TV THIS WEEK: S.H.I.E.L.D. midseason finale, Van Helsing finale, Negan's visit on The Walking Dead and more

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Dec 5, 2016

Welcome to TV This Week! Your one-stop shop for all the cool sci-fi and fantasy stuff you should be watching over the next seven days!

This week is led by the midseason finale of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., which finally brings us the epic Ghost Rider face-off we’ve been waiting to see.

Along with all the latest Marvel action, we also have a (mostly) full slate of DC fare, with new episodes of Arrow (focused on Prometheus and the traitor in Team Arrow’s midst), Flash (where Jay Garrick comes to town and lends a hand) and Legends of Tomorrow (where the gang goes back to Chicago in the late 1920s). A new episode of The Walking Dead also hits this Sunday, picking up on the cliffhanger that sent Negan back to Alexandria (following Carl’s botched assassination attempt).

Some new episodes of Syfy’s (Corporate owner of Blastr -Ed.) originals will also air this week, including the season finale of Van Helsing, and a new installment in the near-future thriller Incorporated.


The Flash (The CW), Tuesday, 8 p.m. - “The Present”

Barry goes to Earth-3 to get advice from Jay Garrick on how to stop Savitar. Wally wants to help Barry fight Savitar and reveals that he's been training with H.R., which doesn't go over well with Barry. Meanwhile, old wound are reopened when Cisco faces his first Christmas without his brother Dante.

The Flash | The Present Trailer | The CW


Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. (ABC), Tuesday, 10 p.m. - “The Laws of Inferno Dynamics”

In the mid-season finale, S.H.I.E.L.D. teams with Ghost Rider as the fate of Los Angeles hangs in the balance.

The Big Guns – Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Season 4, Ep. 8


Van Helsing (Syfy), Friday, 10 p.m. - “It Begins”

SEASON FINALE: Vanessa learns secrets from her past and finds herself at a crossroads, wondering if she is a vampire or a human. Elsewhere, Mohamad and Sheema come to blows over their allegiances.

VAN HELSING | Season 1, Episode 13: Sneak Peek | Syfy

WORKS: Gotham City

Burton's Gotham is still my favorite Gotham, particularly the snow-covered version he brought us in Batman Returns. Sure, it doesn't look like an actual place you could go live, but in a way, it shouldn't. It's a comic book world, after all, and for me one of the things Nolan's Bat-films were lacking was this sense of design and scale. Batman is larger-than-life, so his stomping grounds should be, too. Burton's Gotham captured that perfectly for me, even if the things going on in the city sometimes didn't. 


The Walking Dead (AMC), Sunday, 9 p.m. - “Hearts Still Beating”

With members out scavenging for supplies, Negan's unwelcome visit to Alexandria continues. With tensions high, things quickly spin out of control.

THE WALKING DEAD Season 7 Episode 8 “Hearts Still Beating” Extended Promo 7x08 HD

DOESN'T WORK: Batman and guns

In this film, Batman has machine guns on his car and machine guns and missiles on his plane. Now, while I can accept that he might have other uses for these things (like cutting open the door of the chemical plant), the problem in this film is that Batman seems to be rather casual with the way he uses his deadly weaponry. In fact, he seems rather casual with death in general. He reaches out for Jack Napier, then lets him fall to his apparent death for some unspecified reason. He flat-out tells Joker he's going to kill him, and though we are talking about a straight-up revenge scenario there, he never even seems to consider putting this supercriminal in jail. Now, I grant you that in this previously unexplored movie universe, if we want to call it that, Batman has no pre-established code about guns or killing, so even if Burton is breaking comic book rules, he's not breaking the rules of his own movie world that he's just started building. Having said that, though, the film never really establishes any code for Batman. His parents died, so he dresses up like a bat and...what? Scares criminals? You don't see a lot of turning guys over to the police in this movie, and though he does certainly save the city by getting The Joker's gas away from citizens, this Batman is otherwise sort of ill-defined in his mission, and his attitude about death reflects that. 


MECH-X4 (Disney XD), Monday, 8 p.m. - “Let's Call It MECH-X4!, Part 1”

Part 1 of 2. A high school freshman discovers he has the ability to control technology with his mind and his power awakens MECH-X4, a giant fighting robot.


