Arrowverse Roundup - Week 2 Review
The ball is officially rolling now, and all 4 shows are gaining momentum. While the premieres were uneven, they got the intended job done for the most part. If you want to read the reviews from week 1, click here.
Or just continue reading to see the reviews for the episodes of Supergirl, The Flash, Legends of Tomorrow, and Arrow that aired this week. There will be spoilers if you haven't seen the episodes yet.
Supergirl - Episode 3.02 - "Triggers"
This week's episode of Supergirl dealt with a very common theme seen in DC Comics - fear. Granted, it is usually associated with Scarecrow and Batman, but it was effective here too.
This episode dealt with Kara's loss of Mon-El better than the premiere did. The villain used fear to control people, and the show used that to let Kara deal with Mon-El. The problem is, Mon-El is still overshadowing Supergirl. It is wonderful to have a show with a female superhero lead, but last season the focus had shifted to Mon-El, or it was about Supergirl's relationship with Mon-El. I enjoyed the character but he needed to be supporting to her not over take the show from her. With him gone (at least for now) I hope they can move on from that and make her the sole focus again.
The villain, Psi, was actually the B-Story. Relationships - of all kinds - were at the forefront this episode: A mother/daughter relationship with new characters, Sam Arias (Odette Annabelle) and her daughter, broken relationships between Mon-El and Supergirl, Intimate relationships between Alex and Maggie, and an awkward stressful one between a Luthor and an Olsen. Winn and J'onn were missing out, until the very end when J'onn had a vision of M'Gann! Sorry, Winn. Maybe you'll have some sort of relationship to explore this season some time.
Samantha Arias is a new character - and people who read the internet might know who she becomes (spoilers) - but the fun part will see if she becomes an ally or a foe. The character is fun enough - and deep enough to possibly warrant a spinoff, and knowing The CW, I wouldn't be surprised if that happened depending on what his character arc would be.
Before that happens though, her relationship with her daughter - who absolutely believes her mother has super powers - reminds me of the film Unbreakable where Bruce Willis had powers and his son believed it more than he did. I hope they explore that dynamic more, and take their time with the character fulfilling her fate.
This was a better step in the right direction than the premiere was, and if we get to see the team go to Mars, I will be very happy. That and Samantha's story will keep the formula of the show fresh - as long as they don't forget their identity. Supergirl is the show. She said "Who I am as Kara feels broken". Let's hope she finds a fix for that soon, because she can't let all the intriguing supporting characters overshadow either of her identities, like Mon-El did last season.
The Flash - Episode 4.02 - "Mixed Signals"
Well, it is business as usual for the The Flash now. The ramifications of the cliffhanger from last season are pretty much completely erased, and we are back to a "monster of the week" type formula.
Team Flash is mostly intact too, except there is still no sign of Tom Cavanagh, who will show up next week. The episode was pretty standard, yet enjoyable. There were a ton of references to other things, like Jon Snow on Game of Thrones and Barry (Grant Gustin) doing a Tom-Cruise-In-Risky-Business impression. There were some wonderful effects in the show too (the grenade sequence was great and all of the new things his suit did proved they aren't afraid to spend money on effects).
Speaking of the suit, they seem to be going the movie Iron Man and Spider-Man route - giving it a HUD and voice companion. It might be a way to solve problems easy - like how Inspector Gadget had a gadget for everything, some of which you only saw once and then never seen, used, or referenced ever again. We'll see. But with Cisco (Carlos Valdes) seemingly being able to invent anything and everything all the time, it wouldn't surprise me.
Cisco did get some relationship evolution with Gypsy, his girlfriend from another Earth. It was certainly a B-Plot but not as frustrating as the Iris-Barry stuff that seemed to be in the forefront. Seriously, the way Iris is written is maddening sometimes. Candice Patton is lovely, and she does well with what she is given but I am not sure what the writers are thinking. Iris is mad Barry left....to save her and the entire planet? If he stayed, Iris's brother Wally would have had to been sacrificed or the world would have been engulfed in the speed force and been destroyed. That would have been okay with her? I don't understand the choices they make with her character sometimes and its a shame because Candice deserves better.
The frustration didn't end there though. The episode spent a lot of time showing Barry do things fast - making an elaborate breakfast, catching up on six months of television, etc. But then Cisco hands him a manual to his new suit and he doesn't have time to read it. It is to payoff the gag later of his suit malfunctioning and him having to use a pay phone, but it doesn't work as well as it should since the entire opening montage focuses on him doing everyday mundane tasks really, really fast. Barry could have read that manual in a nano-second.
There were a few fun references other than the ones mentioned above that are worth noting: One, is of couse, Barry seeing the headline outing Oliver Queen as the Green Arrow (which was the cliffhanger from last week's Arrow premiere). That is two episodes (two weeks) in a row that there has been small synergy between the shows (there was something about Arrow in Legends this week too) and it should be that way! The CW prides themselves on having built this wonderful universe, and it should be used in small doses. It shouldn't be used as a cruch to have to lean on the other shows, but to reward the viewers who put in the time to watch all the shows with little nods to the other shows. The other reference was a holiday celebrated on Gypsy's Earth called "St. Shaquille O'Neal Day" which we should absolutely start celebrating on this Earth.
I truly do love this show, and I know they have to crank these things out really fast to appease the network, but I wish some things would be double checked or questioned before they are given to the masses. Getting some of the small details right would improve the show infinitesimally. With that being said, this roller coaster is just getting started, and while it is a bit bumpy it should hopefully make for a fun ride.
The tease for next week has me very intrigued. Non-particle accelerator meta-humans exist, and I am excited to find out how and why.
