Arrowverse Roundup - Week 5 Review
This week in the Arrowverse was filled with flaws and big character moments. They weren't the strongest of the season, but they all had something worthwhile in them. We also saw some familiar faces, and some regulars do some strange things. As usual, there will spoilers for this week's episodes. Don't read unless you've seen them already.
You can see all of this season's reviews right here.
Supergirl - Episode 3.05 - "Damage"
Yikes. I am an enormous Kevin Smith fan. His older films are great and his podcasts keep me out of the darkness. With that being said, not even he could save this episode. Luckily he didn't have anything to do with the story, he just directed it, which really the only constantly replaced cog in the machine. The show runs itself, the directors of heavily serialized television really just add a bit of artistic flare - and artistic flare was not the problem with this episode.
The relationship between Alex and Maggie was at the forefront again - but this might have been the final time. With Floriana Lima leaving the show, they broke the couple up - in the most convoluted and baffling way possible. They broke up because Alex wanted kids and Maggie didn't. That happens to couples all the time, but usually not after they got engaged. That subject usually comes up well before that, and couples are usually on the same page on the big stuff like that once an engagement happens.
They could have written her out in much better ways. Maggie has to go deep undercover, so she's not on screen but the character is still around in the ethos. She could have gotten sick and they could put her in a sci-fi pod until they found a solution which could conveniently be when Floriana wants to come back. That way you could see Alex talk to her or something. These are off the cuff and not that great, but to have an engagement party and then a break up in the span of three episodes is more Days of Our Lives and less Supergirl.
That wasn't the only questionable decision made this episode. There were two others. One was the angry father just strolling into CatCo to confront Lena Luthor. You'd think there would be some security or something preventing that. If not for the building, then for Lena herself. The other is in the climax, when Supergirl is holding a piece of the plane with Lena in it in one hand and the other piece of the plane with the dangerous chemicals in it in the other. She couldn't keep holding both, and Lena was willing to drop, but Supergirl had her jump so the plane part could drop and she could be safe. There's nothing wrong with that. It's completely fine - except for fact that Martian Manhunter, who can fly, is just standing there listening for an update from Supergirl. He should have been up there helping. He could have at least scooped up Lena and flown her to safety. I understand it is a no-win situation regardless. If he did that, people complain Supergirl needs help on her own show. If he doesn't, it doesn't make sense, and if you pull what The Flash did by writing J'onn out like they did Wally because they couldn't deal with two speedsters, then you sacrifice a great character for nothing. There is a solution in there somewhere, but it seems that this was rushed too much to try and find one.
As for the positives, the banter between Lena Luthor and James Olsen as they figure out their relationship to each other is very entertaining to watch. I can vaguely see where that might be heading, but I've been wrong before. Another positive is just that - Supergirl's positivity! She's over brooding for Mon-El (until he comes back, which I think is sooner rather than later) and has that unwavering, unflinching optimism and positive attitude that we like in a Kryptonian!
The story itself was perfectly suited for Kevin Smith to direct, it was a lot of talking, and relationship stuff. That is in his wheelhouse, and what he does best. There were some beautiful shots, like when Supergirl was in the air holding the plane and when the camera panned in on the rings on the counter after Maggie left. Directors within these deeply structured shows have few freedoms, but Kevin Smith made the most of what he had. After a handful of Supergirl and The Flash episodes, he's gotten more comfortable.
Let's hope that all of the housekeeping is out of the way now, and we can start to actually get into the real meat and potatoes of what this season should be. I don't want Supergirl to feel like a chore or homework to watch, I want to want to watch it. Hopefully next week can get me closer to that.
The Flash - Episode 4.05 - "Girl's Night Out"
In a show called The Flash you would expect to see...well...The Flash! If they want to play with that by showing Jay Garrick, Wally West or some other non-Barry Allen Flash, that's fine. But you'd expect a speedster to be in the show about speedsters.
Nope. This episode we got none of that. After a very long "Previously on The Flash" segment I knew this episode was going to try to cover a lot of ground.
