Category: Reviews

Reviews

Warehouse Discounts 0

Orphan Black: Series Finale Review

Share.

The final final trip.

By Jean Bentley[1]

Full spoilers for Orphan Black’s series finale, “To Right the Wrongs of Many,” continue below.

Even in its final episode, Orphan Black[2] managed to cram two murders, a complicated four-clone scene, the birth of twins, an explanation of the show’s title and even an abortion debate into just 42-plus minutes.

Orphan Black is a show that, throughout its five-season run, occasionally bit off more than it could chew as the complicated biological mysteries introduced in the premiere grew more and more convoluted with each additional layer (see: all of Season Three).

From the Proletheans to the Neolutionists, Susan Duncan to Virginia Coady, Dr. Leekie to P.T. Westmoreland, each piece of the puzzle added more clutter to what ultimately was a story of four different women connected by a unique bond (and their 274 sestras) who learned not only how to survive in a world where they weren’t supposed to exist, but to become a family.

The final reveal, that the mysterious creator of Neolution wasn’t a 170-year-old scientist who discovered the key to manipulating evolutionary biology but actually a meth-shooting old British man obsessed with the idea of extending his life as long as possible, was almost a let down considering how elaborate the story of the clone sestras grew to become. But his takedown, followed by the quiet normalcy of each woman trying to figure out what life will be like now that the Dyad Institute is no longer controlling their lives, was ultimately a satisfying (if slightly anticlimactic) ending.

Then again, Orphan Black’s strength has always come from the many, many skilled performances of star Tatiana Maslany, and the reason plenty of fans even stuck with the series through the unfortunate Castor clone season was because of the way her talent highlighted the personal struggles of Sarah, Alison, Cosima, Helena, Beth, and the many other clones she has played throughout the show’s run.

One of the central unsolved mysteries: the title of the show, which turned out to be the name of Helena’s journal. It’s not exactly an explanation for the name, but it is more context than the show has ever provided before. The sestras themselves even wonder how Helena thought of the name, but we’ll never get the full backstory.

A frustratingly complicated mystery simply would not have been compelling without Maslany highlighting the moral and ethical consequences of creating human clones, or the biggest source of the women’s power: their smarts and their sisterhood.

“We survived you, me and my sisters together. This is evolution,” Sarah said before bashing in Westmoreland’s head (Helena and Art, played by Kevin Hanchard, simultaneously killed Coady, Westmoreland’s deputy). It was Sarah’s first kill in a series that saw many violent deaths—a scene made all the more harrowing when cut with flashbacks to Sarah’s discussion with her late foster mother, Mrs. S (Maria Doyle Kennedy), about whether or not to keep the baby who would become Kira.

Those murders were followed by a suspenseful birth sequence, where Art and Sarah helped Helena deliver her twin boys while Sarah flashed back to Mrs. S helping her deliver Kira, but things slowed down immediately as the second half of the episode focused on the utter normality of what life will be like now that the Dyad Institute is out of their lives for good.

Rachel attempted to atone for her complicity in the conspiracy by providing Felix (Jordan Gavaris) with a complete list of the Leda clones; Alison seemed to return to a normal, happy suburban life with Donnie (Kristian Brun); Helena settled down with Alison and Donnie and her new twin boys (whom she named Arthur and Donnie, after the best male role models in her life, a cheesy but still sweet touch); a blissfully happy Cosima and Delphine (Evelyne Brochu) hunted their Leda sestras around the globe to vaccinate them; and Sarah, Felix, and Kira tried to move on from Mrs. S’s death and build a normal life together.

The Verdict

Was it slightly disappointing that a mystery laden with philosophical and biological messages, infused with clues from classic literature and religion, and supported by a worldwide network of people ended up just being the result of a Wizard of Oz-type man afraid of his own mortality? Sure.

But the Orphan Black[3] finale provided just enough closure to each of the characters we’ve grown to know and love while showcasing both the tense action sequences and the quiet, human moments it did equally well throughout its run makes it a perfectly satisfying finale for fans who have stuck around for five years.

