The Promised Neverland Season Two Episode Two Review: The Truth of This World.

4 stars
After a great start to the second season of The Promised Neverland, episode two continues the quality of the last, delivering plenty of new information for the story, and formally introducing two new and interesting characters. 
These two characters are Mujika (Atsumi Tanezaki) and Sonju (Shin’ichirō Kamio), two demons who, mysteriously, do not want to eat Emma, Ray and the other Grace Field children. 
Directed by Ayako Kurata, the episode follows the kids getting to know these two demons, their way of life, and eventually learning the truth of their world, or rather worlds. 
I say worlds because Sonju reveals later on in the episode that the demon and human worlds are split because of a 1000 year old promise.
Humans and demons had been in constant state of war before this, and the promise not only separated their worlds but allowed peace between them, at the cost of many sacrifices because those humans who were left behind are now breed, butchered and fed to the demons as livestock, in various farms.
This is a startling revelation that makes Emma and Ray cheer for joy, much to Sonju’s, and I’m sure the audience’s, shock. 
The reason for their excitement is because, even though they are in a terrible situation, Emma and Ray now know that there is a place for them in the human world, they just have to get there. 
Although, this will obviously be a tough ordeal because, as Sonju and Mujika point out, they are an exception, not eating the children for religious reasons, and most demons who gladly gobble up the Grace Field kids.   
Along with this dark piece of information, however, there is also humor, with a scene of Gilda comedically coming at Emma with a fire in her eyes, demanding that she not push herself until she faints again. 
This humorous confrontation then transfers to Ray, who is told by the younger children that he keeps trying to die, not helped by Sonju comedically cutting in to say that Ray definitely would have died if he hadn’t saved him. 
Sadly, the entire episode can’t all be jokes because we have to get into the depressing stuff again, as Emma loses another piece of her innocence, when she asks to go hunting with Sonju. 
Emma manages to kill a bird for food, with Sonju’s guidance, and I absolutely love how this scene  was framed to mirror Conny’s death from the very first episode, with the falling water droplet. 
Even more of a parallel is when Sonju has Emma perform the act of Gupna on the bird, draining its blood with the vampiric plant Vina, again, just like Conny. 
This tragic scene is immediately followed by the cliffhanger of the episode, as Emma’s face is revealed, looking extremely depressed, despite her claims that she is fine, showing how she has lost more of her innocence. 
Given how long of a journey she and the Grace Field children have, if they are to ever reach the safety of the human world, it is very likely she will lose more of it. 
All in all, episode two is another enjoyable episode of The Promised Neverland  season two, and it will be interesting to see if this quality can be maintained, or even grow, as we get closer to my favorite arc of the story. 

Attack on Titan, Season Four, Episode Two, Midnight Train Review: Marley Arc Gets Uprising Arc Restyle.