Emily Bett Rickards brought her Felicity character over from Arrow. So the streak of Arrow references in The Flash continues. Not only that but she met the boys real quick then said "Team Arrow" and "Team Bride" and that was the last time the males and the females were together until the end of the episode.
I love the push for feminism in geek culture, it is long overdue, and with the success of Wonder Woman, it is something to be celebrated and there should be more of it. With that being said, I don't think separating the women from the men was the correct way to portray that. The only reason the women could do it is because the men were away? It would have been better if Barry, Cisco etc couldn't figure it out, and the women could. Be like Wonder Woman, join the men and show them the better way. Plus literally chanting "Hashtag Feminism" was a bit too on the nose. Do people actually do that with anything?
Dealing with the duality of Caitlin and "Not-Killer" Frost was the best part of the episode. The evolution of her characters is one worth watching, and Katee Sackhoff's Amunet is a villain I hope we see again. The show wants to be lighter and more fun, but they seem to be doing that at the detriment of the story. When Iris just walks in the middle of two meta-humans about to fight each other, it was consistent with the questionable choices made for Iris's character, but took the threat away from the villain.
Other than the Arrow references, there were a few others worth mentioning. First, was "Ferris Air" which is who Green Lantern Hal Jordan worked for. I know he won't be on the show, but it is still a fun Easter Egg. The second one is mentioning Doctor Who and specifically, that the new Doctor will be female. The last one worth mentioning is when Felicity compares Caitlin to "The Incredible Hulk", which means Marvel comics exist in the DC TV Universe. Can we get a Stan Lee cameo?
We met another "bus-meta" and he was a victim. His tears get people high. Torchwood has dealt with humans as drugs before, and its a concept I am fascinated with. It was relegated to the B-Story, though. He was used as the macguffin to get Amunet and Frost together, to complete that story. At the end, The Thinker did say he created him on purpose, so that bus is confirmed not to be an accident.
This episode was a bit of a misfire, but it had some sweet - and important - moments in it. I love the female empowerment (it is about time!) but I wish it was handled better. I am unqualified to know for sure however.
How did women feel about the episode?
Legends of Tomorrow - Episode 3.05 - "Return of the Mack"
Speaking of Doctor Who, the opening of Legends of Tomorrow was very reminiscent of an episode of the British sci-fi show. Rip Hunter (Arthur Darvill, a Doctor Who alum) made his return to the show in a cold opening. He was dressed in a ridiculous suit and hat, swaggered toward a dead body, made small talk with a bystander and then made an outrageous proclamation followed by the opening credits. That is textbook Doctor Who!
Unfortunately, Rip Hunter was not like the Doctor in the rest of the episode. Rip is scared of what will be this seasons big bad - a being called Mallus. The Time Bureau doesn't have time for it, so Rip went rogue again. Some of the decisions he made didn't seem in line with the character, but it was all to get to the end game which was to resurrect Damien Darhk.
They won't give up on Darhk. He certainly works better in this show than he did in Arrow, but some fresh villains would be nice. Mallus is that, but if he's an extension of Darhk, then it might lose some of its mysteriousness.
The way they found out it was Darhk that a group of people were trying to resurrect was because a victim had a Palmer-Tech smartwatch in 1895. By tracing the fingerprints they found that Oliver Queen had touched it, there by fulfilling the Arrow mention for the episode. But they didn't stop there, Arrow's own Mr. Terrific (Echo Kellum) cameo'd to provide some much needed exposition and plot points to get the Darhk information to the Legends.
Darhk was useful in one sense. It helped Sara's story run parallel to Zari's about losing a sibling and not being able to use time travel to fix it. Sara still isn't over it, and while Zari is just starting to cope with it, it was actually a nice way to deal with it. Plus, if Darhk's reemergence is why Constantine shows up, then it'll all be worth it.
Jax and Stein have officially started their journey to separate, so Stein can be with his grandson whose name is Ronnie. That can't be a coincidence with Stein's history with Ronnie Raymond, so it's a nice tribute. This whole arc is actually quite strong and it only came about because Victor Garber is leaving the show. It makes you wonder what their story would be if he was staying.