DOESN'T WORK: The Death of the Waynes

Most of the actual death sequence, itself, is fine (those pearls hitting the pavement is a classic image), but the way the death of Thomas and Martha Wayne is treated in the overall story just doesn't hold up at all. For one thing, it's weird to me that the film wants to sell Vicki Vale as a great journalist, then make it seem like it was hard for her to figure out what happened to Bruce Wayne's parents. Then, we come to the whole "Jack Napier did it" thing. Yes, it poisons the Batman/Joker dynamic, but it also just doesn't make sense in the context of the other characters. It's well established in the film that the Gotham Police know who Jack Napier is, as a career criminal and major player in the Grissom crime organization. It's also well-established that Batman's a detective with lots of resources who seems to know a lot about Gotham's seedier side, and a lot about what the Gotham police department is up to. So, in this film, the World's Greatest Detective, who is driven to do everything he does by the death of his parents, couldn't have pieced together that Jack Napier killed his parents at any time in the preceeding two decades or so? He had to wait for a catchphrase to trigger his memory of the worst moment of his entire life, the one he obsessively leveraged into a crime-fighting career? Yeah, I don't buy that. 


People of Earth (TBS), Monday, 9 p.m. - “Last Day on Earth”

Gerry bids adieu to StarCrossed while counting down to his own anticipated "experience." In addition, Jonathan Walsh shares important information with Ozzie, and Don and Kelly go on a date.

Mars (National Geographic), Monday, 9 p.m. - “Power”

In 2037, four years after Mars colonization, a storm threatens the outpost. In reality, Antarctica serves as a site for a simulated human settlement.

Timeless (NBC), Monday, 10 p.m. - “Last Ride of Bonnie & Clyde”

The time-traveling trio are on the run with the Barrow gang, and they must uncover Flynn's target in the Depression-era South by gaining the trust of criminal duo Bonnie and Clyde. Meanwhile, Agent Christopher pursues a lead in the present day, and the trio risk getting caught in the crossfire.

Timeless 1x09 Promo "Last Ride of Bonnie and Clyde" (HD)

DOESN'T WORK: The fight scenes

Michael Keaton has a lot of cool moments as Batman, but when it comes to actually just fighting people, things get a little stiff. Some of that probably has to do with the suit, but it also has to do with Tim Burton's strengths as a director. He can create majestic sets and beautiful visuals, but when it comes to fight choreography, he's lacking, a bit. He's great at making Batman look menacing and mysterious, and the film has some nice moments featuring exactly that, but fighting Batman doesn't deliver many thrills. Burton does get points for going light on the shaky cam, though. 


MECH-X4 (Disney XD), Tuesday, 8 p.m. - “Let's Call It MECH-X4!, Part 2”

Part 2 of 2. A high school freshman discovers he has the ability to control technology with his mind and his power awakens MECH-X4, a giant fighting robot.

The Flash (The CW), Tuesday, 8 p.m. - “The Present”

See more in our “Highlights” section above.

Teen Wolf (MTV), Tuesday, 9 p.m. - “Relics”

Scott and Liam protect the lacrosse team from the Ghost Riders; and Lydia finds clues about what happened to Stiles.

Teen Wolf 6x04 Promo "Relics" (HD) Season 6 Episode 4 Promo

DOESN'T WORK: The climax

I'm all for watching Batman chase The Joker up a rickety bell tower, but the way the scene plays out between them, apart from a few good lines ("You wouldn't hit a guy with glasses on, would ya?"), just adds to the already problematic "You made me, I made you" relationship these characters are given in this world. I might not have a problem with it if it weren't for my love of Batman comics, but as it is, I just can't ignore what this does to the Batman/Joker dynamic, especially when it's been done better in Batman: The Animated Series and, of course, The Dark Knight


Scream Queens (Fox), Tuesday, 9 p.m. - “Rapunzel, Rapunzel”

A new patient who has a link to Dean Munsch's past checks into the institute with the intention of winning her back; a jealous Brock further questions his relationship with Chanel; and Chamberlain and Zayday try to learn the origins of the Green Meanie killer.

Scream Queens 2x08 Promo "Rapunzel, Rapunzel" (HD) Season 2 Episode 8 Promo

WORKS: Crazy comic book setpieces

Say what you will about Tim Burton and his often murky relationship with superheroes, but when he really wants to, he can pull of some of the most comic booky stuff in movies. For all its story flaws, Batman '89 and its sequel still feel like comic book movies in ways that almost no other piece of superhero cinema does, and a big reason why is Burton's commitment to the absurd scope of the superhero genre. From Joker's gigantic deadly balloons to the ruined bell tower in the heart of Gotham, it's a landscape of setpieces that could've easily come out of a Batman book. 


