Arrowverse Roundup - Week 1 Review


This will be a new recurring feature where I review all four live action DC superhero shows that air on The CW. I will add Black Lightning to this feature once it has aired. 

This week is the premiere for all 4 shows: Supergirl, The Flash, Legends of Tomorrow, and Arrow. There will be spoilers for the episodes if you haven't seen them yet.


Supergirl - Episode 3.01 - "Girl of Steel"



The brilliance and sheer joy of Supergirl is just that - joy. It is something we can't get from Kryptonians in the movie side of things, so it is nice to see it here. That is why I was a bit disappointed when everyone was angsty and on edge in the premiere. Premieres are supposed to set the bar and set the tone for the season. Supergirl was reeling from the events of last years finale, and she became pompous, entitled and showed the traits that aren't what Supergirl actually is.

It was probably fun for Melissa Benoist, who is incredible in the role, to play something different, like when her character encountered Red Kryptonite for the first time. But the heartbeat of the show is Supergirl's unwavering optimism. It was missing here for most of the episode, so the supporting characters had to do the heavy lifting. But because of that, something was missing, it just didn't feel right.


They did a lot of footwork, setting up story threads that will carry us through the season, including the villain, Mon-El, her mother, Alex's wedding, and Lena Luthor buying CatCo. 

It would have been better if we had regular, optimistic Supergirl that maybe cut to flashbacks of her grieving. She's allowed to grieve of course, its just by the end of the this episode shes pretty much back to normal, so it seemed short lived. The flashbacks would have made it felt longer.

The show got better when it moved from CBS to The CW, but I think it is still finding its footing. Last season had some wonderful moments, but I am still waiting for it to outshine its counterparts. Let's see if this season can do that.


The Flash - Episode 4.01 - "The Flash Reborn"



A lighter version of the show was promised this season. You can kind of see the path they began to walk on to get there on the season premiere. It was sufficient. I wish Tom Felton was still in the show, he was a breath of fresh air last year that added a new dynamic to a stale formula. He could have really expanded his character this season since the threat of Savitar is gone.

Plus it might have distracted from the fact that they still don't how to write Iris correctly. For her not to want Cisco to bring Barry back is....baffling to say the least, and then to reduce herself to damsel in distress yet again (the entirety of last season was based off of that) was cringe-worthy.

I wish Cisco would struggle with technology, it's like the perception filter or the sonic screwdriver in Doctor Who - an easy way to solve problems. Sure they needed to return Barry to his own show quickly, but it'd be nice to see a struggle.

Speaking of struggle, I did enjoy Caitlin's arc. She's a different Caitlin, and I love the struggle of the duality between her and Killer Frost. I hope it throws a wrench in some things and not used when its convenient. I did cringe at the changed Hulk line and puns that could rival Arnold Schwarzenegger in Batman & Robin though.

I absolutely love the positive sense (that was missing from Supergirl) that it portrayed and teased, and it is a smart move to not make the new villain yet another speedster. I am extremely intrigued by it, and look forward to who the Davros looking supervillain is.

A few things I noticed: Barry looked very much like Savitar when Joe had cleaned him up. I am hoping that was intentional. Also, is Joe finding religion? Or was that just a way to inject "faith" into Iris for Barry? Joe's new relationship is nice too, the positive "rebrand" of the show should keep that going for a while.

One thing sorely missing was a Harrison Wells. I don't care which one it is, I just need Tom Cavanagh on my screen. I hope he shows up sooner rather than later.

Like Supergirl they were able to set up a few things, resolve some cliffhangers, and start the momentum from the season. When The Flash gets things right, it is one of the best shows on television. Hopefully this is the first step in getting there.


Legends of Tomorrow - Episode 3.01 - "Aruba-Con"



Out of all of the premieres so far, this one was the most intriguing to me. Sure, they wrapped up the cliffhanger quite quickly, because they had to (otherwise there would be dinosaurs and stuff in Arrow and The Flash) but I enjoyed where they put the characters after the Legends were disband.


It didn't take long to have our first crossover character either, while it was only for about 10 seconds, Kid Flash (Keiynan Lonsdale) appeared. Oliver Queen and Felicity Smoak were named dropped on The Flash this week so the synergy of the Arrowverse is strong already. I wonder if there will be something every week that connects all of the shows in some subtle way. The big 4 way crossover is coming next month, but I kind of like the smaller nods better.