3 and a half stars
Coming into the final season of Attack on Titan, I wondered if Mappa would cut or rearrange certain scenes from the Manga, like Wit did with the Uprising Arc, in order to make the story flow better.
Well, this question has been confirmed with the season’s second episode, “Midnight Train”, which adapts Chapters 93 and some of 94 and 95, skipping over Reiner’s flashback, leaving that for next week.
Whether this rearranging of scenes will be problematic or not remains to be seen with future episodes but, so far, it appears to be working well if “Midnight Train” is any indication.
Directed by Daisuke Tokudo, the episode starts off by adapting Chapter 93, although having various cuts throughout.
Beginning with the meeting between the Marleyan generals, the first scene highlights once again how Marley is falling behind other countries technologically because of their reliance on Titans in warfare.
This leads to Zeke suggesting they attempt to retake the Founding Titan to buy Marley time to catch up, saying that he will do so because he should be the one to bring an end to the plans of Grisha Jeager, as his former son.
While also revealing that Zeke has one year left in his term, this scene also unfortunately highlighted my main criticism with the episode, it’s animation.
While certainly not bad, it did have a few questionable moments, like with Zeke in this scene where his face looks oddly emotionless, with only his mouth being animated to move.
This odd animation continued in the following scene when Zeke and Colt are walking up some stairs and when Udo starts talking about the threats Eldians face.
Apparently, these two moments were made using rotoscoping, which is an animation technique.
It is used during other scenes in the episode and those all look great.
However, these two scenes with Colt and Zeke, and Udo look a little janky compared to the rest of “Midnight Train’s” animation and they pulled me out of the story for a brief moment.
Still, these are only small instances and the technique usually looks good.
Besides, the Colt and Zeke, and Udo scenes are both well done in their own right, providing great humor with Zeke’s ass wiping technique gag, and also tragically revealing the full extent of Reiner’s PTSD when he imagines Gabi, Falco, Udo and Zofia as Bertholdt, Annie, Marvel and Porco from his training days.
Speaking of Porco (Toshiki Masuda), we finally got to meet him and Pieck (Manami Numakura) this episode.
Both of their voice actors do great jobs as the characters, with Pieck being the Cart Titan and one of my favourite new characters introduced during the Marley Arc, and Porco being Marcel’s brother and the new Jaw Titan, meaning he ate Freckled Ymir to get her power.
That’s right, Freckled Ymir still dies off screen.
It’s disappointing that we still don’t have a death scene for her but it’s not like I expected anything better for her character at this point anyway.
Following these scenes, we get the titular train the episode title is referencing as we see the Eldian Warriors on one, returning to their home internment zone of Liberio, resulting in the humorous scene of Colt lifting up Gabi so everyone, including Gabi herself, can cheer for her.
Yet, there also comes a serious scene here, as Falco criticizes Reiner for apparently allowing his cousin to inherit his Armoured Titan, thus shortening her life span.
Reiner uses this moment to test Falco, resulting in two interesting reveals.
One, being that Falco’s last name is actually Grice, the same name of the man who was with Grisha in the Eldia Restorationists.
And two, that Reiner wants Falco to surpass Gabi and inherit his Armoured Titan so he can protect her from the dark future they face.
With this, the adaption of Chapter 93 comes to an end and we get a merged adaptation of parts from Chapters 94 and 95.
Starting with the Warriors reaching Liberio, we get some interesting new scenes of Porco and Pieck interacting with Gabi and Falco, acting as older siblings looking out for them.
I really liked this addition because it helps make their characters more sympathetic, also helped by all of the shots of all the Warriors reuniting with their families.
We have Zeke greeting his grandparents, Gabi hugging her parents, Reiner awkwardly reuniting with his mother, and an anime original scene of Pieck’s father coughing as he welcomes her, which introduces his illness a lot earlier than the manga does, which is a pretty cool addition.
Along with this heat warming scene, however, we also get a reminder of how war is constantly on the horizon, as the Marleyan, Koslow, scares a bunch of traumatized Eldian soldiers suffering from PTSD.
This also allows us to see Falco’s good side because he is kind enough to help one of these soldiers, whose armband has been placed on the wrong arm.
The next scene proves as a great contrast to the horrors of war because, while the traumatized soldiers screamed and fall when Koslow yells “Boom!” at them, Gabi yells “Boom!” with glee to her family, showing the extent of her indoctrination in Marleyan propaganda.
This indoctrination is shown further by Reiner having to act like the Eldians on Paradis Island are devils, comedically turning something as innocent as Sasha eating a potato into something monstrous.
On an unfortunate note, many anime only viewers seem to have misinterpreted this scene as Reiner trying to fool himself into believing this, when he is actually trying to subtly tell his family that those on Paradis are no different from them.
This may have been lost in translation because of the removal of Reiner smiling under his hand, so I wish they had kept that.
One great addition is the a brief moment that comes after this scene, as one of the traumatized soldiers is shown killing themselves, again showing the harm the Marleyans are doing by forcing the Eldians to fight their battles for them.
I love how Mappa is adding all of these scenes to show the horrors of war.
From here, the episode goes into adapting parts of Chapter 95, with the meeting between Zeke and the other Warriors, as Zeke explains their plan to take the Founding Titan with help from the Tyber family, the holders of the Warhammer Titan.
Here, we get another indication that Reiner is now fully aware of the Marleyan propaganda and indoctrination, as he realizes Zeke is hinting that the room is bugged and saves Porco, who is voicing his dissent, from endangering himself by interupting him.
With this moment, the episode ends as Reiner wonders if he really has to go back to Paradis, setting up the next episode to adapt all of his flashbacks, which is kind of worrying.
I have heard leaks about the pacing of this next episode and it makes me scared the writers could cut a lot of pivotal moments for Reiner’s character.
Fingers crossed they can do these chapters justice with just a single episode.
Back to the episode itself, “Midnight Train” is a solid adaptation that is brought down slightly by its occasionally janky animation and cut content.
Still a good episode though and I hope everything turns out alight for the next one.

