space Nine
"Learning Curve" - Star Trek: Voyager
"Shockwave" - Star Trek: Enterprise
"The Neutral Zone" - Star Trek: The Next Generation
"Operation: Annihilate" - Star Trek

2.5/10

For other Star Trek episode, movie, and seasons, please check out my Star Trek Review Index Page!

© 2018 W.L. Swarts. May not be reprinted without permission.
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Thursday, February 8, 2018

Great For Peanut Lovers, Less For Those Who Adore Fudge: Haagen-Dazs Peanut Butter Salted Fudge Ice Cream!


The Good: Decent peanut butter and salt flavor, Great ingredients
The Bad: More expensive than other ice creams, Not at all healthy, Fudge flavor is entirely sublimated to the peanut butter
The Basics: Haagen-Dazs Peanut Butter Salted Fudge ice cream is an interesting, very nutty ice cream that worked as a pick-me-up, but is unlikely to get a repeat "buy" from me!


Today was not a great day for me. I spent almost twelve hours driving to a convention - and got very much inside my head while driving alone - and I finally managed to take in the new film by one of my favorite writer/directors only to be gravely disappointed by it. Two things, however, made my day better. The first was a series of phone calls from my amazing wife. The other was buying some comfort food. Yes, nothing changes the tenor of the day like cranking the heat up in a hotel room and cracking open a pint of ice cream. In this case, the therapy ice cream was Haagen-Dazs Peanut Butter Salted Fudge Ice Cream.

Haagen-Dazs Peanut Butter Salted Fudge Ice Cream strikes me as something my wife might enjoy more than me. I like chocolatey flavors quite a bit and I love a good mix of chocolate and peanut butter. But, between a peanut butter base, a very weak fudge and actual peanuts, the Haagen-Dazs Peanut Butter Salted Fudge Ice Cream is definitely intended for a peanut butter lover!

Basics

Haagen-Dazs ice cream comes in a 14 oz. (almost) pint container. The Peanut Butter Salted Fudge ice cream is a smooth ice cream with occasional chunks of fudge and a lot of peanuts mixed in. At (locally) $4.99 a pint, the Haagen-Dazs Ice cream is an expensive frozen dairy dessert.

Ease Of Preparation

The Peanut Butter Salted Fudge Ice cream is a basic ice cream with two additives. As an ice cream, preparation is ridiculously simple: one need only open the top of the container, remove the safety seal from the top, scoop out a half cup and consume! There is no trick to preparing or eating the Peanut Butter Salted Fudge Ice cream!

Taste

Haagen-Dazs Peanut Butter Salted Fudge ice cream smells fairly strongly of peanut butter. The aroma is nutty and becomes even more prominent as the ice cream nears its melting point.

On the taste front, the Peanut Butter Salted Fudge ice cream is dry and salty. The chocolate fudge flavor barely has a chance to manifest before the actual peanuts in the ice cream overwhelm any potential sweetness and the saltiness in the ice cream overcomes the cocoa flavoring. This is a great ice cream for those who love peanut butter!

This ice cream has an extremely dry aftertaste to it.

Nutrition

The Haagen-Dazs Peanut Butter Salted Fudge Ice cream is a comparatively thick ice cream with hard additives. The 14 oz. container represents three and a half half-cup servings. In the half-cup serving, there are 340 calories, 210 of which are from fat. The twenty-three grams of fat represent 35% of the RDA of fat, with 55% of one’s RDA of saturated fat coming in the 11 grams of saturated fat in this ice cream. One serving has 60 mg of cholesterol (that’s 20% of the RDA!) and 150 mg of Sodium (6% RDA). The only other real nutrients are six grams of protein and 10% of the RDA of Calcium in the Peanut Butter Salted Fudge ice cream.

Haagen-Dazs has decent ingredients. Made primarily of Cream, skim milk and sugar, Peanut Butter Salted Fudge Ice cream is all natural! There is nothing unpronounceable in the ingredients list. The Peanut Butter Salted Fudge Haagen-Dazs is neither Kosher, nor gluten free. There are no specific allergy warnings on the package, though this ice cream is noted to contain milk, peanut, soy, and egg ingredients, so it is very much not Vegan compliant.

