What happens on the fourth day?

What happens on the fourth day?

  • Regeneration Trauma

    He used to have a lot of round things.

    “I’m ready for my new quest.”
    “To track down Gallifrey?”
    “What? No! To find out where the round things went.”


    Regeneration episodes are always tough on everyone.  The fans are apprehensive.  The writers are nervous.  The new performers are tied up in knots.

    This made it especially interesting to me how the Doctor himself seems so lost, lonely, and uncertain in the early stages of his new life cycle.

    The Tenth Doctor proudly exclaimed that in the entire universe there is no higher authority.  That he was the Time Lord Victorious.

    Eleven, beneath the outward film of goofiness and daffy whimsy very calmly told entire fleets of powerful aliens to “Basically….RUN.”

    Contrast this with the graying, downcast eccentric who stole a vagrant’s coat, who’s lost his ability to mask his essential alien nature around humanity, and who, in a very humanizing touch, seems to need a friend now more than ever.

    The flush of grand accomplishment the Doctor felt during the anniversary was shattered by Trenzalore.  Realizing that even if he did manage to locate and free his world, it would only restart the Time War again did what no amount of Daleks ever could.  It broke his ironclad moral certainty.

    Hadn’t it been a good thing, saving Gallifrey?  Shouldn’t it have freed him from thousands of years of unresolved guilt?

    Alas, even for Time Lords, things are rarely so simple.


    Which brings us to the question of Clara…her own mission fulfilled, the Doctor she agreed to travel with now barely recognizable, should she depart?  Yet when she ponders just that, Twelve all but begs her to stay.

    He wants to do right by her.  He even promises to stop the flirting that’s been a trademark of the Doctor/Companion dynamic since, oh, 1996.   It’s a very telling change.  Whatever in him that needed to feel romantic as a way of more easily relating to the world is gone.  The guilt of those he hurt by doing so?  Still there.

    The flirting is over.

    He never said it was her mistake.

    I cannot say enough good things about Jenna Coleman’s performance this episode.  It’s evolved far beyond being cute and quipping.  The scene in the restaurant where she and the person she cares more about than anything else in the universe get into a snark-off is both funny and sad.

    She grieves.  She finds strength in the face of incredible peril.  And, saving the Doctor once again, his Impossible Girl agrees to take on the burden of being a companion to a hero no longer certain that he is a hero.  Or even if he knows the faintest thing on how to be what he was.

    And a burden it is.  Like I said, nothing seems certain anymore.  The way the Doctor awkwardly, eventually tries to face off against the Half-Face Man and the unexpected return of the cannibalistic Clockworks…

    Double Meaning!

    “Look at yourself in the mirror. Do you even recognize what you see?!?”

    …well, it doesn’t take him to a good place.  As I said, I don’t feel the Doctor expected another miracle after Trenzalore, especially after the realization that his grand new mission to return home was doomed before it even began.


    The platonic parable he invokes towards the antagonistic alien steampunk cyborg could be applied to him just as to the android.  His memories have been scrambled, his molecules destroyed, then reformed from the atoms up for thousands of years now.  So many personalities tried out and discarded.  So many attempts to do things better that ultimately have had a double-edged effect on the universe and himself.

    For this first time since his original incarnation, the Doctor finds himself vulnerable.  Needy.  That frightens him.  And frightened men are far more dangerous than brave ones.

    The beginning of an incarnation is never the best sign of how they’ll turn out.  Each one develops as they grow.

    I’m sure the heroic Lonely God and the daffy, benevolent wizard Madman in a Box are still there, on some level.  But in a way, this newly alien, distant Doctor is even worse off than the more inhuman and enigmatic incarnations we got in the old series.

    For you see, they knew who they were.  And they knew they were right.

    Twelve doesn’t yet even know what he wants, much less what he’ll do.  Hopefully the learning process won’t break his hearts all over again.

    On the lighter side, the return of Madame Vastra and the Paternoster Gang gave us some much needed lightness along with the angst and human organ-stealing baddies.

