Review – SuperMansion S2 “School Me Once”

With Dr Devizo out of the picture for now and Rex’s secrets secured it’s on to new business for The League of Freedom. School Me Once drops everyone into a flashback of Rex and his younger years working with Zenith The Earth Mother. Flash forward to present day and Portia / Zenith is ripping him a new one.

Season 2 really has no love for Rex and the rest of the members are feeling the sting of the public pressure in School Me Once. We see tales of manipulation, mythical creatures, tales of yesteryear and Jewbot studying the stereotypical college experience. The cast moves to spring back from their downward spirals including Cooch who breaks off from her depression over Brad and discovers a new role to explore.

Even with such a splintered storyline the SuperMansion team allocates enough time for almost everyone to navigate their adventure in the episode. Saturn and Jewbot seem to take a hit on their story as suddenly things go from Thousand Island to flag pole butt in a hurry. Ranger falls into the like minds of his era with the college conservatives and mostly re-lives his youth through the episode.

 

The animation team does a solid job with modeling and gestures but they do manage to shine well with the team action sequence. The camera sweep along with the action create a sequence that goes beyond the norm for the show and it’s a rewarding experience as it’s not static while it goes on.

School Me Once is obviously an important step in the storyline but the Saturn section feels forced, having Jewbot wanting to understand and experience a frat makes sense because of his nature but the rest doesn’t hold well. It’s a short segment though and the rest of the episode holds the experience up to introduce a new key character in Portia /  Zenith.

Story:★★★½☆ 
Animation:★★★★★ 
Acting:★★★★½ 
Overall:★★★★½ 

Review – Spartacus Vengeance Episode 2 – A Place In This World

And…. we’re back with episode 2 of Spartacus Vengeance – A Place In This World.

We left Spartacus just finishing a lesson in leadership, having to watch for the sake of his people who joined him over his own personal desire for retribution. Episode 2 starts on a different foot, instead it shows us the story to a young man in the mines, trying to fight for his life against an ogre of an opponent. As we know from Blood and Sand, the mines are a kill or be killed environment so it’s no surprise to see such a brutal demonstration. There is a twist though, Titus Batiatus returns from the grave for what will be a long flashback through the episode.

The followers take on a new goal, the search for Naevia is on and the group will stop at nothing to see that fulfilled… well at least Crixus will stop at nothing. Fans of his character will get some excitement seeing his drive igniting again as he pushes with determination to find his lost love, each Dominus gets a target on their back during this search and Crixus struggles to control his rage. Spartacus and the others use this time to recoup and take pleasure, even then the times are not so simple as social clashes continue with the Gauls and the limited numbers of their men at hand. As the first episode brought viewers to see the struggle and lack of organization, this episode shows that it will take more than slight collaboration to keep them together in this fight.

The life of the Romans gets just as complicated, Ilithyia has had her mind take her elsewhere, traveling to another, is it a slip or is it a tease? Either way this will continue to be the least of her problems as Lucretia continues to win the favor and interest Glaber in her reborn state, so much so that she’s able to call to the gods on his behalf for assistance. Add on the struggle of Glaber to recruit men in his venture to capture Spartacus and his plea to the gods gets greater understanding, his inherited title through marriage still haunts him as he tries to draw favor and men from those around him.

Spoilers for those unable to wait:

Show Episode 2 Spoilers »

Spartacus haunts Glaber in deeper ways, as Ilithyia goes to bathe she finds her mind occupied with the night spent with Spartacus that masked night, one has to wonder what this indicates around the talk of her child. Does this mean that Spartacus has sabotaged his life in another way? Hopefully we’ll find out this season as it all unfolds. Even more questions will rise around Lucretia in this episode and around the messages she tells, will her memory allow her to claim Ilithyia’s child as well?The young man in the story is a reflection to Oenomaus as a boy in the mines, brutal and raw striving to live to the next day. It lightly touches upon his history with Titus and slowly unfolds to present day as he battles in the mines yet again, without master and fighting for old glory and alliances in his past. His life yet again runs without order, simply fighting to fight in the name of Titus back then when his view was untainted of the house of Batiatus.

Lucretia takes extra notice in this episode, her actions and life are driving tensions to the limit with Ilithyia, she can hardly resist the ability to strike her down during the sacrificial ceremony, you can almost feel the trance she falls into watching the event boil down. To bury what she thought was finished in the slaughter before. With Ashur playing up new tricks again she becomes a wildcard controlled by small notes we’re not able to view.

The story pushes forward in episode 2 into many branches, just as everything condensed into a single moment at the end of Blood and Sand it’s all exploding again as so many mysteries lay open. One thing is for certain, this is going to be a hell of a ride this season with so many wildcards in play. While I did include spoilers of this episode I did leave some bits out that you’ll just have to tune in to see, or cheat and wait until our Episode 3 review goes up and simply run from there.

Visually the episode takes a shot above episode 1, the moods, lighting and settings are all more developed. The action sequences feel seamless where they stuttered before, the transitions are clean and the slow motion sequences are balanced in their use to showcase the space they battle in and everyone involved not just one figure. There’s a lot of growth happening this season for the entire crew and it shows as they find their rhythm again. The engaging sequences are a draw to any fan of the series or newcomer, you get the tension struggle and thirst for blood throughout. The breaking of the stories is a welcome twist, the series often thrived on everyone being at their worst for intent, hopefully we will see that rise in the coming episodes.

Story:★★★★½ 
Cinematography:★★★★½ 
Dialog:★★★★☆ 
Overall:★★★★½