Storage/Clean-Up

Haagen-Dazs ice cream is both a frozen and a dairy product, so it is pretty obvious that it must be kept frozen in order to remain viable. Kept frozen it remains fresh for months (my pint had an expiration date of September 7, 2018, though it will be gone by the end of the weekend, if not the end of the night!).

The Peanut Butter Salted Fudge ice cream is fairly light off-white/tan color and will stain if the ice cream comes closer to room temperature, especially because the Salted Fudge is far darker and melts into fabrics. As well, when the ice cream melts and gets onto fabrics, it will require one to wash it right out. On nonporous surfaces, the ice cream wipes off exceptionally easily.

Overall

The Haagen-Dazs Peanut Butter Salted Fudge ice cream is good, but the peanuts in it distract some from the salted fudge, robbing it of perfection!

For other Haagen-Dazs products, be sure to visit my reviews of:
Midnight Cookies & Cream Ice Cream
Vanilla Bean Gelato
Black Cherry Amaretto Gelato

6.5/10

For other food reviews, please visit my Food Review Index Page for an organized listing!

© 2018 W.L. Swarts. May not be reprinted without permission.
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Tuesday, February 6, 2018

The Flash Is Unable To Show His "True Colors" In A Lackluster Episode!


The Good: Good direction, Fine special effects, Adequate performances
The Bad: Incredibly familiar plot, Mediocre character development
The Basics: The Flash presents an unfortunately familiar and derivative episode in "True Colors," which plays out as more inevitable than audacious.


The Flash is at an interesting point. The titular character is off the radar, locked up and not doing heroic things. Keeping the emphasis on The Flash and peril that comes from DeVoe - who was promoted in the third season as an incredible villain for Central City - has been wanting for the last few episodes. Instead, S.T.A.R. Labs has adapted to the Metahuman Of The Week phenomenon fairly well, which makes sense given that they had months to get the teamwork done right while The Flash was trapped in the Speed Force prison. In fact, despite no longer having Kid Flash on the team, the S.T.A.R. Labs team has the Elongated Man to help out with the weekly metahumans.

"True Colors" picks up where "Honey, I Shrunk The Flash Team" (reviewed here!) left off, with Warden Wolf in negotiations to sell metahumans to Amunet Black. Having been recognized by Wolf as a Speedster, Barry Allen is in real peril now. In the prior episode, D.A. Horton developed spontaneous telepathic powers (which she did not use to run into DeVoe and read his mind to figure out his long-term plan).

Warden Wolf brings Amunet Black into a secret area of Iron Heights where he shows off The Flash, Kilgore, Hazard, Dwarfstar and Mina Chaytan. Black decides to buy them all. While waiting for the transaction, Wolf meets with Iris and Horton who reads Wolf's mind. Ralph Dibny is disturbed when he runs into an old associate who wants him for a shady investigation. Rejecting him, Dibny returns to S.T.A.R. Labs where he inadvertently shape-shifts into his old friend. That inspires the S.T.A.R. Labs team to try to train Dibny to look like Warden Wolf.

With Amunet Black interested in purchasing so many metahumans, The Thinker's plan is thrown into a place where DeVoe is uncertain what will come next. Marlize illustrates that she does not entirely trust DeVoe's telepathy. Dibny as Wolf is sent to Amunet's bar, with the S.T.A.R. Labs team assisting, while Barry Allen breaks out his fellow metahumans and together they attempt to escape Iron Heights. But, when Dibny's attempt to impersonate Wolf goes bad, Amunet contacts Wolf directly. Wolf manages to get the drop on the escaping metahumans and outs Barry to his confederates. That inspires DeVoe to step in . . . and in the aftermath, Ralph Dibny comes up with an inspired way to exonerate Barry Allen.