    Oh, Vastra

    “Wait, if you weren’t painting me, why exactly was I posing?”


    While I feel Vastra’s testing of Clara was cruel (and her conversation about the Doctor’s changing looks perhaps a bit too on the nose) I do enjoy the fact that, at least for now, some old friends are still sticking around.

    In fact, that’s what sold me on Capaldi as the Doctor.  After getting a final time traveling phone call from Eleven, a tearful Clara is confronted by Twelve.

    “I made that phone call.  Clara, I’m still here.  Do you realize what that feels like?  Having someone look at me and not recognize me?”

    Some have criticized the tentative hug that follows.  Personally, I found it sweet.  Even if the Doctor is no longer a cuddling type.


    Well, those are all my thoughts.  You can go now.  See you next week.










    …I said I’m done.  You can go.
















    ….all right, clever clogs.  Let’s talk about the coda.


    No spoonful of sugar...

    The Gatekeeper of the Nethersphere. Answers to “Missy”


    The Half-Face Man awakens in a lovely (but eerily still, strangely small looking) garden and finds himself greeted by a woman who calls herself “Missy”…one who calls the Doctor “her boyfriend” and who maintains that the android has made his way to….PARADISE.

    Advance publicity stills named this character “The Gatekeeper of the Nethersphere.”


    Who is this woman who looks like an evil Mary Poppins cosplayer?

    I have no idea.    Oh, I have theories.  Guesses.  Tons of potential culprits.  But I won’t share them just yet, dear Whovians.  Suffice it to say, I’m so excited about this season’s linking thread.  And I can’t wait to see where it goes.





    Review by John Ellis


    All images, titles, characters, and likewise belong to their owners, used here solely for the purpose of review.

  • The Next Six Years of Comic Book Movies

    JusticeLeagueVsAvengers (image credit -


    We’ve received a lot of information over the last few weeks about the future of movies based on comic books.  Marvel, Warner Bros., Fox, Sony, and even Paramount have collectively announced over thirty release dates devoted exclusively to comic book properties between now and the summer of 2020.  While only a third of these dates have announced titles attached to them, it still means we can expect up to nine comic book movies a year.


    Believe it or not, that’s not too much more than we’ve had in the past.  While people don’t automatically think “comic book movie” when they hear about Road to Perdition or 300 or RED, those do technically count, as did The Losers, Kick-Ass, and Scott Pilgrim vs. the World.  I don’t think people need to worry too much about being “comic booked out”.  And Warner Bros., while historically a little slow in producing DC properties, has certainly packed numerous blockbusters into the same calendar year before.  Now that they’re (nearly) finished with the Harry Potter and Lord of the Rings/Hobbit franchises, they’re free to devote more attention, talent, and resources to their long-neglected graphic novel-inspired wellspring.


    Let’s take a look at the road ahead.  First, we’ll lay out the schedule of coming attractions, and then we’ll hit on some of the highlights:


  • Of Kryptonite and Cyborgs

    BvS logo


    So, there’s a prop, supposedly from the set of Batman v Superman, which, coupled with one set photo in particular, could provide a really big clue to BvS‘s plot; or, at least, two smaller clues.  Assuming the various theories I’m about to set out, my own and others’, are true, then Zack Snyder and David Goyer have put more thought into Dawn of Justice than even I’ve given them credit for.


  • American Doctor Who

    No, seriously, Daleks aren’t a metaphor for Americans at all.


    For the last few months, a certain list of actors who could have played in an American version of Doctor Who has been kicking around the Internet.  It’s not a bad list, actually.  You can even see a truly amazing video featuring clips of all the names on the list.  I like most of the choices, but the video highlights how…difficult it is to make these particular actors fit in the roles they’ve been assigned.  Obviously, no one can recreate what came before or match the actors who’ve worn the various mantles of the Doctor.