Editors’ Choice

References

  1. ^ Jean Bentley (people.ign.com)
  2. ^ Orphan Black (uk.ign.com)
  3. ^ Orphan Black (uk.ign.com)
Warehouse Discounts 0

Blizzard Launches Official PTR for Warcraft 3

Balance changes, retextured maps, and more.

By Alex Osborn[1]

The first official Public Test Realm (PTR) for Warcraft III is now live.

According to a post on Blizzard’s official forums[2], the PTR features balance changes for start locations and the difficulty of creep camps, as well as adjustments to item diversity. Several other improvements, including new textures for map clarity have been added as well.

The forum post also highlights a few issues that Blizzard is aware of and working to fix, with improvements to matchmaking and latency on the horizon.

It’s been fifteen years since the launch of Warcraft III: Reign of Chaos. Just a couple months ago, a job listing surfaced, suggesting Blizzard may be looking to remaster Warcraft III and Diablo II[3], though job postings from Blizzard have used similar wording in the past. With StarCraft Remastered launching in a couple days[4], a Warcraft III remaster certainly doesn’t appear to be outside the realm of possibility.

Alex Osborn is a freelance writer for IGN. Find him on Twitter at @alexcosborn[5].

0

Moshi Arcus backpack review

Since high school, I’ve always used messenger bags. It’s easier to grab stuff on the move, and over-the-shoulder bags often look more professional than traditional backpacks. But after carrying Ona’s Union Street[1] messenger bag every day for more than a year, it was already showing signs of wear. It was also hurting my shoulders while weighing me down. I swapped to the Moshi’s Arcus[2] backpack for a change of pace and I haven’t looked back. Having carried it around for about half a year, I can say in this Moshi Arcus backpack review, it’s the best bag I’ve ever used.

A bag for photographers and techies

I carry a lot of products for my job. I often have more than six phones on me, in case I need to snap a photo for a camera comparison. I also have my Nikon D7000 DSLR[3] with three different lenses; a 10.5-inch iPad Pro[4] (or sometimes my 12.3-inch Samsung Chromebook Pro[5]); a New Nintendo 3DS[6]; a 20,100mAh battery pack; and a plethora of cables and other accessories. Fitting all this into my previous Ona bag was possible, but this stretched it to the max, with little room to add items like a water bottle or book. I have plenty of room for more in the Arcus, however.

My favorite feature of this bag is the protective, crush-resistant compartment.

The Arcus is made of a canvas-like durable fabric. The straps and back section are padded for comfort while protecting the internals. There are plenty of small and big pockets, and there’s even more padding on the bottom.

The primary compartment is near the straps on the rear, and it’s here that you can store a 15-inch laptop, papers, books, and pens. On the back of the bag, there are two pockets that can store thin items such as a passport or an external battery pack.

My favorite feature of this bag is the protective, “crush-resistant” compartment at the top. I store my Nintendo 3DS, and all my phones here. There’s a hard shell protecting this compartment from drops, so you can be sure the contents are safe. Underneath this protective safe is a zipper to access the second main compartment.

Moshi Arcus Backpack Review
Julian Chokkattu/Digital Trends
Moshi Arcus Backpack Review
Julian Chokkattu/Digital Trends

Moshi Arcus Backpack Review
Julian Chokkattu/Digital Trends
Moshi Arcus Backpack Review
Julian Chokkattu/Digital Trends

Julian Chokkattu/Digital Trends

The second main storage area has two access points — one on the side and one below the crush-resistant compartment. I utilized the camera insert offered by Moshi to house a DSLR with a lens attached, along with two other lenses. Once this camera insert is in place, there’s not a lot more you can add to this compartment.

If you don’t use the camera insert, though, there’s plenty of space. There’s also a mesh velcro pocket inside the second main compartment, which I used to store small accessories like camera batteries.

After using the Arcus for about six months, I hardly see any wear and tear.

Accessing my camera quickly is one of the few pain points I have with this bag, and it’s a reason why I strongly prefer messenger bags. All I had to do before was lift up the flap and grab my camera. Now, I have to take off my backpack and unzip the side compartment. You can try to do it with the Arcus slung on your back, but we don’t recommend it, as a lens could fall out.

The Arcus’ front section features a pocket that fit my external battery, along with a wall charger and three cables. A pouch for a bottle can be found on the side.