"True Colors" feels familiar on both main plots. Dibny infiltrating Amunet Black's lair feels very much like Barry Allen attempting to impersonate his doppelganger on Earth-2 in the second season and Barry Allen working with the metahumans is just like how Supergirl just teamed up with her enemies in "Fort Rozz" (reviewed here!). So, the plot front seems entirely repetitive - down to Allen not having his powers during the team-up and trying to talk to the villains into doing the right thing.

The performances in "True Colors" are fine, but none are truly spectacular, just as the character moments are as familiar as the plot. The villains are predictably treacherous, the heroes rise to their heroic occasion and the plot moves forward with a sense that the writers are done trying to work around Barry Allen's incarceration. "True Colors" is so lackluster that it is hard to muster up the enthusiasm to write more about it than that.

4/10

For other television reviews, please visit my Television Review Index Page for an organized listing!

© 2018 W.L. Swarts. May not be reprinted without permission.
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Delightful For What It Is: Special K Protein Chocolatey Dipped Mint Meal Bars Satisfy!


The Good: Very tasty, Very healthy, Surprisingly filling
The Bad: Comparatively expensive
The Basics: Special K Protein Chocolatey Dipped Mint Meal Bars are a decent meal replacement bar with a surprising number of nutrients and a yummy flavor!


There are very few meal replacement bars that I truly love. So many of them taste like something mealy and gross and unlike their promised flavor. So, when I find one that actually tastes like what it promises to be, I actually get excited. I am excited about the Special K Protein Chocolatey Dipped Mint Meal Bars!

Basics

Special K is perhaps best known for making the breakfast cereal that is a classic, but a little bland. Special K Protein bars are part of Kelloggs’ expansion into meal and snack bars. Their Meal Bars come in several flavors and I chose the Chocolatey Dipped Mint Meal Bar because I love chocolate mint foods.

Each Chocolatey Dipped Mint Meal Bar is in a 1.59 oz. bar that is foil-wrapped. Each bar represents a single serving and the Meal Bars are each 1 1/8” wide by 5/8” thick by 4 1/8” long. The Special K Protein Chocolatey Dipped Mint Meal Bars are unsurprisingly breakable or squishable. A box of Chocolatey Dipped Mint Meal Bars contains only five bars. Each bar looks like a simple chocolate bar.

Ease Of Preparation

Eating Special K Protein Chocolatey Dipped Mint Meal Bars is simple. After removing the foil wrapper, simply pull out the bar and stick it in your mouth. There is no particularly complicated equation to eating this meal bar; it is an entirely ready-to-eat food!

Taste

Unwrapping the Chocolatey Dipped Mint Meal Bar, I was thrilled by how the bar smelled strongly of chocolate and mint. The mint and mild chocolate aroma is distinct and enjoyable to those who like those flavors (which includes me).

In the mouth, the Special K Protein Chocolatey Dipped Mint Meal Bars are sweet with a fairly light milk chocolate coating. The sweet milk chocolate melts way fairly quickly to expose the minty center. The sweet, cool, peppermint is muted by the chocolate coating and its protein isolate medium - which tastes like uncooked cookie batter. The batter-like flavor is delightful and enjoyable and accurately represents a chocolate mint flavor.

The Special K Protein Chocolatey Dipped Mint Meal Bars leaves a mild, minty aftertaste in the mouth for about five minutes after the last of the bar is consumed.

Nutrition

Special K Protein Meal Bars are intended as a meal replacement and they seem to work to fill a consumer up fairly well. These 1.59 oz. Meal Bars represent a single serving and they are surprisingly healthy. Made primarily of sugar, soluble corn fiber, and soy protein isolate, what surprised me was how there was nothing in these bars that was unpronounceable. This is a mostly-natural food product and these Meal Bars were produced on equipment that may leave the bar with traces of peanuts, wheat, almonds, soy, wheat and milk, so they are not Vegan-compliant.