His Dark Materials, Episode Two, The Idea of North, Review. Don’t be Molded Lyra.

4 stars
“You must let me mold you” Ruth Wilson’s Mrs Coulter tells Dafne Keen’s Lyra over lunch, serving as the the first of many warnings signs of the possessive and almost psychopathic behavior she displays.
Again, directed by Tom Hooper and written by Jack Thorne, the second episode of His Dark Materials “The Idea of North” focuses on the growing cat and mouse game between Lyra and Mrs Coulter as Lyra slowly comes to realise her true intentions.
Having seen the first adaptation, I knew Coulter would not turn out to be a good person and Wilson does a great job portraying her complex personality and the abusive bond she forms with Lyra.

coulter and lyra 2.jpg
Coulter’s friendship with Lyra quickly turns volatile and Lyra refuses to be molded.

Although, Coulter is shown to care for Lyra somewhat as seen by her crying outside of Lyra’s door, however, she is not above hurting Lyra to get her to act the way she want, as seen by her having her daemon attack Pan to hurt Lyra.
Through this it is made clear that if Coulter cannot convince Lyra to be molded then she will do it by force.
This manipulative trait is also made clear through how she acts kind to the abducted children like Roger and Billy (Tyler Howitt), making them believe the letters they write will get to their loved ones, only for her to burn them when she leaves with a satisfied look on her face.
Such a look is also apparent when she tortures Lyra through Pan before accidentally revealing that Lord Asriel is her father, and this reveal does seem to bring a temporary moment of humanity to her, the only moment in the episode that her affection for Lyra seems genuine.
Basically, what I am saying is that Wilson steals the episode with her great performance as the manipulative Coulter.

evil coulter
Wilson pulls off Coulter’s abusive character perfectly, portraying both viciousness and weakness.

That is not to sell Dafne Keen short, though, because she is also amazing as Lyra slowly coming to the realization of how cruel Coulter is and refusing to be molded.
This results in great scenes like when Lyra throws her knowledge of Dust in Coulter’s face.
However, her big revelation about Coulter being connected to the Gobblers does not come through her own investigation but through a random journalist named Adele (Georgina Campbell) informing her, leading to her escape.
Said journalist is then immediately captured and killed by Carlo Boreal (Ariyon Bakare) when he crushes her daemon in his hand.
Seriously, though, how unlucky is Adele to have a butterfly for a daemon?
All it would take is for someone to accidentally step on it and she’d die.
Talk about bad luck.

Adèle_Starminster
Adele is killed very quickly upon being discovered showing the brutality of the Magisterium. 

As well as killing the journalist, Boreal plays another interesting role in the episode by traveling to another dimension which appears to be our own.
He is looking for the man Asriel claimed had been murdered in the first episode by presenting his head, which Boreal now believes was not him.
Boreal hires someone to track the man down, showing his snake daemon to appease him.
Now that I think about that, though, it is kind of funny how the villains of this series are all telegraphed by their stereotypically evil daemons.
A snake, a bug, a lizard, what’s next a rat?
Anyway, other characters that the episode focuses on are the Gyptians whose hunt for the missing children remains unsuccessful, although they are getting closer.
Sadly, Lyra now looks to be one of the children they have to save because she is kidnapped by the Gobblers at the end of the episode after escaping from Coulter.
All in all, I found “The Idea of North” to be just as good of an episode as the premiere episode, making His Dark Materials look to be another hit show this year, quality wise.

Watchmen Episode Two, Martial Feats of Comanche Horsemanship, Review: “Friends in High Places” Indeed.

4 stars
The mystery deepens in the second episode of Watchmen “Martial Feats of Comanche Horsemanship”, with Angela beginning her investigation into the death of Chief Crawford.
Her prime suspect is the 105-year-old Will who claims to have “strung up your police chief”, despite looking physically incapable of doing so.
Directed again by Nicole Kassel, episode two dives head first into the interactions between Angela and Will as the costumed detective tries to learn the truth from him.
An interesting point to note is that, as far as I can remember, Will never outright says he murdered Crawford.
Again, he merely states that he “strung up your police chief.”
So, while he may have had a hand in hand in hanging Crawford, he may not be behind his murder.
Although, Looking Glass later says Crawford did die of asphyxiation, likely from being hung, so I may be wrong about that.
Or maybe he was killed elsewhere before being hung.
Either way, Crawford’s murder is not the only mystery surrounding Will because it is revealed that he is Angela’s grandfather at the end of the episode.
One thing I did find interesting was that it was mentioned that Will has two descendants.
This means, along with Angela, there is one other character who is descended from him.
Following the realization that Will is her grandfather and realizing he will not cooperate, she decides to take him in, ignoring his claim of having “friends in high places.”
This comes back to bite her when, after putting Will in her car, a magnet descends from the sky and picks up the car with Will in it, flying off.
“Friends in high places” indeed.