After using the Arcus for about six months, I hardly see any wear and tear (apart from the straps my dog likes to chew). The Arcus is also weatherproof, and I have walked through many rainstorms without any issues — everything inside remained dry.

The bag has a slim profile, even when completely full, and it’s comfortable to wear. It can get a little top heavy, especially if you fill the crush-resistant compartment with devices, so you may need to lean it on something to keep it upright. The straps also loosen over time, so you need to readjust them every so often to raise the Arcus up on your back.

There are cheaper backpacks out there, but for what the Arcus provides, we think it’s well worth the $230 price tag. We used the titanium gray model, but the charcoal black looks more professional.

References

  1. ^ Ona’s Union Street (www.onabags.com)
  2. ^ Moshi’s Arcus (www.moshi.com)
  3. ^ Nikon D7000 DSLR (www.digitaltrends.com)
  4. ^ 10.5-inch iPad Pro (www.digitaltrends.com)
  5. ^ Samsung Chromebook Pro (www.digitaltrends.com)
  6. ^ New Nintendo 3DS (www.digitaltrends.com)
0

Status Audio CB-1 review

While there are plenty of over-ear headphones[1] available for under $100, very few of them are marketed as studio monitors. A good pair of studio monitors should have crystal-clear sound, a flat or neutral frequency balance, and good isolation for recording, editing, and mixing in a studio environment. These qualities often come at a premium, so in our Status Audio CB-1 review we wanted to find out if these $79 closed-back headphones are actually worthy of being called studio monitors.

Status Audio[2] is an extremely low-profile brand which has eschewed logos and big advertising in favor of a direct-to-consumer strategy in order to keep their costs, and subsequently the price tag for their products, low. With the Audio CB-1, pricier materials like metal and natural leather which might be used in more expensive headphones[3] were substituted with more cost effective plastic and synthetic fabric. While the result is that the CB-1 look a bit cheap and lack a refined aesthetic, Status didn’t skimp on the features that count.

While we weren’t expecting much from the sound quality, we were blown away after putting these on. The soundstage is wide and deep with good stereo imaging delivering accurate instrumental placement. Much like the Audio-Technica ATH-M50x[4], the balance is neutral without much emphasis in any particular frequency range. This helps avoid fatigue during extended listening sessions, but may sound somewhat dull to ears accustomed to a more sculpted sound signature, like the exaggerated bass of Beats headphones[5] or models from V-Moda[6].

We did note a slight degradation in sound performance and some additional sibilance in the higher frequencies at louder volumes, and despite being closed back, the CB-1’s isolation didn’t always block out a lot of ambient noise. However, at moderate listening volumes sound bleeding was minimal.

We weren’t expecting much from the sound quality but were blown away after putting these on.

Given that the body is constructed mostly from plastic, the CB-1 headphones are also fairly lightweight. Despite that, they feel sturdy and flexible, with enough clamping force to keep the headphones in place without gripping your head like a vice. They thickly padded earcups are extremely comfortable, as is the head cushion wrapped in vegan leather[7]. The headphones also fold down compactly for storage but unfortunately don’t come with a travel case.

Accessories include two detachable cables: A 10-foot straight cable and a compact coiled cable for various studio applications. The cables are both thick and durable with gold-plated connectors and a threaded male end for use with the included 1/4-inch adapter. The opposite ends have twist-lock connectors that secure into the base of the left ear cup, although a standard audio cable could be used as well. However, neither cable has a remote for playback control nor a mic for hands-free calling with a mobile device.

Generic looks aside, the Status Audio CB-1 headphones definitely favor sound over style, and considering the sound performance that you get from them, $79 is a remarkable price point. While you can very easily spend twice as much, budget musicians, budding engineers, and even regular listeners may want to give the CB-1 a try.

References

  1. ^ over-ear headphones (www.digitaltrends.com)
  2. ^ Status Audio (thestatusaudio.com)
  3. ^ more expensive headphones (www.digitaltrends.com)
  4. ^ Audio-Technica ATH-M50x (www.audio-technica.com)
  5. ^ Beats headphones (www.digitaltrends.com)
  6. ^ V-Moda (www.digitaltrends.com)
  7. ^ vegan leather (en.wikipedia.org)