Special K Protein's Chocolatey Dipped Mint Meal Bars have 190 calories, 50 of which are from fat. A full serving represents 23% of one's RDA of saturated fat and they have 15 mg. of cholesterol. Surprisingly, they are fairly low in sodium with only 140 mg (6% RDA) per serving and there are an impressive 8 grams of protein to be had by eating a full bar. These are a significant source of ten vitamins and minerals, with several B vitamins in the 20% RDA range.

Storage/Cleanup

As a healthy meal bar, Special K Protein Chocolatey Dipped Mint Meal Bar remain fresh so long as they are kept in their wrappers. Our box had an expiration date of June 5, 2018, so these last for a while. As long as the bars are not heated up, they remain fresh and the only real clean-up for them comes from wiping up crumbs.

If the Chocolatey Dipped Mint bars get hot, though, the chocolate coating on them will melt and cleaning that up can be a little more tricky, especially from light fabrics. Consult a fabric guide if the chocolate melts onto your clothes.

Overall

Special K Protein Chocolatey Dipped Mint Meal Bars are a pleasant surprise in that they are a delightful meal bar well worth trying!

For other bars, please check out:
Larabar Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Bars
Quest Beyond Cinnamon Roll Cereal Protein Bar
Clif Builder's Bar Chocolate Peanut Butter Protein Bar

8/10

For other food and drink reviews, please check out my Food And Drink Review Index Page for an organized listing!

© 2018 W.L. Swarts. May not be reprinted without permission.
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Ten Episodes Of Cyberpunk Mystery Mediocrity: Altered Carbon Season 1


The Good: Rich sense of setting, Good performances, Decent directions/effects
The Bad: Most of the characters are hard to empathize with, Surprisingly standard plot, Loaded with cyberpunk tropes
The Basics: Altered Carbon is a pretty standard murder mystery wrapped up in an incredible setting that is, at its best, entertaining.


I've been thinking a lot about Altered Carbon since I finished watching the first season. Back when I was in high school, I had a friend who wanted me to broaden my science fiction appreciation beyond the Star Trek I was obsessed with at the time. She gave me the William Gibson cyberpunk novel Neuromancer (reviewed here!) and while it did not initially grab me, it is a book I have returned to a couple of times over the years. While I might not love the book, I can appreciate the statements and intents of it. In a similar fashion, I can appreciate the complexity of Altered Carbon, the ambitious new television show on Netflix.

But, ultimately, I did not much enjoy Altered Carbon's first season. At its core, the first season of Altered Carbon is a murder mystery. The show is set in the distant future when human memories are stored on (essentially) embedded flash drives placed in the body at birth. This sets up the show's main conceits - that people can swap bodies and there is very little real death. It also makes the idea of a murder mystery in the setting incredibly complex.

Unfortunately, it also makes humanity almost entirely unrecognizable in some ways and entirely basic and predictable in others. The rich are powerful and (literally) above the ground-dwellers, the police are corrupt, and many people have the ambition to want to do better. But, the surface is dark, polluted, filthy, and most people have given into their darker impulses. Drugs, violence and every possible sexual kink are commonplace . . . and that gets surprisingly boring to watch, much less to consider. Altered Carbon Season 1 is packed with characters who live under the implied assumption that given immortality, most human adults would stay lodged in an immature state where they would be obsessed with more obvious physical pleasures, as opposed to self-improvement and societal progression.

And that makes the setting of Altered Carbon far more overwhelming than the story. Indeed, as I considered the characters early in the show, I made a guess about the murderer - which was, admittedly, wrong - and came up with a scenario more complex, but humanly-motivated than the ultimate solution. The problem with the setting of Altered Carbon for a murder mystery is that with the presence of body swapping, clones, Artificial Intelligences, reusable bodies, hallucinations, virtual reality and immortal characters is that there's pretty much no reasonable way to trust the available evidence, characters, and narrators because the sense of identity for so many characters is skewed.

In other words, the setting is vastly more complicated than the characters who populate that world.