Aftermath (Syfy), Tuesday, 10 p.m. - “Where the Dead Men Lost Their Bones”

The Copelands resort to desperate measures to save a dying family member.

AFTERMATH | Season 1, Episode 11: Sneak Peek | Syfy


Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. (ABC), Tuesday, 10 p.m. - “The Laws of Inferno Dynamics”

See more in our “Highlights” section above.


Arrow (The CW), Wednesday, 8 p.m. - “What We Leave Behind”

After Prometheus attacks Curtis, Oliver realizes Prometheus knows all of Team Arrow's secret identities and is planning to come for them one by one. Meanwhile, Felicity and Det. Malone discover a clue that links Prometheus to Oliver's past.

Arrow | What We Leave Behind Trailer | The CW


Frequency (The CW), Wednesday, 9 p.m. - “Gray Line”

Raimy and Frank make a startling discovery about the Nightingale. Meanwhile, Frank's blindsided by an unexpected betrayal.

Frequency 1x09 Promo "Gray Line" (HD) Winter Finale


Vikings (History Channel), Wednesday, 9 p.m. - “The Vision”

Ragnar's difficulties raising a crew for the voyage to Wessex leaves Kattegat locals admonishing him that the gods have deserted him. Meanwhile, Bjorn's dream to explore the Mediterranean is within reach.

Vikings 4x12 Promo "The Vision" (HD) Season 4 Episode 12 Promo


Incorporated (Syfy), Wednesday, 10 p.m. - “Downsizing”

Ben scrambles to deflect suspicion after the Spiga data breach; Laura offers to help when her mother's policies evict an innocent family; Theo is forced into an important cage fight.

INCORPORATED | Season 1: 2074 is Crazy Part 1 | Syfy


DC's Legends of Tomorrow (The CW), Thursday, 8 p.m. - “The Chicago Way”

The Legends travel to 1927 Chicago and quickly realize they have been set up by Eobard Thawne, Damien Darhk and the newest member of the Legion of Doom, Malcolm Merlyn. While everyone is trying to fix what they think is the mission, Jax encourages a reluctant Stein to share his secret with the other Legends. But Stein is taken captive and Sara must decide whether to stop the Legion of Doom or save Stein. Meanwhile, Rory gets an unexpected visitor and isn't sure how to handle it.

DC's Legends of Tomorrow | The Chicago Way Trailer | The CW
Ready Player One


Supernatural (The CW), Thursday, 9 p.m. - “Lotus”

Lucifer's search for power and influence in a vessel lands him in the White House where he the president unknowingly makes a deal with the devil. But Sam, Dean, Castiel, Crowley and Rowena band together to fight the Dark Lord.

Supernatural | LOTUS Trailer | The CW


Falling Water (USA), Thursday, 10 p.m. - “The Well”

Burton pursues the Woman in Red; Sabine has issues with Taka, who learns more about the Green; and Tess and Bill meet a familiar face while following a lead about the boy.

Falling Water 1x08 Promo "The Well" (HD)


A Haunting (TLC), Friday, 8 p.m. - “Back From the Dead: Ghosts of War”

In an enhanced episode, a menacing Nazi soldier seeks vengeance for his death and threatens an innocent couple, who end up trying to make peace with his ghost.

LEGO Frozen Northern Lights (Disney XD), Friday, 8 p.m. - “Episode 1”

Anna, Elsa, Olaf and Kristoff try to restore the glimmer of the Northern Lights before it disappears. Part 1 of 4.

LEGO Disney Frozen Northern Lights – Official Trailer | Disney


MacGyver (CBS), Friday, 8 p.m. - “Pliers”

A prodigy is kidnapped in Mac and Bozer's hometown and Mac tries to rescue him with only a set of pliers and a speaker wire.

MacGyver Season 1 Episode 10 "Pliers"


The Vampire Diaries (The CW), Friday, 8 p.m. - “The Next Time I Hurt Somebody, It Could Be You”

Stefan's Christmas Eve dinner with Caroline is crashed by Damon and Sybil, and things quickly take a dark and twisted turn. Meanwhile, in a series of flashbacks to Stefan's past, Cade's attempt to entice him with his mysterious agenda leaves Stefan faced with an unimaginable decision.