    But, it’s fun to speculate, so, I made my own list of American Doctors:


  • Robin Williams’ Best Sci-fi Roles

    Robin-Williams-1999-robin-williams-19521980-2048-2560 (image credit - Williams, the man who practically defined comedy for a generation, committed suicide yesterday.  I won’t relay the details of his death or his depression.  It’s a terrible tragedy, and needless to say, we all feel the loss.  Our thoughts and hearts are with his family and all his loved ones.


    His filmography is an impressive blend of comedy and drama.  While we’ll always remember his sense of humor, some of his best movies include Good Will Hunting, Good Morning Vietnam, Mrs. Doubtfire, and especially Dead Poets Society, roles that, while they do contain plenty of laughs, also speak to very serious issues that exist in all our hearts.  In that way, he guaranteed the messages would never be lost.


    At Fourth-day Universe, we’re all about sci-fi and fantasy, so this article will take a look at some of his best roles in those types of movies and television, in no particular order:


  • You Will Believe a Raccoon Can Cry

    Catchy, no?

    You’re welcome.


    Starting its second week, while suffering a drop due to competition from a film based on one of the most well known comic book brands of all time, Guardians of the Galaxy is still enjoying tremendous success.  This despite being based on a comic that’s only existed in its current form since 2008, featuring characters whose biggest claim to fame was that they weren’t famous.  They were cult characters, beloved by a few, completely obscure to most.


    Like the Beatle's song!

    Rocket Racoon’s first appearance was in the Hulk’s book. Yes, really.


    Over the past week, many have picked apart the reasons why the film caught on so well.  There’s Chris Pratt’s evolution as a performer.  James Gunn’s loving homages to the cheesy but fun space operas of the 1970s and 1980s.  The juggernaut that is the Marvel Cinematic Universe.  The positive message about family giving one support.  The genuinely laugh out loud humor.


    For me, it all goes down to the friendship between a bionically enhanced, genetically altered uplifted raccoon and a sentient, bipedal tree.



    Groot tried to conquer the Earth in his first appearance. He’s come a long way.


    When Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning were called in to assist in writing (and then eventually took over) Marvel’s revived line of Cosmic books in 2004, they struck gold with the pairing of Rocket Raccoon and Groot as unlikely best friends.

    Even though one looks like a ring-tailed Teddy bear with ray guns and the other only has one phrase to say.  Ever.

    Why was this so popular?


    I think it’s because in real life, the best friendships are not the ideal ones, never the epitome of perfection and attributes we might think we want.

    I love them all, but most of my best friends have been total weirdos.  But that’s okay, because they tolerate my weirdness as well.  And together, we’ve been capable of making things that are beautiful.

    Rocket, when we meet him in the film, has no end of sarcasm, snark, and aggression.

    It’s only with Groot that we see his softer side.  He lashes out at the world because he knows it’s judged him worthless vermin.  So he preemptively judges it back.  There ain’t nothing like him ‘cept him!  Even with Groot, he considers himself to be unique.  Singular.

    Completely alone.  No one to hold him…back.  Yes, hold him back.

    The mask comes off throughout the film.  He knows he has only one friend in the entire universe.  A friend who intentionally or not, has been digging roots into the cracks of his angry facade.

    Beneath the kleptomania, the gun nut mania, and the cruelly twisted sense of humor, there’s something tender.

    Quill, Gamora, eventually even Drax manage to bring out that tenderness, and transform it into a new strength Rocket can rely on when his best friend sacrifices himself to save them all.

    Stronger now, no longer afraid to show his kindness along with the snark,  Providence rewards our unlikely animal hero with a miracle many crave…a second chance to be a better friend.


    Yes, Guardians is full of cool references.  Yes, it’s exciting.  Yes, it’s funny.  Yes, it has an uplifting message.


    But above all, this film made me feel something real.  Something about two characters who are as unreal as can be.