As well, Altered Carbon tipped its hand with its casting. Genre fans have come to recognize Dichen Lachman; she has taken on increasingly bigger roles in recent years and proven herself capable of making incredibly memorable characters. So, the idea that Altered Carbon is only going to use Lachman for flashback scenes is as ridiculous as the idea that Henry Cavill's presence in Justice League (reviewed here!) was only going to be for Lois Lane dream sequences. The moment Cavill's name appeared second-billed in Justice League every viewer with any sense of intelligence knew Superman would be resurrected (despite him being carefully kept out of the advertising campaigns before the film was released). In a similar fashion, Altered Carbon's "big surprise" is entirely undone by featuring Dichen Lachman in early episodes exclusively in flashback scenes.

Following a shootout on a distant planet, Takeshi Kovacs wakes up 250 years later in Alcatraz on Earth. Kovacs's memories (from his "stack," the embedded hard drive) have been installed in a new body ("sleeve") and he is leased by Bancroft Industries. Laurens Bancroft resurrected Kovacs to solve his own murder; his last body was killed, but he had cloned backup sleeves and every 48 hours he creates a remote upload of his memories. Less than eight hours after being reanimated, an assassination attempt is made on Kovacs's life, which convinces him that the Bancroft case is real and powerful people want to keep him from the truth. As he begins the investigation in earnest, Kovacs finds Vernon Elliot, a man who threatened Bancroft while intoxicated, because he believes that Bancroft left his daughter, Lizzy, an insane mess before attempting to kill her. In exchange for his help as back-up, Kovacs sets Lizzy up in a virtual scenario where his a.i. innkeeper, Poe, starts to put her back together.

Kovacs is followed and harassed by Bay City Detective Kristin Ortega. Ortega has no love of the Bancroft family and she distrusts Kovacs. She also has a keen interest in Kovacs's sleeve, as Kovacs is soon abducted and interrogated by people who believe he is "Riker." Riker was Ortega's partner, who was obsessed with a conspiracy he could not prove. As Takeshi Kovacs interrogates everyone related to the Bancrofts to try to murder of Laurens, the Elliot matter, Riker's conspiracy, and Kovacs's own history as a freedom fighter on a distant world interweave to put Kovacs at the center of the case he is investigating!

The essential characters in the first season of Altered Carbon are:

Takeshi Kovacs - The last Envoy, an enhanced soldier for the Protectorate who acted as a brutal enforcer on the outer planets, before he was convicted of treason and stripped of his title and body. Returned to action by Bancroft, he is an able detective who is offered a fortune and a pardon for finding the murderer of Laurens Bancroft. He frequently hallucinates and/or recalls his dead sister and his lover/rebel leader Falconer. He uses his rebel training to survive torture and his Envoy training to combat others with military-grade skills. He slowly develops relationships with Poe, Ortega, and Elliot to aid him on his quest to find the killer and gain his freedom,

Kristin Ortega - A Bay City police detective, she was romantically-involved with her partner, Riker, whose body Kovacs is now using. She has a very religious mother and is an ethical detective who has no love of the Bancroft family or those who live the rich life in the clouds. She witnesses a person at Bancroft's fancy party who has an ability to erase themselves from digital footage, which causes her to turn to her partner Abboud and the police tech, Mickey, for aid. In seeing Kovacs in action, she begins to care for the man inside her partner's body,

Poe - An artificial intelligence who runs the motel at which Kovacs stays, he is upgraded to include amazing fighting abilities and medical skills. As a result, he begins an unconventional therapy on Lizzie Elliot within a virtual world to bring her back to life, more mentally intact - much to her father's distress. He interacts with a network of a.i.s to get Kovacs information and help the humans that he has begun to love and appreciate more than most artificial intelligences are capable of,

Vernon Elliot - A desperate father and impressive hacker, he blames Bancroft for the near-death and insanity of his daughter, Lizzie. He sent a death threat to Bancroft, which put him on Kovacs's radar. He had military training and acts as back-up for Kovacs, though he often pursues his own agenda when granted access to areas he could not otherwise gain entrance to,

Oumou Prescott - The Bancroft lawyer, she was a ground-dweller who is determined to social climb. She got a massive commission off getting Kovacs and works to keep Kovacs active and on the case. Her ethics are murky, but her goals are clear; she wants to get off the ground for good and become a part of the upper class that used to be out of reach,