Will leaves.jpg
Will disappears with a smile as he is rescued from Angela’s custody. 

The scenes between Angela and Will are great as they continue to build in suspense and anticipation for the reveal of the conspiracy Will claims is currently happening in Tulsa.
The only weak moment came in the aftermath of Crawford’s murder, where Angela lets out a cry of anguish that seemed kind of artificial to me.
Aside from this small moment, though, their interactions are very good.
There are already multiple theories surrounding Will, including one that he was Hooded Justice who appears on a TV show called “American Hero Story”in a brief yet interesting scene that speaks to Angela’s character.
Supporting this theory, is the opening scene where Will’s father is fighting in World War One and sees a German pamphlet that urges black soldiers to come over to their side where they will be treated fairly, and Hooded Justice was thought to be German.
Speaking of theories, I also like the one that Crawford was the Seventh Calvary member who shot Angela.
In a flashback of the White Night, Angela is shot and about to be killed by one of their members but then it cuts to her waking up in the hospital with Crawford beside her.
However, none of these scenes are my favourite of the episode.
That award goes to the scene where we get to see Ozymandias’ play.
This moment proves to be the most confusing yet interesting scene in the show so far, with his production of Dr Manhattan’s transformation being particularly disturbing and also somewhat comical.
We watch as he literally burns his assistant Mr Phillips to death to simulate Dr Manhattan’s transformation, upon which it is revealed that all of his assistants are clones.

Ozymandias.jpg
Watching Ozymandias burn one of his clone servants to death, only for the next clone to eagerly take their place, is both disturbing and oddly comedic.

Why Ozymandias has all these clones and what exactly he intends to achieve by making this play for himself is uncertain.
One thing is clear, though, and that is that he has been deeply affected by his last meeting with Dr Manhattan, remembering his last words to him before he departed, “nothing ever ends.”
I am probably looking forwards to Ozymandias’ scenes the most in future episodes as Jeremy Irons is doing a great job.
Other notable scenes in this episode include the discovery that Crawford may have been in the Ku Klux Klan, and the touching moment where Looking Glass reveals that, despite seeming completely cold, he is actually crying under his mask.
Overall, I would say that “Martial Feats of Comanche Horsemanship” is another great episode of Watchmen that, while not as enjoyable as the first episode, deepens the mystery and creates more interesting questions for the show to answer.
Let’s just hope those answers will be satisfying.

My Hero Academia Season Four, Episode Two, Overhaul Review: Bloody Beginning, Hilarious Ending.

4 and a half stars
Well, it’s fair to say that season four of My Hero Academia has officially begun with its second episode, “Overhaul.”
The first episode of the season, “The Scoop on U.A Class 1-A”, was little more than filler designed to catch viewers up on the story so far.
“Overhaul” continues that story, delivering a great episode that has an intense beginning and a gut-bustingly funny ending.
After reading the events of the beginning in the manga, I could not wait to see it animated and it did not disappoint.
The new villain Overhaul’s meeting with the League of Villains sets him up magnificently as the big bad of this arc, with his charismatic personality, intelligence, and threat level.
Both the sub and dub voice actors, Kenjirô Tsuda and Kellen Goff, do an amazing job at voicing the character.
Instead of joining the League like Shigaraki expects, Overhaul instead criticizes him, pointing out all the mistakes he has made, and suggests he becomes their new leader because he has an actual plan.
However, this does not go over well for the rest of the League with Magne (or Big Sis Mag) attacking him.
This ends poorly for her, with Overhaul revealing his quirk by blowing her upper torso to bloody pieces.
Overhaul then obliterates Mr Compress’ arm as well, after he attempts to compress him only to be stopped by some kind of quirk removing bullet.
Following this, Shigaraki makes a move to kill Overhaul who is shielded by one of his men.
With a death on both sides, Overhaul leaves with his men to let the League cool off, stating he owes them an arm, something that will pay off spectacularly later.
This scene is over in a few minutes but really sets up how big of a threat Overhaul is with his destructive quirk and troops at his disposal.
Probably the worst thing about him, though, is his cruelty which will be expanded on in the next few episodes.
I also liked what this scene did for Shigarakai as well.
You can see the slow progression he has from the beginning of his meeting with Overhaul to the end.
Overhaul’s criticisms get to him and it will be interesting to see how he continues to grow in his villainy.
After this dark beginning, the episode then compensates for some stellar humor as Deku attempts to get an internship with All Might’s former sidekick Sir Nighteye.
There are numerous great gags in these scenes, from Bakugo’s gloating, to All Might’s reluctance to talk to Sir Nighteye, to Miro’s bad jokes.
By far the best joke, though, comes at the ending with Deku’s first meeting with Nighteye.
Deku walking in on him tickling Bubble Girl for not making him laugh is pretty hilarious but what follows is even better.
Realizing he has to make Sir Nighteye laugh to be accepted, Deku imitates All Might in a comical moment that is definitely a bad idea, proven by Mirio’s hilarious reaction and Nighteye believing him to be ridiculing All Might.
This ending to the episode, left me in stitches.
It honestly made me laugh harder than it did in the manga.
“Overhaul” is a great episode of My Hero Academia. 
The one criticism I have is that Magne’s story with her friend before her death felt a little oddly paced.
I think it would have been better for her to reveal this before she tried to attack Overhaul as opposed to during because there it disrupts the pacing a little.
Otherwise, “Overhaul” is the episode where the story of the fourth season really picks up, delivering both a bloody and hilarious episode.