The Vampire Diaries | The Next Time I Hurt Somebody, It Could Be You Trailer | The CW


A Haunting (TLC), Friday, 9 p.m. - “Living Nightmare”

A woman who was tormented as a child has to deal with an old spirit that resurfaces to haunt her family.

Z Nation (Syfy), Friday, 9 p.m. - “Duel”

Addy is being pummeled with whatever "The Man" can throw at her, while Lucy does the same to "The Man.”

Z NATION | Season 3, Episode 13: Sneak Peek | Syfy

Star Wars: Dark Empire, 1991-1992

This was one of the first series to come out of Dark Horse’s early Star Wars deal, and it’s still one of the best. Tom Veitch’s story imagining what would happen if Palpatine had survived, and if Luke Skywalker temporarily turned to the dark side, was an extremely compelling tale. It also brings back Boba Fett and introduces Han and Leia’s son.


The Exorcist (Fox), Friday, 9 p.m. - “Chapter Nine: 162”

A potential tragedy surfaces right before Pope Sebastien arrives and Marcus has to intervene. Also: Tomas gets a life-changing opportunity, but his past mistakes may stop it from materializing, and a new problem threatens the Rance family.

Father Tomas & Father Marcus Struggle With Casey's Demon | Season 1 Ep. 8 | THE EXORCIST

Star Wars: Infinities, 2002-2004

These are pretty far outside of the canon (even more so in the wake of the Disney/Lucas deal), but are still a great read. This miniseries tells an alternate version of each original trilogy film, jumping off from a point of divergence that sends the story in a different direction. For example: What would’ve happened if Luke froze to death in the blizzard on Hoth. or what if Luke fails to destroy the Death Star? Great questions, and they’re answered here.


Van Helsing (Syfy), Friday, 10 p.m. - “It Begins”

See more in our “Highlights” action above.


Star Wars Rebels (Disney XD), Saturday, 8:30 p.m. - “Visions and Voices”

Ezra is haunted by visions of Maul and journeys across the galaxy to engage in a strange ritual to sever his connection to Maul.

Star Wars Rebels  Visions and Voices Preview 1

Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic, 2006-2010

No, not the video games - the comics. This run, themed in the same era as the game of the same name, follows a Jedi on the run after being framed for murder. It takes a unique angle on introducing the seedier underbelly of the Star Wars universe, while tying in to the larger mythos of the Jedi. It ran for 50 issues and told a great story all the way through.


Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency (BBC America), Saturday, 9 p.m. - “Two Sane Guys Doing Normal Things”

The team face a final battle to save Lydia Spring.


Ash vs. Evil Dead (Starz), Sunday, 8 p.m. - “Second Coming”

The 10th episode of the second season of Ash vs. Evil Dead.

The Librarians (TNT), Sunday, 8 p.m. - “And the Self-Fulfilling Prophecy”

Baird sees a vision of her own death at the hands of an otherworldly assassin, so she sets out to stop the prophecy from coming true.

The Librarians 3x04 Promo "And the Self-Fulfilling Prophecy" (HD)

Star Wars Tales, 1999-2005

Among Dark Horse fans, this is revered as one of the greatest (and strangest) comics in the catalog. Each issue could vary wildly, and bundled in-canon and out-of-canon stories together, though they were often tied to a certain character or theme. if you’re looking for some ambitious, weird, awesome and all-around great Star Wars stories, this is where to start.


The Walking Dead (AMC), Sunday, 9 p.m. - “Hearts Still Beating”

See more in our “Highlights” section above.

The Last Man on Earth (Fox), Sunday, 9:30 p.m. - “If You're Happy and You Know It”

Phil hopes to cheer Carol up by treating her to a honeymoon vacation; Lewis' aviation pursuits prove to be a success.

The Last Man on Earth 3x09 Promo "If You're Happy and You Know It" (HD) Fall Finale

Star Wars: Purge, 2005

This one-shot focuses on Darth Vader in his Jedi-hunting prime, and is among the darker stories set in Lucas’ universe. If you know the canon and the era, this one take place after Order 66, with the Empire hunting down all remnants of the Jedi. Not surprisingly, Vader is a total bad-ass — and it’s worth reading just for that utter bad-assdom.


Elementary (CBS), Sunday, 10 p.m. - “It Serves You Right to Suffer”

Shinwell is framed for a gang killing, and Holmes and Watson have just three days to find the real murderer before he is arrested and sent back to jail