Quellcrist Falconer - A rebel leader on an outlying colony, she trained Kovacs and his sister. She is an expert in manipulating the virtual constructs. She appears to Kovacs in memories and hallucinations, which gives him an emotional tether and reminders of his training at key moments,

Miriam Bancroft - Laurens's oft-neglected wife, she enjoys the lifestyle he provides her. She has her own secret clones and floating island that she longs to escape to. She suspects her husband's debauchery, but does not know the extent of it. She is incredibly protective of her children, especially the fairly maligned Isaac,

and Laurens Bancroft - One of Earth's richest, most powerful men, he can afford all of the luxuries that make him virtually immortal. As a result, he is able to survive an assassination attempt (with only 48 missing hours of memory), interacting with highly-infected ground-dwellers, and basic infirmities. He is convinced that his earlier iteration could not have killed himself (which is what most everyone else believed happened to him) and he hires Kovacs to prove that. He is depraved, but has a line he refuses to cross - so while he abuses prostitutes, he insists he has never killed anyone (including himself). He enjoys showing off the trappings of his wealth and exerting power over other people.

Joel Kinnaman plays Takeshi Kovacs (most of the time) and he plays the hardened military/rebel quite competently. James Purefoy plays Laurens Bancroft with arrogance and subtle cruelty that is familiar to anyone who watched Rome. Martha Higareda, Chris Conner, and Ato Essandoh embody the most empathetic characters quite well, providing viewers with a more human connection to the fantastic setting of Altered Carbon.

The action and special effects are well-directed throughout the first season of Altered Carbon.

Amid the violence, nudity, obligatory drug use, delightful cameos (Matthew Frewer's sudden appearance is incredible!), Altered Carbon weaves around the question of "Who killed Laurens Bancroft?" And it's hard to care about the answer given that the overlord of his corner of Earth seems to have virtual immortality (if a murder occurs on a person who can just replace their body and lose only two days worth of memory, is there truly a consequence?) and the ability to buy his way out of any problem he encounters.

For other works from the 2017 - 2018 television season, please check out my reviews of:
"Both Sides Now" - Supergirl
"The War Without, The War Within" - Star Trek: Discovery
"Past Life" - Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D.
"Honey, I Shrunk The Flash Team" - The Flash
Grace And Frankie - Season 4
"Twice Upon A Time" - Doctor Who
The End Of The F***ing World - Season 1
The Orville - Season 1
The Punisher - Season 1
Inhumans - Season 1
Stranger Things - Season 2
Rick And Morty - Season 3
"Beebo The God Of War" - Legends Of Tomorrow
"Crisis On Earth-X, Part 2" - Arrow
Twin Peaks - Season 3 ("The Return")
Game Of Thrones - Season 7
The Defenders - Season 1
Friends From College - Season 1

5/10

For other television season and episode reviews, please visit my Television Review Index Page for an organized listing!

© 2018 W.L. Swarts. May not be reprinted without permission.
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Monday, February 5, 2018

Appropriately Cheesy: Whisps Cheddar Cheese Crisps Blurs The Lines Between Cheese And Crackers!


The Good: Wonderful aroma, Great taste, Decent amount of Calcium
The Bad: Not overly healthy, Expensive.
The Basics: Whisps Cheddar Cheese Crisps are flavorful and interesting, though a little pricy for what they are.


I am very interested in how snacks have been evolving in recent years. When I was younger, there were cheese flavored crackers; now there are snacks that are basically baked cheese! The first of these snacks that I am trying are the Whisps Cheddar Cheese Crisps. These snacks remind me of what happens when I toast an asiago cheese bagel and the cheese on it falls onto the grate and gets baked there. I've scraped plenty of hot cheese off toasters like that; it never occurred to me to sell them as a snack!

That said, Whisps Cheddar Cheese Crisps are quite good and when my wife got a bag of these for me, they turned out to be quite delightful.

