For a few reasons, this has been a long time coming- first because I have let my focus on writing for the website slip (okay, so i stopped pretty much completely for the summer, and have focused more intently on the podcast. Secondly, it feels like it has been forever since I got to watch and review episodes of Vixen. I hope you are all up to date with watching this series, because I will go ahead and talk frankly (see: Spoilers) about this episode and the rest of the season. If, for some reason, you are reading this without having seen the first season, CWSeed has made a supercut of season one, clocking in at just over 30 minutes, where you can binge the WHOLE first season in the time it takes to watch one half hour TV show with commercials. So, if you are up to speed, lets activate our jaguar powers and speed on into the review- and if you HAVEN'T seen season one, go watch it now, and i'll move at the speed of a sea turtle until you get back...
I really loved that season two opens with a flash forward cold open, one that we don't even touch back on in the first episode. We know there is still more big stuff to come, and we've barely scratched the surface in this first episode. I thought that the animation-style adopted in during the presentation on the totems was a really neat bit of style change for the scene- it really helped me to see things clearly, and it allowed me to really feel like I was seeing the paintings and images in the presentation come to life (which, I am sure, was the intention). So, as for an opening one-two punch- it worked pretty darn well.
From there, we see more of Mari (aka Vixen, if you forgot) confronting the man who was bribed into offering her up to be kidnapped (during last season- by a character voiced by Jada Pinkett Smith). I really liked the way she was unafraid to call him out on what he did wrong: because what he did WAS wrong, and motivated by selfish reasons, namely money. Plus their conversation just confirms Mari's familial connection to the totems, and her mother's involvement, at least on some level, to most of what is going on here.
Then, things shift- Mari gets a message from Cisco Ramon, and is enlisted to help Flash and Firestorm take down Weather Wizard. I really liked the look of Firestorm, who really looks like a faithful rendition of his Legends of Tomorrow counterpart- complete with the voice actors reprising their roles, to boot. As well as Grant Gustin's Flash making an appearance as well. But this is also where one of my main grievances is with this episode- Cisco's performance is flat to say the least, and just poorly directed. It felt like this was the kind of work Natalie Portman put out in the Star Wars prequels, because we know from watching The Flash that Carlos Valdes' acting is great and his energy is palpable and infectious on screen. But he just felt off here. Flash and Firestorm worked quite well, which was an improvement over last season of Vixen, where Flash's dialogue felt very stilted and rough.
But beyond one character's decidedly underwhelming voiceover, the episode worked really well. the visuals were really dynamic, both in the more "animated" style adopted briefly in the beginning, to the action-packed sequences in the cold open and the last third of the episode. I really liked the diverse animals that Mari tapped into this episode, and I hope that this is just the beginning of her powers beginning to grow and expand into more unique animal avatars.
This is an awesome series, and I still cannot get over the fact that this entire series is available, FREE, 100% free: no account sign up, no ANYTHING. if you have an internet connection, you have access to free, high quality DC animated programming (plus- episodes of Who's Line and other shows on CW Seed; but that is neither here nor there), so there is really no excuse NOT to watch this show. Because, if you are reading this, then you have to be using some kind of internet connection, and that means you have access to all episodes of Vixen!
So, do yourself a favor, if you haven't already, and GO WATCH this show! I am really glad the series is including other characters from the DC/CW Universe, so that it can just act as a primer to get me pumped for the new episodes of Legends of Tomorrow (that premier starting THIS WEEK!) that I enjoy watching with my wife.
This series has been a TON of fun to watch, and I am so glad I got on board with this series when I did. if you haven't already, you should, and if you've been watching this show from the beginning, then you know what I'm talking about!