    For me, that’s why it’s won the box office.  There’s nothing an audience loves more than endearing underdogs who get redeemed for the purest, most powerful reason of all.



    o/` Together again! It’s just so great to be together again! o/`


    Review by John Ellis


    All images, characters, and titles belong to their owners, used here solely for the purpose of review.

  • *insert catchy retro 80s sitcom theme music here*



    Out of all their siblings, they hate each other the least! (Art by Maddie Chaffer)


    Seeing fan art of Gamora and Nebula as teenagers over on Tumblr has given me a possibly insane spin-off idea for a new TV series:


    She’s a ultra cool one who’s always instigating zany escapades! Her sister is the snarky alterna-kid who’s always ready with a quip! They’re both the bemused cyborg daughters of their father, a mad god with esoteric romantic tastes! And a very huge, wrinkly chin.

    Thanos: “Now girls, you know that I’ve always considered you as being valuable property I can exploit. With all my heart, for as long as you’ve been mine, I’ve always considered you as currently of use. And probably will for at least the near future. Probably.”

    Gamora: (whispered) “Whoa. He’s never been this mushy before! What do you think’s up?”

    Nebula: “New girlfriend?”

    Gamora: “Oh, I’m -so- sure.”

    Thanos: “Which is why I know I can count on you to be on your best behavior, because my new girlfriend is coming to dinner tonight. She’s the anthropomorphic personification of the concept of Death.”

    Nebula: “Oh wow…the one who looks like Phoebe Cates as a harlequin glam metal rocker?!?”

    Death takes a holiday

    Can’t you see the resemblence?


    Thanos: “Um, no. The one who dresses in purple robes and has no skin.”


    Knew you father, she did.

    What can Thanos say? He has a thing for purple.


    Gamora: “….”

    Nebula: “….”

    Thanos: “If you have any problems with this…please, feel free to discuss this with your uncle Eros. He’ll change your mind. He always has.”

    Gamora: “This is so bogus.”

    Nebula: “Never mind him! Did you hear that Norrin Radd totally told Galactus to get stuffed? And not on planets, I mean?”

    Gamora: “OMG, I know! So cool.”


    A surfer in space?  Really?

    Sadly, Norrin’s rights are tied up at another studio




    All art is not mine, it belongs solely to their respective artists.  Likewise, all characters belong solely to their owners, used here for the purpose of parody.  Thank you!

    John Ellis

  • Bulletproof Turtles? No, That’s Stupid

    I’ll make a deal with you, Internet.  I will, in reviewing (not) Michael Bay’s Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, avoid any TMNT fanboying and only reference the “source material” for this film when reason dictates.  As a show of good faith, I won’t even mention Michael Bay or any of his previous cinematic efforts as soon as this sentence has concluded.  But, I will not spare my harshest criticisms when it comes to moments in this so-called “film” that made me literally cradle my face in my hands.  There’s mindless entertainment, there’s children’s entertainment, and there’s even children’s mindless entertainment; and then, there’s…Jonathan Liebesman’s Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.


    Warning:  This is as close as these Turtles get to actual character development.

    Warning: This is as close as these Turtles get to actual character development.


  • 10 Reasons Why Sharknado 2 Was Sharktastic!


    Unless you’ve been living in total and complete isolation, you know that Sharknado 2 premiered on SyFy last night.  And of course, I watched and live tweeted it.  Now, when it comes Sharknado 2, it seems like everyone has one question: Was it better than Sharknado?

    The answer?

    Yes.  Yes, it was.

    Here are 10 reasons why Sharknado 2 was sharktastic!

    1) Action!  Action!  Action!

    Sharknado 2 didn’t waste any time getting to the point.  From the minute the film started with Ian Ziering and Tara Reid sitting in an airplane that’s hit some sharknado-related turbulence, Sharknado 2 was all about sharks falling from the sky.  The film didn’t waste any time revisiting the events of the previous film or trying to explain, for a second time, how a bunch of sharks ended up in a tornado.  And you know what?  If you were worry about the logic of the situation then you really weren’t the right audience for this film.  Sharknado 2 was a movie for those of us seeking nonstop shark mayhem and it delivered!