While I'm sad that Arthur Darvill isn't a series regular anymore (he was credited as "Special Guest Star") his shift into leader of a new time agency was a necessary one to catapult the Legends where they need to go. It gives them a new interesting angle to work from. In the first season, they knew nothing and followed Rip Hunter who worked for the Time Masters. In the second season, they have to take care of time themselves, and this season, after they completely screwed it up, they are being babysat by a pompous group and being treated like children. So it feels like they are setting them up to go rogue, yet still be the heroes. That is an interesting dynamic, and one that it seems they had wanted to get to as quickly as possible.

The episode really took the time to show how much their time as a group in the Waverider meant to each of them. "Real life" didn't suit them anymore. They needed more. Not only did they need the Waverider, and the adventure, but they needed each other and as long as the show - for all of its flaws - keeps that essential element of needing each other, it will always be the charming step child of the Arrowverse.

The tag at the end of the Arrowverse episodes are always supposed to be the most intriguing part, and Legends nailed it better than both Supergirl and The Flash this week. It seems Amaya is a bit evil. Yes she's protecting her home, but to me it seemed it was played that way with all of those deliberate sounds and close up of her eyes that she was killing these men instead of just stopping them. It could be a red herring, but it also could make for an intriguing story if one of the anachronisms was that Amaya wasn't herself. I know they won't keep the core team apart long, but Legends was the only show not to set up a "big bad"....unless its Amaya.
 
Legends has the least amount of episodes of any of the four shows, and hopefully that makes for a tighter, leaner story. It didn't in the past, but things could change. The premiere was the most enjoyable episode of the week so far. But there is Arrow still to go!


Arrow - Episode 6.01 - "Fallout"



The Godfather of this burgeoning superhero universe has finally returned for its 6th season! This show had the biggest finale - which means it had the most work to do in its premiere. Surprisingly, it handled it the best out of all four shows. It had the most characters to juggle, and the biggest story update for us to consume. For only having 43 minutes, it did that pretty well.

We slowly learned the fate of everyone who was on the island at the end of last season, including Thea, whose fate was the most in question....unless you have ever been on the internet, since the powers that be made it abundantly clear that they will never, ever kill Thea Queen. So the whole tease was meaningless. If putting her in a coma is a way to write her off the show for a bit, then so be it. But don't insult the fans who like reading things from the people who make the shows we love.

A lot of costumes got upgraded, the coolest one by far is Rene's Wild Dog (Rick Gonzalez). He looks like a legit part of the group now, instead of an amateur in a hockey get up. I guess that's a perk of being upgraded to series regular cast member, which I am thrilled about because he was one of the best new additions to the show in recent years.

We maybe got a tease of the "big bad" (the guy in the helicopter who found Black Siren), but Arrow had more housekeeping to do before they got to that. Speaking of housekeeping, Raisa, a character we hadn't seen since season 1 appeared again, and that was to help take care of William - Oliver's son.

That is going to be the most interesting duality that the show has presented yet. He's had to struggle with Playboy Oliver/Green Arrow, CEO Oliver/Green Arrow, Boyfriend Oliver/Green Arrow and Mayor Oliver/Green Arrow. His next venture - Father Oliver/Green Arrow will be his most intriguing - and most fun one to watch.

The relationship between Dinah, essentially a Laurel replacement, and Laurel's father Quentin, is something I hope gets fleshed out through the season. That is a unique relationship not seen on many shows, and it should be highlighted and put on the forefront.

Fatherhood seems to be the biggest theme though. Oliver and his son William, Rene and another shot at his daughter, Slade finding his son, and Quentin dealing with Laurel from Earth-2 were all touched upon in this episode. I assume it will be fleshed out more this season. Diggle has his son too, but he seems to be dealing with a whole separate set of issues (PTSD?) that need to be taken care of before they get to him and his son.

Felicity and Oliver seem to be back together, or at least strongly considering it.  The show did not handle that dynamic well the first time, hopefully this time it is a bit more subtle.

Overall the premiere was a strong one, probably the strongest of all the shows this week. Everyone has an interesting angle that is begging to be explored more, and with the impending arrival of Michael Emerson to Star City, season 6 looks like it has the potential to be one of the best yet.

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