Basics

Cheddar Cheese Crisps Whisps, for those who are not familiar with them, are baked cheese snacks. Cello has marketed their Whisps chip line as a high quality, cheese alternative to cheese-flavored crackers. The Cheddar Cheese Crisps are a light yellow and look like little waffle crackers with quite a bit of texturing to them.

Cheddar Cheese Crisps Whisps come in a 2.12 oz. bag that is resealable The cheese crisps are round, approximately 1 1/4" in diameter and 3/16" thick

Ease Of Preparation

Whisps Cheddar Cheese Crisps are simple to consume; all you need do it open the bag and remove the crisps from it! There is no trick to eating Cheddar Cheese Crisps Whisps; they are a snack that is ready to go from the package to the mouth.

Taste

Whisps Cheddar Cheese Crisps smell mildly of cheddar. The scent is recognizable, but simple. The cheese scent is not overly powerful; it lacks the sharpness of most cheddars - it is potent-enough to be recognizable, but not much more than that.

In the mouth, Whisps Cheddar Cheese Crisps are greasy and salty and they taste like a fairly mild cheddar cheese. The flavor has the distinctive sourness of a good cheese and the sour cheddar flavor is increased as the crisp melts in the mouth. The salty, greasy flavor is enhanced as the sourness fades; the Whisps Cheddar Cheese Crisps taste exactly like what they are supposed to; actual cheddar cheese with a little crispiness to them.

The Whisps Cheddar Cheese Crisps leave a slight sour aftertaste in the mouth for a few minutes after the last of them is consumed.

Nutrition

Cheddar Cheese Crisps Whisps are all-natural, but they are not particularly healthy. The Whisps Cheddar Cheese Crisps are made entirely of cheddar cheese.

Each twenty-eight gram (23 crisp) serving of Whisps Cheddar Cheese Crisps has 170 calories, one hundred thirty of which come from fat. There is no dietary fiber. While there are 14 grams of fat and 10 grams of protein, there is an excessive 330 mg of sodium, which represents 14% of one's RDA of sodium. There is a smattering of Vitamin A and an impressive 35% RDA of Calcium in a serving. There is a dietary note that the Cheddar Cheese Crisps crackers includes milk ingredients, which prevents them from being Vegan compliant.

Storage/Clean-up

Kept in their bag, Cheddar Cheese Crisps Whisps will remain fresh for almost a year and as long as the bag is resealed, one suspects they will last for a few weeks before getting stale. I've never had to deal with issues of freshness for my Cheddar Cheese Crisps Whisps; the bag my wife got me last month had an expiration date of November 24, 2018.

Cleanup is simple as well. Cheddar Cheese Crisps Whisps are a dry food and they leave crumbs. Interestingly, these do not leave a greasy residue. Once done with consuming, simply wash your hands, because that’s a good idea no matter what. When one is done, throw out the bag and cleanup is done!

Overall

Cheddar Cheese Crisps Whisps are fun on their own or used as an augmentation to soups or salads, but they are a bit pricey for what they are.

For other cheesy snacks, check out my reviews of:
Cheez-It Cheddar Cheese Crisps Snack Crackers
North Country Cheese Garlic Dill Cheese Curds
Hippeas Vegan White Cheddar organic chickpea puffs

7.5/10

For other food and drink reviews, please click here to visit my index page!

© 2018 W.L. Swarts. May not be reprinted without permission.
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"Both Sides Now" Brings Purity To Supergirl!


The Good: Thematically smart, Moments of character, Good performances, Decent plot development
The Bad: Somewhat simple plot, Large character continuity issue
The Basics: "Both Sides Now" continues the Worldkiller plot on Supergirl by bringing Purity - and philosophical differences between the Danvers sisters - to the forefront!


The third season of Supergirl has come into perfect focus as the Reign storyline has picked up. Earth has housed Worldkillers for decades, with Reign having revealed herself and Kara Danvers having dreams of three Worldkillers coming to destroy Earth. With "Both Sides Now," Supergirl is focused on averting an impending disaster by getting to the Worldkillers before they become active and powerful.