    2) Plenty of New York Attitude

    When the first sharknado hit Los Angeles, we were presented with a portrait of a town that deserved to be destroyed.  I mean — really, Los Angeles?  A little bad weather and a few sharks and your entire population is screaming and fleeing?  New York, however, knows how to handle a sharknado.  It didn’t matter how many sharks fell from the sky — the citizens of New York refused to allow it to stop them from enjoying baseball games, visiting the Statue of Liberty, and seeking out a good slice of pizza.  New York, you’re the tops!

    3) Tara Reid Showed Us How To Handle Losing A Hand

    I don’t know about you but if a shark fell out of the sky and bit off my hand, I would probably freak out.  Having watched Sharknado 2, I can say that I am definitely not as strong as Tara Reid.  Though she may have lost her hand early on in this movie, she never let it slow her down.  Not only did she defiantly walk out of the hospital but she also managed to drive a fire truck with only one hand!  I’ve got two hands and I don’t think I could do that.  Finally, as a perfect example of how to make lemonade out of lemons, she even replaced her missing hand with a radial saw that, as it turns out, was perfect for fighting sharks.  You go, girl!

    4) Ian Ziering Gave It All He Could

    In the first Sharknado, Ian seemed almost annoyed to be there.  You got the feeling that he felt that somehow, by appearing in a movie about flying sharks, he was somehow damaging his career.  In Sharknado 2, however, Ian brought a lot of conviction to his role.  Though it may be hard to understand if you haven’t seen the actual film, I’ll just say that you looked at and listened to Ian and you believed that this man had indeed been inside of a shark.

    IZ in Sharknado 2

    5) The Statue Of Liberty Lost Her Head

    And you better believe that head went rolling down the streets of New York.  I am a little bit disappointed that Ian never found a moment to stare up at headless Lady Liberty and shout, “You blew it up!  Damn you to Hell!” but oh well.

    6) Cameos Galore!

    Seeing as how the first Sharknado became a bit of a pop cultural phenomena, we should probably not be surprised that a lot of celebrities agreed to do cameos in the sequel.  What should surprise, however, is just how well the cameos were integrated into the film.  Whether it was Kelly Osbourne getting eaten by a shark or Matt Lauer and Al Roker arguing over the proper name for the storm (eventually, Matt did call it a sharknado and you can see just how happy Al was; it was a touching moment), all of the cameos worked brilliantly and, even more importantly, they didn’t distract from all of the shark mayhem.

    7) The Live Tweeters Were On Fire Last Night!

    Especially me!  Seriously, Sharknado 2 brought out the best in me.

    8) Ian Wasn’t The Only Actor Giving It His All

    To be honest, the entire cast brought their A game to Sharknado 2.  Everyone from Vivica A. Fox to Mark McGrath to Kari Wuhrer to Tara Reid to Judd Hirsch to well, everyone seemed to understand that for this material to work, they had to be willing to say some of the most ludicrous lines imaginable with a straight face.  If a single member of the cast had tried to wink at the audience or play up the film’s inherent campiness, the entire film would have fallen apart.  Instead, everyone brought a lot of conviction to their roles.  Instead of mocking the film and their dialogue, you could tell that they were instead having fun with it and, as a result, the audience had a lot of fun as well.

    9) Kelly Ripa Stamped On The Head Of A Hammerhead Shark

    Proof positive that high heels can be a girl’s best friend.

    10) Everyone Watched it!

    And you know what that means:  SHARKNADO 3!

    Sharknado 2

  • USAGI YOJIMBO volume 28: Red Scorpion

    In his introduction to the latest collection of Stan Sakai’s graphic novel masterpiece, actor George Takei points out that in addition to reaching his thirty year milestone celebration and being internationally beloved and acclaimed, Usagi Yojimbo is also the best remake of “The Lone Ranger” ever made.