The time they take to build the relationships between the various Legends is quite nice. Especially when you throw Zari (Tala Ashe) in the mix, it gives new dynamics to explore, and the character banter is where the show shines brightest.
The Time Bureau is now off the back of the Legends, having formed a truce to "capture" Rip after he betrayed them both. I wonder how, if at all, that alliance will develop.
Like The Flash before it, there were a lot of really nice moments in this, that just seemed cobbled together, or overshadowed by other questionable things. The tolerance for silliness is higher for this show than others, but moments where characters act out of turn just to serve a plot are never enjoyable.
This week has been a bit shaky, let's hope Arrow can rescue it.
Arrow - Episode 6.05 - "Deathstroke Returns"
Arrow needed to handle some business and handle it it did! We got some character development for an old favorite, and answers to a mystery that has been around since last season.
I had many theories as to who Vigilante was. I was wrong on all accounts. Well, I knew it would be a person that had some personal tie to the team, or else he wouldn't really land heavy as a character if it was just some random guy. I enjoy that they planted the seed a long time ago too, and it wasn't someone we had just met, that was retconned into being someone important.
Whether the identity of Vigilante (Dinah's fellow cop partner and boyfriend who she saw get shot) was always supposed to be him, or if they fell into a happy accident when they decided to reveal him remains to be seen. We may never know, but it worked out about as well as it could have, so that's good.
It is great that the television division of DC can use the character of Deathstroke again. This two part journey of him finding his son is an unexpected surprise. I didn't think we would ever see him again. Even the way we saw him in the finale last season, where he was a in a few scenes and they used a body double with the mask on, with Manu Bennett doing a voice over, suggested it was going to be a one off.
But here he is, in the flesh. There were rumors of him not getting along with some cast and crew members, and that may be true since it was the body double with the cast in the finale, and the only person we've really seen with Manu is Stephen Amell.
Nevertheless, it has worked so far. If I didn't know better, I would say that this 2-parter was a back-door pilot for a Deathstroke television series. It's not, but it could still happen in the future. I would normally rule it out, but with Spider-Man appearing with the Avengers, and Disney potentially buying Fox properties, I won't rule anything out anymore.
Slade and Oliver run a lot of parallels. They could have ended up with each other's fates if thinks shook out a little different. So for Slade to be dealing with his son, and is parallel to Oliver dealing with his. But like most things between the two of them, Oliver's journey is going one way and Slade's the other.
I saw the twist with Slade's son coming pretty early on. I just wonder if this means the end to Slade at the hands of his son. It would essentially be the ultimate anti-Oliver story. Oliver got saved by his son. Even when he inevitably suits up as the Green Arrow again, he will be a different man, a better man, because of his son. While Oliver got saved, Slade would die at the hands of the son he essentially created. I don't mean physically, but Slade's son is the man he is today because of who Slade is.
Oliver's journey has been a strange one this season. It is a bit difficult to stay invested. While he hasn't been the Green Arrow for a while now, at least there was a Green Arrow in this episode, unlike The Flash where there was no Flash at all. As I've said before, I think 23 episodes is more of a detriment than a blessing. Shave Arrow down to a 10-12 episode season and it could easily be one of the best shows on television.
The FBI investigation is ramping up, and that should be coming to a head soon. Between the Anti-Vigilante Bill vote, and the FBI getting more suspicious, something will happen soon. I doubt it will happen before the crossover, which is rapidly approaching, so it'll be drawn out a little bit longer. Unless it is resolved by Supergirl and the Flash vouching for him or something, but I doubt it. They will wait to handle their business until they are back on their own show.
Despite its flaws, this was still the strongest episode of the week. Arrow had the least amount of problems of the group. I am actually excited to see part 2 next week, and hope that it isn't the last we see of Slade Wilson.
My rankings this week: 1. Arrow 2. Legends of Tomorrow 3. The Flash 4. Supergirl.
What was your favorite episode of the week?