"Both Sides Now" picks up where "For Good" (reviewed here!) left off. Kara Danvers had visions in "For Good" about the Worldkillers who came from Krypton and are moving to teaming up with Reign to bring destruction to Earth. Kara managed to identify one of the Worldkillers from her dream, Purity. "Both Sides Now" picks right up with the hunt for Purity, in her human persona of Julia.

Kara and the DEO team visit a suburban neighborhood on the quest to find the Worldkiller, Julia. The team finds her in her living room singing Lisa Loeb's song "Stay." When she feels threatened by Alex Danvers, she manifests her impressive powers, but Supergirl and J'onn J'onzz manage to subdue her. The team brings Purity back to the DEO, where Supergirl and Alex interrogate her. Alex instantly distrusts Purity, while Supergirl sees her as a victim of Kryptonian genetic manipulation. While Mon-El, Schott and J'onzz visit J'onzz's stored space ship, Samantha and Ruby Arias take a day off together.

While Mon-El attempts to get the Legion ship repowered by using a power source from J'onzz's ship, the Danvers sisters argue about the best approach to dealing with Purity. Kara is upset with Alex's cynicism, but Alex insists that compassion is not working on Purity and she is more harsh in her interrogation of the Worldkiller. But when Schott experiments on a crystal found at Julia's home, it activates Reign and gives Purity enough power to break out of her DEO prison! Outfitted with sonic dampeners by Schott, the DEO team attempts to recover Purity before Reign can recover her for her side.

"Both Sides Now" has an interesting foil of a-plot and b-plots. The a-plot puts Purity on a rise to power to destroy Earth; the b-plot finds Mon-El actually opening up with his marriage to Imra. As it turns out, Mon-El and Imra married to end a conflict between Earth and the moon Titan. The idea that Mon-El and Saturn Girl came together as an act to bring together planets plays off Purity and Reign's destructive streak surprisingly well.

The inclusion of the c-plot with Ruby being abandoned by her mother while they are out for a day dilutes the impact of Purity's arrival. Ruby is an excuse to bring Lena Luthor into the episode more, which is not a bad thing, but at this point, it is hard for viewers not to think that if all these people - Ruby, Lena, Alex and Kara - actually care so very much about Samantha Arias, they should be expressing that to one another and figuring out that Samantha is Reign. By this point, Lena Luthor is professionally worried about Samantha, Alex knows about her blackouts and all four people who supposedly love Samantha have a pretty decent timetable of incidents involving either Samantha or Reign . . . for a bunch of smart, concerned people, it seems like none are truly living up to their potential.

"Both Sides Now" is refreshing in that the character conflict between Alex and Kara is used for far more than melodrama. Kara and Alex have a philosophical difference as to how to approach Purity and the idea that compassion might be of greater use than violence in defeating the Worldkillers is a compelling one. While they are figuring the course of action out, though, episodes like "Both Sides Now" include some decent fight scenes.

On the Mon-El/Imra front, it is only in the episode's resolution that that becomes truly compelling. There is something hilarious to a super hero wondering why her spouse didn't call about an impending battle and it is well-delivered in "Both Sides Now." Chris Wood once again earns his pay by making Mon-El emotionally complicated. "Both Sides Now" does not have easy answers for the arranged marriage that developed into an actual romance.

Chyler Leigh and Melissa Benoist play the Danvers's sisters incredibly well in "Both Sides Now." Leigh and Benoist manage to infuse their fight scenes with a realistic tension that plays out like sisters who have learned to fight for decades. And when they resolve their conflict, they talk like sisters who love one another. The ease of the body language in their final scene together goes well beyond the lines; Benoist and Leigh have a wonderful realism to their performances.

Ultimately, "Both Sides Now" manages to be a decent introduction of a powerful new adversary that works well to highlight some of the strengths of the characters already in play on Supergirl!

7/10

For other television season and episode reviews, please visit my Television Review Index Page for an organized listing!

© 2018 W.L. Swarts. May not be reprinted without permission.
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