Legends of Tomorrow - Episode 3.02 - "Freakshow"
Just when I think this show can't get anymore gloriously ridiculous, they go and make PT Barnum and the Circus the bad guy. That is not a criticism at all, I love how bold and how "out there" the show is willing to be.
The ball is now rolling on the new season, and the Legends have their new mission: fix the anachronisms that they caused while keeping Rip Hunter's Time Bureau off of their back. That was on the back burner this episode though, they still had some family business to take care of, namely Amaya, her relationship with Nate, her disappearance, and the problem with her powers.
Legends has figured out that it should embrace its silliness, and since they have been doing that, the show is better for it. There aren't a lot of shows where you can have PT Barnum and George Lucas as antagonists, and sometimes when The Flash or Arrow especially get heavy, it is a nice breath of fresh air to have.
The show tied into Arrow in more ways than usual this time. First, they showed Amaya's granddaughter, who is Vixen from Detroit. She has her own animated show on The CW Seed. She also appeared on Arrow during its "magic" phase. (We don't talk about that anymore though). Later in the episode we saw a picture of Sara with Laurel and Oliver. This season through all the shows have had more connective tissue than in the past, and I don't know if its just because it's organic or if they are in there for a meticulous purpose that we will find out at a later date. As I mentioned above in The Flash portion, it is appreciated by someone who puts in the work and dedicates a lot of time to watching these shows.
With ensemble shows, they have to take turns as to who is the focus and who isn't. Nate and Amaya and what happened between them had the most focus, and Rory had the least. The others were somewhere in the middle. Everyone did have something fun to do, with Dr. Stein having to dress up as a clown, and Ray and Jax having to pretend to be conjoined twins. Like I said, a ridiculous show, but proudly so.
In the first season they were chasing Vandal Savage and in the second season they were chasing the Legion of Doom. Now they are being chased by the Time Bureau. It is an interesting new layer, in that they always have to watch their back, and the roles have been reversed.
The Time Bureau did warn of a greater threat that the Legends don't know about and we got a peek at what that could be at the end. Someone named Mallus resurrected Kuasa - who seems to be the big bad. It's funny, because last week I theorized that Amaya could be the big bad, and the outline of Mallus sure looked her. Plus their were the hints they dropped of Amaya not being able to control her powers like she used to, and having a thirst for murder and vengeance when she uses them. I might have inadvertently stumbled onto something there. It is an awesome angle if true, I am excited to see where they go with it.
Next week we meet someone who could turn out to be the newest member of the Legends crew. New blood is always fun, so bring it on!
Arrow - Episode 6.02 - "Tribute"
Well, well, well, look what is back on top of the DC TV superhero landscape! Arrow has had some stumbles a long its journey but they are out of the gate strong this year!
Let's start with Diggle. Degenerative nerve damage is a huge deal. It's a perfect thing for that character, a big physical presence, to deal with. Now, I don't expect it to last long, I'm sure Cisco, Felicity and Curtis can figure out a cure. I mean, if they can make Felicity walk again, it isn't out of the realm of possibility. But his journey will be a fun one to watch - especially after the responsibility he has been given. Diggle, for all intents and purposes is now the Green Arrow.
Stephen Amell is not leaving the show, so that won't last long either. It's a common problem that many shows have but if the reason and the journey of him getting back to being the Green Arrow are done well, then it is forgivable. Diggle will obviously have to deal with his problem and let Oliver know, but I hope Oliver has something interesting to do in the mean time. Will he take up another superhero mantle? Will he play Mr. Mom while his team goes to work? The dynamic between Oliver and Diggle has always been one of the best parts of the show, and this will add a new layer that will eventually make them stronger.
I am loving Rene and Dinah. Rene is one of the best characters in the entire Arrowverse, his relationships with the rest of the crew are always new and exciting. Most importantly they're meaningful. It is the same with Dinah - it is nice that she isn't just a Laurel carbon copy. Her relationship with Diggle is a bit hostile, but you know the love is there. Her relationship with Quentin Lance is still one of the best in the show, it is always nice when the show gets to slow down when they get to talk.
Anatoly is back in town. Is he here to stay? People from Oliver's past have been the best villains (Merlyn, Slade etc) and again, it adds a dynamic that doesn't feel stale. I know Michael Emerson will be in the show soon and but who's to say Anatoly won't work with him?
The balance between the characters is perfect. I didn't feel like anyone got too much or too little. They all had satisfying things, and Felicity is much better of a character wanting to start a tech company with Curtis instead of being affiliated with a cyber-terrorism organization, which was cringe-worthy last season.
Personal stories (like Logan) sometimes work better than big end-of-the-world events every time. This is personal. All of it. Diggle's injury, William, Black Siren, all inherently because of Oliver and are all tied to his life. Lian-Yu was always exclusively Oliver's story, and now it is part of everyone's story.
I just realized while writing this that there were no flashbacks this week. I wasn't sure if they would continue them with other characters, but they didn't need them. They had enough story to stay in the present day. Maybe that was the point of expanding the ensemble - use present day B-Stories now instead of flashbacks. We got a few flashbacks last episode but they weren't the traditional Oliver ones, and the show is working better for it. Maybe that will change, but as far as things go now, the flashbacks being a thing of the past benefit the show greatly.
This is the way it should be. The parent show on the top of the hill showing the others how it is done. Who knows if it will stay that way, but the other shows seem to have bigger problems to sort out than Arrow does right now. That hasn't always been the case, Arrow has had some of the biggest problems of the group, which is why when the show is right, it is such a fantastic joy to witness.
The end of the episode is making this week go by slow because I need the next episode immediately! That is something I haven't been able to say about it in a while. Kudos to all involved.
All four shows return next week - come back Friday for the rundown of those episodes!