    That gave me pause.  After all, it’s well known that Stan was mostly inspired by the historical samurai Miyamoto Musashi, the films of Akira Kurosawa, and “funny animal” cartooning legends Carl Barks and Walt Kelly.


    How does one look at -this- fellow

    Plus, where's Silver?

    He’s not even wearing a mask!


    and get -him-?


    Tonto, Silver, the Lone Ranger

    “He looks very…fuzzy, kemosabe.”


    Upon reflection, I was being too literal-minded.  Usagi is not a masked Texas ranger.  (And I doubt Gen would appreciate being bridled)


    But he definitely does call into the mutual root of this type of hero.  The homeless wanderer who kicks butt, yet only to dispense justice.  He’s not an obsessed, broken too-smart man-child like Batman.  He’s noble, virtuous protector of the weak and downtrodden who nevertheless is mortal, prone to all of the needs, wants, sorrows and joys of any person one might hope to befriend.

    He’s a lot closer to the Ranger than I thought!  Though, fortunately, he’s as of yet avoided wrong-headed big screen remakes.


    Not that the most recent collection of Usagi’s adventures lacks spectacle.  The opening story, Taiko is gorgeously illustrated in a sweeping, cinematic style.  Usagi befriends and comes close to sacrificing all in order to help new friend Minakata, an artisan who believes he’s constructed a drum that can communicate with the Gods.


    It’s a story of sacrifice, beauty, and petty violence worthy of Kurosawa himself.  The final page was perfection, though it did leave me a little misty-eyed.

    The next story, Toad Oil switches gears.  It’s a farce wherein Usagi comes across his old friend Kitsune, whose latest zany get-rich-quick scheme is worthy of the Three Stooges.

    In fact, the Stooges themselves just might have a presence in the story.  I won’t spoil.  Nyuck nyuck.

    It’s all very silly, but I enjoyed it.

    Having given us an emotional mini-epic and a slapstick romp, I shouldn’t have been surprised when Stan immediately followed with an eerie tale of supernatural horror.

    Now, Stan’s always been big on planting story seeds long, long before they’ll see fruition.

    And normally this is no problem.  His manga is created and owned by him, so unlike, say, X-Men, there’s not a danger of  millions of plot threads that will never, ever be resolved.

    One of the few exceptions is the Lord of Owls, introduced in a short strip over a decade ago, then not mentioned even once in the years since.

    Stan, good guy that he is doesn’t expect the readers to remember a peripheral character seen once then dropped completely, so he brings us The Return of the Lord of Owls, a story that fully reintroduces that character, makes clear just how unsettling and mysterious he is, foreshadows an upcoming confrontation with Usagi….and gives us a mini morality tale that would make Rod Serling smile on the power of lingering guilt.

    After all that work, here’s hoping it’s not another decade before the Lord and Usagi have their inevitable clash.


    Those Who Tread on the Scorpion’s Tail is the two-part concluding story of the volume.


    The danger in any anthology is that by its very nature, some stories are going to be stronger than others.  That’s my only objection to this one.  It’s not bad by any means, but it suffers in comparison to the earlier adventures.


    It’s a solid story of deceit, intrigue, greed, and the way the honor codes of another culture in another time can seem so harsh and shocking to a soft and sheltered modern reader, yet still be utterly right for the world they belonged to.


    Hmmm.  I think I’m starting to warm to this.  I think that’s the problem.  It has such a stark, brutal, powerful ending.

    But the twists required to brings us there, while interesting, just pale next to the clincher.  It would have benefited from stronger, more fleshed out antagonists, like those seen in The Mother of Mountains.

    Those who enjoy exciting, well drawn, always surprising and reliable tales of adventure and wandering heroism should give Usagi a try.  There’s three decades worth of fun to archive binge on now!


    (cues the William Tell Overture)





    Review by John Ellis


    All images, titles, characters, and names belong to their respective owners, used here solely for the purpose of review.



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