Game of Thrones, Season Eight, Episode Two, A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms Review: Final Happy Moments.

4 stars
In the recent seasons of Game of Thrones, the show has lost a lot of the stakes it had previously.
While in the first five seasons it felt like any character could die, after that point the good guys have won victory after victory to the point that, even though the series is still good, it makes the series a much less intense experience.
But I feel that this episode “A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms”, directed by David Nutter, may be the final truly “happy” episode the show gives us.
There are so many moments in the episode where characters are given preparations for the conclusion of their arcs in heartwarming scenes.
Theon returns to fight for Winterfell and is reunited with Sansa, Jorah convinces Dany to give Tyrion another chance as Hand of the King, Sam gives Jorah his sword, and Grey Worm and Missandei decide to go to Naath once the fighting is done.
While these are all heartwarming scenes they all present major death flags for the characters, giving these joyous scenes a sense of finality.
By far the best of these scenes is the one when Jamie knights Brienne, with terrific performances from Nickolaj Coster-Waldau and Gwendoline Christie.

Brienne
Gwendoline Christie did not even need to speak during her scene. Her facial expressions alone spoke volumes.

The two actors really sold their connection but, again with the sense of finality the scene presents, I doubt Brienne is going to last that long.
I can honestly see her dying to protect Jamie next episode, along with Theon (Alfie Allen), Grey Worm (Jacob Anderson) and Jorah (Iain Glen).
Still, if these characters do die, at least they got some heart warming scenes before their deaths.
Not every scene in the episode is heartwarming though, as Jon (Kit Harringtom) tells Dany (Emilia Clarke) the truth about his parentage and she feels threatened because this means his claim to the Iron Throne is better than hers.
This seems to be laying the seeds for the tragedy of their relationship that is sure to follow.
Honestly though, I find it pretty funny how they both just learnt they have been committing incest and their main focus is still the Iron Throne.
However, not all the scenes in this episode are great because there is one that feels quite awkward.
This is the sex scene between Arya (Maisie Williams) and Gendry (Joe Dempsie).
Even though the scene makes sense, it feels a bit weird watching a character who was a little girl at the beginning of the series do the dirty.
Although, as others have pointed out, Arya has murdered multiple people across the series and we were all okay with that so this says something about those of us who were uncomfortable about it.

Arya and gendry.jpg
The sex scene between Arya and Gendry feels a little weird but we have seen far, far, far, far, far, far worse things on this show.

But there is one criticism I do have that I think is legitimate and that is Tormund Giantsbane (Kristofer Huvju).
Since his introduction, Tormund has turned into more of a comic relief character, to mostly great effect
In “A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms,” however, his jokes got really repetitive for me and almost ruins the scene where Jamie knights Brienne.
Overall, this episode is about on point with the season premiere.
It is mostly fan service, with a sense of finality, that is preparing us for the inevitable heartbreak that will come with the 82 minute episode next week.
Might need the tissues for that one.